Oprah Winfrey’s final show aired yesterday and the featured guest was Oprah herself. For 25 years, Oprah has captivated audiences a delved into life in ways that few thought possible and even fewer thought advisable.
In Oprah’s words, she “uncovered shame” and at times brought taboo subjects and controversial people on stage with her not to be judged, but to be seen, heard, and understood. In the process she did for television talk shows what Michael Jordan did for the sport of basketball. She raised it to a whole new level.
Oprah’s gift, what has made her personally and her show by extension an undisputed success is her ability to deeply connect to her guests and her audience. She has a genuine caring about her that has given herself, her guests, and perhaps society as a whole permission to bring things once thought unmentionable into the national spotlight.
Once things are brought into the light, the healing can begin.
During the finale, Oprah shared, in her classic warm and engaging style, wisdom that has helped her accomplish the impossible. The following is a brief paraphrase of some of the morsels she offered:
1. Follow your calling. There is something that each one of us was called to do. Find it and do it. Your calling is different than your occupation. If they are one in the same, as they are for Oprah, consider yourself extremely blessed.
2. There is a deep need inside of every person to be validated. Validate people. Look at them. Listen to them. Hear them. Accept them.
3. Listen to God.
4. You are worthy of being happy. There is a difference between thinking that you deserve to be happy and knowing that you are worthy of being happy. You are worthy because you are alive.
5. Nobody but you is responsible for your life. Do not live life as a victim.
A more complete list with direct quotes can be found at The Atlantic.
For those viewers who want to remain in contact, she graciously encouraged viewers to email her personally at firstname.lastname@example.org with the promise of a personal response.
While the era of exploring and sharing life with Oprah on weekday afternoons has come to a close, it is certain that Oprah will continue to break new ground via both her website www.oprah.com and magazine “O”.
In the end Oprah, like the Gambler in the famous Kenny Rogers song, let each of us an ace that we can keep.