What I Know For Sure by Oprah Winfrey

Someone asked me that question, ‘What do you know for sure about your life?’ It was now a central question of my life. I examined my previous columns and slowly come to understand the things in life like joy, resilience, awe, connection, gratitude and possibility. You will find yourself if you ask those questions.

Joy. I remembered dancing at Tina Turner’s concert and that was a pure joy. ‘When you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance.’ You can choose to live your life with joy each day. Enjoy at the present and do not defer it. Be attuned to the present. Pleasure is energy reciprocated. A powerful moment could be even sipping on a cup of masala tea. How would you spend your last day? Have you laughed till your sides hurt? Stare at death in the eye and you will see clarity. I value eating well and satisfying cravings. Eat foods that make you thrive. Fresh food should be treasured. Gayle King has been a very close friend of mine. She is one of the nicest persons I know. This is the joy of having a true friend. I want to experience joy at every level. I started my first job in radio to read on the air. Books were for me to escape from reality. Be connected to your spiritual self through living in the moment.

Being able to do good things for other people: 5+. The enjoyment comes from knowing the receiver understands the spirit of the gift. I make an effort to do something good for somebody every day, whether I know that person or not. – Oprah Winfrey

Give me a great novel or memoir, some tea, and a cozy spot to curl up in, and I’m in heaven. I love to live in another person’s thoughts; I marvel at the bonds I feel with people who come alive on the page, regardless of how different their circumstances might be from mine. I not only feel I know these people, but I also recognize more of myself. Insight, information, knowledge, inspiration, power: All that and more can come from a good book. – Oprah Winfrey

What I know for sure is that reading opens you up. It exposes you and gives you access to anything your mind can hold. What I love most about reading: It gives you the ability to reach higher ground. And keep climbing. – Oprah Winfrey

Resilience. We have our own journey. I was an unwanted pregnancy. As a child, I was used to solitude. You are responsible for your own life and re-wiring yourself. Every day brings new opportunities for growth. Keep moving and pave your own road. Let your bad experiences re-balance your footings. Balance is living in the present. I gave birth at 14 but the baby died in hospital not long after. This was judged negatively by many but after I revealed the secret, it benefited me and I stopped blaming myself. Your deepest struggle can produce your greatest strength. Everyone is waiting for love, joy and acknowledgement and I can relate deeply to that. You are in control of your life. When something bad happens, ask yourself ‘What is this here to teach me?’ When stressed, I will go out and breathe alone. Every experience is a valuable teacher. All our hurdles have meaning. Anything can be a miracle if you choose to see it that way. Take setbacks as stepping stones and move in the right direction. Keep standing. Stand.

Connection. We all want to feel valued. That can explain why people seek affairs and they want to be listened to. Love and approval should be found within yourself. You do not need someone to heal and complete you. Most people want to be heard and that is important to know during communication. Be part of your community. Life is better when you share it and expand your circle. Love is all around us. Only settle on good relationships. Relationships should be joyous in nature. If you can’t find true love, start by showing compassion first. Learn to read the signs as to whether your friendship is real.

I’ve found myself looking forward to hanging out, laughing, connecting with and embracing others as a part of the circle. It’s added new meaning to my life, a feeling of community I didn’t even know I was missing. – Oprah Winfrey

When you make loving others the story of your life, there’s never a final chapter, because the legacy continues. You lend your light to one person, and he or she shines it on another and another and another. And I know for sure that in the final analysis of our lives – when the to-do lists are no more, when the frenzy is finished, when our e-mail inboxes are empty – the only thing that will have any lasting value is whether we’ve loved others and whether they’ve loved us. – Oprah Winfrey

Gratitude. Keep a gratitude journal. Sometimes we lose sight of being grateful. Maya Angelou wanted me to say thank you because no problem that I had was as big as God’s. Gratitude brings great perspective. Let your ego take a backseat. Be grateful for your body, no matter the size. Take care of your heart, your lifeforce. Love what you have and be peaceful with it. Focus on the goodness in life. Giving is really joyful in nature. I liked planting as it gave me a sense of achievement. Close your eyes and appreciate your food. Give people the gift of themselves, that is the most powerful gift. Keep the giving going and don’t ever stop. Celebrate the ageing process with vibrancy and grace. Celebrate change and claim your best life now. I kept renewing my Oprah show. However, Mattie persuaded me to continue the show for another 5 years. Life is a gift. Everyday, I like to count my blessings.

Possibility. How can you realize your potential? Fear has power. Fear can rob you of your life, if you’re not careful. Push past your anxiety and keep moving. You don’t want to live with regret or get stuck. You have nothing to prove to anyone but yourself. Stand up and pursue your wildest dream. Most girls I know like to downplay their brilliance. Don’t pay attention to the naysayers. Do not play it small. Your intentions have to be in line with your expectations. Before you make a decision, ask what your real intention is. Examine your past motivations. Live the life of your dreams. Working at something that is unfulfilling drains your life spirit. The more stressful things get outside, stay calm. When you get the chance, go for it. You can’t accomplish anything worthwhile if you inhibit yourself. It is your duty to find out the truth of your life. Always choose yourself. Time is fleeting. Always seek to be better. Have the courage to seek your dreams regardless of what others say. Work very hard and don’t give up.

So long as you’re still worried about what others think of you, you are owned by them. Only when you require no approval from outside yourself can you own yourself. – Neale Donald Walsch

I recognize then what I know now for sure: If you can get paid for doing what you love, every paycheck is a bonus. Give yourself the bonus of a lifetime: Pursue your passion. Discover what you love. Then do it! – Oprah Winfrey

Awe. I appreciated the sound of silence. It was pure and extremely peaceful. Ask and it shall be given. Miracles are always around us and we must be open to seeing them. Open your heart and you will spot them. Joy of learning is one of the biggest rewards in life. There is no real meaning to life without a spiritual component. Always ask what you can learn from your experiences. Connect with the grand energy of creation. It is who you are. Be committed to experience life’s essence. Be mindful of everyday experiences. We all have power and need to make the most of it. Open your heart. There is extraordinary in the ordinary.

Clarity. Learn to say no. I always wanted to please and say yes. Now, I only promised to do things from the heart. Give yourself time to recharge and rest. Nurture yourself before you try and nurture others. Turn away distractions and tune in to yourself. Education is the key to freedom and is very important. When in doubt, don’t move forward but stay very still. I usually dedicate Sundays for some alone time. Learn to protect your time by saying no to others. Give yourself little breaks in between work. Refuel your willpower tank so that you are ready again for the future. The resolve to work out is closely linked to the resolve to eat healthfully. Taking care of your body is a form of investment and will pay off. You are your consciousness. How you spend your time defines who you are. Most people’s homes are cluttered with unnecessary stuff. Leave to let go and de-clutter.

Power. I believe that free will is a birth right. Every soul yearns to be free. Freedom is about having a choice. It is a big blessing to be born the United States. I loved to hang out at home. Gossip reflects insecurity of those who initiate it. Words have the power to destroy or heal. Do not watch shows that drain your energy. Reverend Jesse Jackson thought me that being excellent is a way to battle racism. Always do your best as that is the best way to attain personal freedom. Do not be burdened by bills as it can be truly awful for your well-being. Think twice before buying something. Remain grounded and spend money on those you love. Remember to cast your vote during an election. For health, spend on prevention rather than cure. Do not overwork yourself. Stay still and decide. Once you do, stick to it and do not waver. Hurricane Katrina has taught me to be hopeful and kind and compassionate. Your weight is your smoke detector in life. Whose life did you touch? Do not ignore problems in life. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. The happiness you feel is in direction proportion to the love you are able to give.

Often we make negative statements about others behind their backs, it’s because we want to feel powerful – and that’s usually because in some way we feel powerless, unworthy, not courageous enough to be forthright. – Oprah Winfrey

what i know for sure cover


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