what I’ve learned from O

I have such admiration for Oprah; what she’s achieved, her compassion, her generosity and her joie de vivre.

I don’t remember how or when I started watching Oprah. For as long as I remember there’s always just been Oprah….in light her final three episodes ever last week (and me shedding a tear or twenty) it got me thinking of all the things I’ve learnt from watching the Oprah show.

  • don’t judge a book by it’s cover; people come in many shapes, sizes, ethnicities and have such diverse backgrounds and experiences. I’m constantly learning never to assume you know someone’s values or beliefs simply by looking at them, or knowing where they grew up or went to college, who their friends with or how much money they have in their wallet. People can always surprise you. You don’t have to hold the same opinions to be friends with or respect someone.
  • embrace diversity; how boring would it be to open the wardrobe and only ever wear one colour, or to eat the same food every meal, or listen to the same band on the radio every day? It’s a simple analogy but the same applies to people. Racial diversity brings difference. And difference is the spice of life.
  • to accept myself fully; beauty and flaws and all. I don’t look like a supermodel and there are things about my body that I want to work on. I need to remember that looks aren’t everything. When you look at the bigger picture, like issues in your community or the adversity women face in other countries, then making sure that the cellulite on your butt gets the latest miracle cream just doesn’t seem all that important. As long as your healthy and your body functions for you, then learn to accept and love what you’ve got and not to equate your beauty to that of models and celebrities.
  • your health is important Oprah introduced me to her “women’s doctor” Dr Christiane Northrup. I bought her book Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom and it is amazing. She has an empowering approach to women’s health and wellness, and having spent over 25 years in obstetrics and gynecology she knows a thing or two about women and they way they work physiologically and mentally. This book changed my view on health and medicine.
  • you are not your circumstance; Oprah is the example of this. She came from very humble beginnings to become the influential woman that she is today. Her message has always been that you have the power to change what you don’t like about your life. Not everyone can make big changes in one attempt, but that shouldn’t stop us from constantly trying to better ourselves and our circumstances to reach our goals. Jay & I are pretty good examples of this. Without going too much into the details, we have both gotten to where we are in our lives and career purely on our own without financial help from our parents. We’re here in-spite of our parents and childhood circumstances. I think of my friends Mandy and Grace who are living their best lives despite their parents and childhood. You just have to make a decision and then keep inching out towards the top. I truly believe this.

I loved what one of Oprah’s guests said during the two-part second to last show. When speaking about what lasting legacy Oprah’s show will leave behind, Madonna said

“the legacy from the Oprah Winfrey show; everything you made us feel, dream, wish, wonder, believe, hope. All of it, felt by women and men in 150 countries around the world.”

To me, that’s what’s most important about what Oprah has given the world through her last 25 seasons of the Oprah Winfrey Show; that you have the power to make a great life possible. You just have to believe that you can. And do it.