60 Life Lessons: Insights from Oprah’s Life Class

Call me a traitor to my gender, but I didn’t grow up watching Oprah. I didn’t have parties with other ladies that involved a television and tissues. I didn’t fill my library according to her book club recommendations. And I didn’t live my life around the question, “What would Oprah do?”

Considering my penchant for drama back then, I was more likely to curl up to Jerry Springer than a show without paternity tests and chair throwing.

But recently Oprah called to me. Literally.

It started when the network reached out to my friend Mastin Kipp of The Daily Love to include him in a webcast for Oprah’s Life Class. I read his excited blog posts about receiving this opportunity, and I was thrilled for him, but having never gotten into her first chapter, I didn’t feel drawn to her next.

I also wondered if sometimes Oprah’s celebrity overpowers the messages.

Then I watched the webcast, and I realized there is something very powerful going on within this movement.

I fell in love with Oprah’s Life Class—both because Oprah leads with humility and authenticity, and because she’s attracted a vibrant community of people learning to let go of pain and open up to joy.

As I absorbed myself in the archives of webcasts, I watched people forming new insights, having mini epiphanies, and most importantly, bonding with each other through their common struggles and potential. I wanted to be part of that.

Just after my marathon Life Class session, Oprah’s people called and invited me to attend a live taping of her webcast, on Mastin’s recommendation. I’d now have a chance to be part of it, up close.

While there were certain spiritual conversations that created a bit of a disconnect for me, I walked away from the experience feeling touched, inspired, and eager to share the work they’re doing there.

I considered giving you the highlights of the webcasts from this season, but you can easily watch those yourself.

So instead, I’d like to share some of the most profound insights I gleaned from Oprah’s community of “students” in their answers to one of her pre-show questions. (Submitted to her anonymously, unless otherwise indicated):

On Self-Love

1. I know now that I must validate myself before I want others to validate me. I need to stop putting myself at the bottom of the pile. ~Cocomo614

2. I know that my time is just as valuable as anyone else’s and I know I don’t have to apologize for putting me back on my to-do list.

3. When I take care of myself, I am confirming my worth to myself. If I give to myself first (time, rest, love), I have more to give to others.

4. Not to be so hard on myself…been through a lot in life but I still deserve to be happy in this life. ~@nerlster

5. I know that it’s okay to have my own opinions and tell the truth.

6. It’s easy to give up on yourself. The hard part is staying focused on being a better you.

7. I know I am a product of what I believe to be true. I know I hold the power… all the power to change when I want to. I have to commit!

8. I have value and merit, that I am intelligent and worthy of love and respect.

9. I don’t have to let my past define who I am today.

10. I have finally realized I am all those good things about myself that others have seen all along.

On Making the Right Decisions

11. Instincts are subconscious lessons learned that surface to keep you from making the same mistakes.

12. I have a choice and I am the only one responsible for the life I live.

13. It is better to do than be persecuted by your inactions and your own thoughts. The truer I am to myself, the better my relationships. Love me for my truth, not for my lies!

14. Failure is the path to success.

15. Making small steps equals big dreams.

16. I know I’m off course when that magic, that whisper of possibility, my own rogue spirit gets lost in action. ~@marcygoldman

17. Never trade in what your heart is whispering for what the rational mind is screaming.

18. Courage comes from making courageous choices in life, not knowing what the outcome…better or worse, with no regrets. ~Michael1968M

19. Follow your heart and not others.

20. Never fear taking a chance on something you really want to do.

On Hard Times

21. Every event is a learning experience, positive or negative.

22. Experience has taught me that most of my worry is a waste of time, and to be patient. Life often turns out much better than imagined. ~@LauraDemir

23. I know I can’t do anything about the past and how I responded to all the abuse I have suffered, but I can do something about now.

24. You can’t blame anyone else for your problems. Making yourself a victim is simply unattractive and self defeating.

25. Hard times never last, being tough when needed, kind and compassionate does. ~ccoots

26. Not all things in life go as planned, but if you can find the good in every situation you will always be okay.

27. Sometimes we have to fall so that we can soar higher…and we will appreciate everything more in the end.

28. In a nutshell, “this” too shall pass. ~@bostonsplash67

29. Things will always change, yet stay the same.

30. Changing your thoughts can change your life!

On Possibilities


31. I can still do what I set my mind to do, no matter what my physical limitations might be. I just might have to route it different.

32. The energy you put out is the energy you get back.

33. I know that I cannot settle and stay safe in my life. If I want to grow I need to take risks.

34.  I know that I cannot ever again let someone else define my abilities. ~@NGW_OT

35. Life is a gift, something to cherish and to take a chance on myself. I don’t want to have any regrets that fear held me back from living.

36.  You cannot sit and wait for life to happen. You have to make it happen if you want to reach your goals. ~@@TThomas26

37. I am the only one powerful enough to stop me and the only one powerful enough to set me free.

38. Stop waiting for the changes you want to magically happen—you have to be the catalyst for the changes you want in your life. ~@YWhisenant

39. There’s always a second chance. Plan goals out so you can recognize the progress made in a year on whatever goal you have. Never too late. ~@Tanya1Bless

40. Nobody but yourself can define your worth and capabilities.

On Relationships

41. I was not intended to do this alone.

42. I know I shouldn’t take everything personally. Most of the time it’s not about me but more about who they are. .

43. I cannot change someone or the way they act. I am only responsible for myself and the way I act and feel.

44. It’s ok to distance yourself from toxic people even if they are family. I will not surround myself with that energy.

45. I know the action of judgment is a choice. I choose to do better on how I go about judging others and how I will go about judging myself. ~@trh_2011

46. Walk away from people who have no respect for you.

47. I know that people will put so many demands on you, but that does not mean that you have to follow them.

48. I know that to fill the love tank of others, I must first fill my own….Mine should be on overflow to have enough to share.

49. The point in sharing your life with someone isn’t to have them make your life better, but to keep you company as you do it yourself.

50. The energy we attract is what we subconsciously feel we deserve.

On Peace and Happiness

51. Forgiveness is for me, not for those who have hurt me. When I learned to forgive, I was set free from bondage.

52. Life is short, every moment is precious, and regret is a waste of energy.

53. The more I learn, the less I think I’m right.

54. You can move to a new town, a new house. You can move to the moon, the ends of the earth, your unhappiness will be there to greet you. Fix it. ~@stellacb50

55. Life is too short to live without love and laughter, forgiveness and caring, peace and joy! ~@camprier

56. Everything I need to create a happy life is inside me.

57. You decide if you’re going to be a trusting person or not. You decide if humanity is worth the effort or not. ~@DivaBoricua1

58. If I live in the past, I will never have a future! ~@SugaMamaCola

59. Meditating for 5 minutes a day will set your day off to a better start!

60. Live for today. Tomorrow will come, but we will never get back today.

What resonated with you the most? And what are you going to do about it?

Photos by greg westfallsethoscope, powi, dreamerStudio Zelden, arianamedstudent, and oddsock

About Lori Deschene

Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha. She started the site after struggling with depression, bulimia, c-PTSD, and toxic shame so she could recycle her former pain into something useful and inspire others do the same. She recently created the Breaking Barriers to Self-Care eCourse to help people overcome internal blocks to meeting their needs—so they can feel their best, be their best, and live their best possible life. If you’re ready to start thriving instead of merely surviving, you can learn more and get instant access here.

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