And what was so beautifully . . . what is the word? . . “comforting” about what happened every day

Now she is 63. What I want to know is: What does 63 know that 44 didn’t? She pauses for a long time. “In your 40s, you’re coming into it, you’re intellectualizing things, and you kind of know it and you feel it,” she says. “But there is a deepening and a broadening and quickening of the knowing that happens in your 50s. Maya Angelou used to say to me, ‘The 50s are everything you’ve been meaning to be.’ She looks at me over the top of the nerd-chic glasses she favors these days. “You’d been meaning to be that person.” She laughs. “By the time you hit 60, there are just no . . . damn . . . apologies. And certainly not at 63. And the weight thing that was always such a physical, spiritual, emotional burden for me—no apologies for that either.”

Interviewing people who interview people for a living presents a special challenge: They know what you’re up to. You feel as if you’re being quietly judged. Not with Oprah. Once she’s committed, once she’s present, there is a kind of flow and trust that develops on the spot. Oprah, by her count, has interviewed more than 37,000 people during her 25 years of doing the The Oprah Winfrey Show in Chicago. When I ask her if there is one big takeaway, she says, “Absolutely. There’s not a human being alive who doesn’t want—in any conversation, encounter, experience with another human being—to feel like they matter. And you can resolve any issue if you could just get to what it is that they want—they want to be heard. And they want to know that what they said to you meant something. Most people go their entire lives and nobody ever really wants the answer to ‘How are you? Tell me about yourself.’ And what was so beautifully . . . what is the word? . . comforting about what happened every day on the Oprah show is that people would dress up like they were going to church. Sometimes I would notice somebody and I would say, ‘Oh, wow, that’s a really pretty green dress.’ And she would go: ‘I wore it for you! I knew you would notice me!’ People just want to be seen; they want to be validated.”

~ Jonathan Van Meter, from Oprah Winfrey Is On a Roll (Again) in Vogue, August 15, 2017


Portrait of Oprah by Annie Leibovitz, Vogue, September 2017 titled: “Like a Prayer.” “I have no angst, no regret, no fear,” Oprah says.

Comments

  1. Love Oprah! She’s interviewed enough people to know the truth; we just want to be seen and validated. 👏👏

    Liked by 3 people

  2. that’s it – the universal desire to have ‘mattered.’

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Isn’t that interesting? It’s true, but where inside us is that need/desire generated? Is it in the mind (conscious/sub-conscious), in the heart, within the ego? It’s not only a human need I think. My cat seems to need to matter. My dog wants to matter to me. Maybe it tickles the pleasure centers of the brain. Too deep for me to understand. :0)

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Bingo!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. To feel as though you’ve been seen, been heard, made a difference to someone somewhere. A visceral need, I believe.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    Like none other … a lightworker! 🌸

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Reblogged this on RULE13 Learning.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Validation…perfect observation, and so “Oprah”. What a great photo capture by Leibovitz, who always seems to get it.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Thinks … Her voice with the wisdom that comes with age, would be a powerful one for us to hear these days❣️ Thanks for sharing this David.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Apologies, first off….this is something I wrote down years ago and don’t have the author’s name to attribute this [most] appropriate yet long quote: “After I die–I wouldn’t want people to say of me only–that I was a great teacher–or that I loved art, or sewing, or writing–cooking.
    I would like at least one person to come closer, to add: she was also lovely, she laughed a lot, she suffered a lot. She was mixed up. She made some big mistakes. Then–tell those mistakes and sum up: she was important to me.”

    “…important to me.”

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I found the article very interesting.. what she has found is true for many of us as we age.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m not a real big Oprah fan. no particular reason. But what she says reminds me of my ex-wife. she was good at that, validating people, making them feel like they mattered.
    and this…one of my crazy dreams.
    http://srevestories.blogspot.com/2016/07/black-lives-matter.html

    Liked by 1 person

    • I respect your POV. My take is different. She’s so good at making others feel comfortable, that she extracts a lot more in interviews. And she makes it all look so simple. My take is that she opens herself up first making others come right behind her.

      Like

  13. She’s pretty amazing – the things she’s done and achieved in her life.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Gotta love Oprah. I love her. I love what she does and how she does it. Of course, she did have Maya Angelou as her mentor! I think there is nothing we, humans especially, want more than to feel like we matter.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Oprah has come a long long way!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Beautifully said.

    Liked by 1 person

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