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oprah winfrey
maria shriver
african american woman
genuine respect
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Self Esteem And A Stage Managed Picture Oprah Winfrey
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I was interested this week in seeing clips from the final episodes of Oprah Winfrey’s iconic daytime talk show which has now ended after 25 years. The programme saw star after star come out to praise Winfrey and I was interested in the picture of Oprah Winfrey and her friends that this programme drew. Now I’m not trying to knock Oprah Winfrey. By any standards she is a remarkable woman who has ran the number one chat show programme in the US for many years. She has given voice to individuals and issues that would never have come into the public domain and of course she has willingly given a platform to the rich and famous.

Of course after 25 years the final celebrations were likely to be over the top and it was certainly that. Row after row of stars or the famous including Beyonce, Maria Shriver, Hugh Jackman were either there in person or spoke over video link declaring their admiration for Winfrey and it was very clear that there was a great deal of genuine respect and affection. Personally, I found it rather embarrassing but then I’m an uptight English woman who finds public declarations of affection embarrassing. However, embarrassment aside, what I found most interesting is the picture of Oprah Winfrey herself that it drew.

It is well known that Oprah Winfrey survived the toughest of childhood including sexual and physical abuse, the loss of her infant baby, racial abuse and poverty and yet still rose to the top of her profession. She has been described as the most influential African American woman of the 20th century and the greatest Black philanthropist in American history. In a cut throat profession she has survived and has the respect of many including her peers and the wider media. She is of course not without her critics, some of which say she is not a tough enough interviewer of her friends or favourite politicians. She was also criticised for her naivety in setting up her Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa.

However despite the odd setback, no one could describe Winfrey as anything but a natural born fighter who oozes self-confidence from almost every pore. But I suspect that her self esteem isn’t always as strong. Over the years she has had a very public battle with her weight and self image and her yoyo dieting has been apparent to all. Despite being at the top of her profession you could see in the final programmes how much it meant to Winfrey to have all these people come out and say how marvellous she was. I’m not criticising her for that, we all need praise and acceptance, but it was interesting to see through the tears just how much she lapped up the admiration and adulation. There was no real trace of embarrassment, she loved every minute of it. She might have pretended to be surprised but c’mon Oprah you know there are lots of people who adore you.

Of course I don’t know whether Winfrey continues to have any self-esteem issues but I suspect she might. However she certainly has in the past and of course she’s far from being alone. There are numerous examples of people who exude self-confidence struggling with their self-esteem. The late Princess Diana was one, as is Sarah Ferguson, The Duchess of York. However, surrounding yourself with positive people or people who admire you might give you a warm glow temporarily, but they will not fix your self esteem. Self esteem comes from within and the real challenge is to change your own view of yourself and that can be an ongoing battle.


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