Oprah Winfrey's twenty-five year run on national TV was designed to give the television viewing audience the opportunity to learn what Oprah always called Living Your Best Life.
To this end she invited individuals of varied talents and skills to be guests on her show... encouraging the direct, honest sharing of what those individuals have learned in their life journeys.
She always demonstrated a very powerful interest when interviewing her guests in truly hearing and understanding what they had to say. She is a magnificent listener and learner and her guests always prized and savored her attention, entrusting many of the lessons learned on their spiritual journeys with Oprah and her devoted followers and fans.
Oprah's passion to listen and learn has made her not only a compelling TV personality but also a role model to all of us.
In her last broadcast of twenty-five years...when she spent the entire show talking about the most important things she had discovered through her work...Oprah shared this thought with the audience:
Everyone wants validating. Everybody wants to be heard. Every single person you will ever meet shares this common desire:
They want to know...
Do you see me?
Do you hear me?
Does what I say mean anything to you?
What a beautiful legacy and life lesson Oprah has gifted us with...and perhaps the secret to achieving a real CONNECTION with the individuals who populate our life.
It is not always easy to focus on another...when there is so much we want to say. But, when we are the only one doing the talking, we are not learning anything new and we are the only one starring in the production of our life.
And, really, the script is always essentially the same. It is our script....the script we have learned and written.
And when we only tell our stories we are depriving ourselves of the enriching experience of interacting and communicating and connecting. There is so much to be learned from being open to others...from listening to their responses...from sharing their adventures and challenges...and from hearing about the lessons they have learned.
There is such a beautiful variety of individuals in the world. No two alike. And why would we want them to be! When we interact with others it is very possible we will hear stories that don't match our experiences... stories that seem strange and foreign to us.
In those cases, we will probably not find common ground for agreement. But what we can do is learn about what is important to others.
We can honor their feelings and try to understand them. We can listen with sensitivity and caring and we can help them "see" us and know the substance of our hearts.
Just the giving of this one gift will make all the difference.
Just the generous desire to understand another's motivation, concerns, joy and pain and also to share our own story and feelings will produce an exquisite interaction.
Let's follow the wonderful inspiration of Oprah to live our best life by treasuring the gift of CONNECTING with others.
That connection will automatically happen when we make the effort to understand how others paint the picture of their lives and to share the landscape of our own.
originally printed June 25, 2011