Over the course of 25 years, “The Oprah Winfrey Show” hosted more than 30,000 guests ― and five of them shared pieces of advice that are as timeless as they are powerful. Here are the words of wisdom that have had a lasting impact on Oprah and audiences across the country.
It’s one of the most important lessons Oprah ever learned from Maya Angelou. “If a person says to you, ‘I’m selfish,’ or, ‘I’m mean,’ or, ‘I am unkind,’… believe them,” Angelou advised in 1997. “They know themselves much better than you do.”
“Most of us have a death urge. We see the guy coming, warning slapped right in the middle of his head. And we said, ‘Oh, I’m going to fix him. I’m going to change it. I’m going to reshape it,'” Iyanla Vanzant said in 1998. “Love doesn’t have to fix you, change you. When you see crazy coming, cross the street. Cross the street!”
“I’m just a strong believe in life law number two: You create your own experience,” said Dr. Phil in 2001. “I really believe that. And the point is, if what you’re doing is not working, you have to change it. You have to change it. And everybody will say, ‘Well, I don’t want to be somebody I’m not. I don’t want to stop being who I am.’ Well, you know what? If who you are is not working, you’ll find that you have a broad range of who you are.”
“Forgiveness actually should be thought of as the most selfish act you could do for yourself — and self-indulgent,” Caroline Myss said in 1998. “And this is where the confusion comes in with it: You’re actually not saying, ‘You know, what you did is OK.’ You’re not saying that… What you’re really saying is, ‘I’m no longer going to trust the fact that life should be logical and orderly. I’m not going to trust it, because you know what? It doesn’t work that way. And I’m no longer going to count on ordinary justice to work the way I would like it to work.'”
This definition of power, Oprah told Gary Zukav in 2000, is one of her favorite definitions in the world. “You say when your personality comes to serve the energy of your soul — meaning, you can combine yourself, your personality with what your soul’s purpose is here on earth — then that is authentic empowerment,” she summarized.