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 and Recreate Your Life Story, an online course that helps you let go of the past and live a life you love. Her latest bookTiny Buddha's Gratitude Journal, which includes 15 coloring pages, is now available for purchase. For daily wisdom, follow Tiny Buddha on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram..

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  • EcoGrrl

    44 about family – I have forgiven but it doesn’t mean I have to spend time with people who are toxic.  All good though.  I know what you mean about Oprah’s ‘mogul-ness’ seeming to overshadow but it’s a price to pay.  She introduced me to the writing of Iyanla Vanzant (In the Meantime) which changed me in a beautiful way – highly recommend.

  • Grace

    “Sometimes we have to fall so we can soar higher…” — so very affirming for me. I recently was urged to resign my position as a teacher because pressures at home and my own mood  instability made it too difficult for me to function at the necessary level. I dreamed someone gave me a crow – white with black specks – who sat on my shoulder and talked to me. I took him into the hallway of a school building and suggested that flying there would be good for him. He said, “I have to regain my strength before I can fly.” 

    I appreciate Oprah. I appreciate you and this website.

  • Guest

    I know her biggest secret. Billions of dollars.

  • Cprudhel

    Thank you for the post of 60 Life Lessons.
    These Lessons always remain true and we should all be reminded of them as often as possible.

    Thank you for sharing them and for the introduction to Oprah’s Life Class.

  • Lv2terp

    FANTASTIC!!!!! Thank you for such a concise and inspiring blog!!!!!!! 🙂

  • DebJ

    Lori, thanks for sharing your experience; I’m glad Oprah’s lifeclass stirred you too. You are an inspiration and I’m grateful for all you do. I’ve
    watched every Lifeclass; they are “the best
    of Oprah” and I’ve found each class to be enlightening. For those interested, a live online webcast followed most
    life classes. If you haven’t had an opportunity to watch these life
    classes or don’t subscribe to cable television stations that broadcast
    the OWN channel, you can watch the webcasts on Oprah’s website. Here’s
    the link to the first webcast:

  • DebJ

    ecogrrl, if you like Iyanla, you might like this online webcast (I did!):

  • You’re most welcome! I love that she has a really engaged community through her site and social media pages. That’s my favorite part of writing for the web–it’s so inspiring to see people sharing what they’re learning and how they’re improving their lives. 

  • You’re most welcome!

  • Thanks so much Deb! Since I haven’t seen a ton from Oprah’s original show, I’m excited to see more and more of the highlights. Her Princess Fannie clip brought tears to my eyes.

  • Kylee

    Thank you for these little life lessons – some really inspired me today!
    I agree with what you mentioned about Oprah’s contribution to the world, but it’s interesting.
    I have only ever caught the end of one Oprah show, while I was travelling in 2001. She was talking about a Thank You journal – where you write a list of 5 or 10 things that you are grateful for. You could write in it everyday or just when you need to to remind yourself of your blessings when times are harder. I started one that day in a cheap notebook I bought in an airport. I still have it today. I didn’t write in it everyday, but its lovely to see what I have appreciated over the last ten years and I have Oprah to thank for that!

  • kc

    this is truly a beautiful gift. i am teary eyed! everything in it is. terimah kasih (no am not indonesian…but i just want to say thank you in that equally beautiful language)…

  • Hi Lori,  I love the list of life lessons. The one that jumped out at me was, 

    ” I have a choice and I am the only one responsible for the life I live.”  No matter what life throws our way, it’s our attitude that can make the difference between living a life of joy or struggling with pain. I have been a big Oprah fan, but haven’t watched as much recently. She does always inspire me to live a better life.

  • What an insightful dream! I think that’s such sage advice–that we sometimes need to sit it out before we can get back in the game. I’m so glad this site has been helpful to you. =)

  • Iyanla was actually the guest on the web cast. I really took a lot from her book Yesterday I Cried.

  • I can’t believe I’m finally discovering Oprah so far into her career! I mean, I knew of her–I just never got involved in her movement. I’ve been reading immersed in her site lately. There really are some amazingly insightful articles and quizzes on there.

  • You are most welcome. Thank you for taking the time to write. =)

  • Wow how wonderful that you have that to look back on! I’ve actually saved all of my journals from 12 years old onward. Even though many of them chronicle dark times in my life, it always motivates me to see how far I’ve come, and also recognize the growth from one volume to the next.

  • What’s interesting, though, is that even with billions of dollars Oprah’s always struggled with her weight–which I believe connects to her past trauma. It’s true: money can’t buy everything.

  • Pingback: Tiny Wisdom: Knowing Why We Pull Out Our Gadgets | Tiny Buddha: Wisdom Quotes, Letting Go, Letting Happiness In()

  • Zalfaa H


    Your site always brightens my day. Thank you for putting it together.

  • You are most welcome. Thanks so much for taking the time to write. =)

  • Anonymous

    Hi Lori! I have been devoted to Oprah and her message for most of my life. Just started a twitter feed to spread the message and join the community together. My goal is to elevate us from viewers to participants in the process of empowerment. @OWNViwers is just to pay it forward and give back a little to Oprah for her devotion to improving people’s lives. Can I share this there? Would you consider following and sharing with your community?

  • What a great idea Lia! I will add the link to your Twitter page to the bottom of this post. =)

  • carol

    thank you for sharing oprah’s lifeclass here on your site.  i think her greatest gift is making this movement of greater self awareness accessible.  from a soldier stationed from guam who skyped in that lifeclass made him more self aware, to a woman somewhere in the u.s. taking the steps to leave an abusive relationship, to people all over the world learning that their presence in enough.  like you, she has opened a door into this safe space to be ourselves.

  • Wow what an amazing compliment to be compared to Oprah! I’m really inspired by the way she’s created, like you said, a safe space for people to be authentic. I really do think that’s the key to happiness–learning to be comfortable in our skin and and honest so that we can help ourselves and each other.

  • Kalf1an

    “43. I cannot change someone or the way they act. I am only responsible for myself and the way i act and feel.”  I am staying together with other person in the dormitory and recently i just got annoyed by my new roommate because i don’t like the way he act. But now i realize that it’s my problem. I just need to adjust myself to accept his habit. Thanks so much for the sharing! It really inspires me and open up my mind! 🙂 sorry if my english is not good. 

  • Supafly_bebe

    A million thanks for posting these inspiring words. I will be sending the link to my friends 🙂 I think everyone should read these words of encouragement in their lifetime.

  • You are most welcome. I’m glad you enjoyed this post!

  • Elegantgi

    I learned so much from Oprahs Life Class myself.  I found it to be very inspirational and a springboard for me to realize my dreams.  Please take a look at my new Kindle book inspired by Oprah’s Life Class called “Life Speaks to You In Whispers.”  Thanks so much keep giving insight and inspiration.  We all need it!!

  • guest


     Thank you for posting all of this information. I am going through a friendship battle right now, and am having difficulty understanding why some good friends in your life are able to walk away from a long-term friendship without fully disclosing the specifics. I was searching on the web for something to help me and these lessons are making a positive impact in my life. I like number 42-  that I should not take everything personally, because it will only affect me and bring negative energy into my life. One of the main things I was able to gain from the Lifeclasses were that negative energy needs to be released from your body. Thank you again Lori for making my day better.

  • You’re most welcome! It’s really such a wonderful resource for personal development. I’m a big fan!

  • You’re most welcome! I’m so glad this helped. I’ve had some friendships end abruptly, so I know how disconcerting that can be. Number 42 has also been a huge life lesson for me!

  • ROSE

    Being aware is the best thing that has ever happened to me its just changed my life and all theis just proves life doesn’t have to be the way we thought it would be its actually much easier and enjoyable keep up the good work.

  • Thanks Rose. =)

  • Pinkchocolatebreak

    “I know I’m off course when that magic, that whisper of possibility, my own rogue spirit gets lost in action” & “Never fear taking a chance on something u really want to do” Today I was doubting a choice I made, don’t know why but I think every time you take a risk on something you pass this phase. Just to show how the Universe works in magical way when you follow your heart because I saw this post coming by on Twitter and decided to read it and some of the things written here are like whispers from God telling me I’m on the right path and I need to continue in the right direction . Many thanks for this 😀

  • You’re most welcome! I think doubt can be one of the most paralyzing feelings. I’ve been working on trusting myself more lately, and it feels liberating to do it!

  • Whatrugonnado

    Love having a list of 60 life lessons. I just recently started watching lifeclass, thanks for the empowering time capsule.

  • You’re most welcome!

  • LifeHappens

    Also another blog I’ve come to enjoy –

  • Suze Xavier

    The one thing i learnt is that i have a lot of areas in my life that i have to work on. I was guilty of neglecting myself but not anymore since i changed my outlook, my perception of myself. I realised that I matter and now I never over work myself ( delegate the excess work to my Virtual Assistant-Habiliss) , make sure that i spend some quality ‘me-time’ and never under any circumstance give up on myself 🙂

  • It’s a very useful rules, which I try to read as often as possible. Life is too short and it’s very important to live worthy.

  • mick

    anyone know where I can get a vision board that I can put in my shower