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oprah iyanla

The recent and dramatic reunion between Oprah and her former relationship advisor, Iyanla Van Zant, captivated television viewers as the two women hashed out their feelings and reconciled their differences in front of a worldwide audience. But while there’s been much media hype around what went down between the two 11 years ago, I’d like to focus on what I thought was the more poignant lesson that came out of the two-part meeting.

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What stuck with me was a line from the first part of the interview when Iyanla scrunched up her face and pouted to Oprah, “I just wanted you to say you liked me and you never did.”

Oprah went on to protest the statement as both “unacceptable” and totally inaccurate saying not only that she liked Iyanla, but recalling how she’d provided her a huge media platform, even giving up her own stage to sit in the audience while Iyanla did her thing in front of millions.

However, Iyanla then shouted Oprah down with these very poignant and telling words: “I thought you wanted the work… I didn’t think you wanted me.”

Wow… well there it is. That line right there says a lot.

You see, Iyanla was revealing something that many of us struggle with daily, regardless of how famous, rich, smart or talented we are seen to be. She was talking about self-worth – the way she felt in her heart of hearts, despite the ironic fact she was counseling countless others on their self-worth at the time.

I want us to really think about that for a second. How many times have we been given a good situation something viewed from the outside as a huge blessing but on the inside, have secretly felt we were unworthy or didn’t deserve it?

Perhaps it was a relationship where you subconsciously thought our significant other was “too good for us” and you ended up sabotaging it before your mate could “find out about the real you…”

Or maybe it was a position of authority you reached in your work where you constantly questioned your own worth and ability to hold and perform it?

Most of us have, at least, entertained such notions or doubts. Some rise above, others are crippled by it. Fortunately, there are many things we can do to increase our own sense of self-worth. Some folks do daily affirmations or rituals; some listen to motivational speakers; others pray and meditate daily.

All these are wonderful options we’ve heard before, yet allow me to add yet another.

Stay away from the haters. You know who they are. They’re the ones who constantly pull you down and tell you that you can’t do something, and that you need to stay put and remain miserable just like them.

If you have folks like this in your life in influential positions, the solution is, if not simple, very clear… kick them to the curb.

Now, I can hear some of you right now protesting in your minds, “But Stephanie, some of these haters are my family members…”

Too bad… kick them to the curb too. That’s what the holidays are for… you can visit them then.

Remember, before any of this transformation can happen, there has to be a fundamental commitment to yourself to take the necessary steps, whatever they may be, to see yourself in a different, more productive light.

It is a commitment to see yourself as good enough and deserving of all of the blessings life can and will bestow upon you.

Stephanie Robinson is President and CEO of The Jamestown Project, a national think tank focused on democracy. She is an author, a Lecturer on Law at the Harvard Law School and former Chief Counsel to the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy. Stephanie reaches 8 to 10 million listeners each week as political commentator for the popular radio venue, The Tom Joyner Morning Show. Visit her online at


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