When Caring Hurts
Copy Oprah’s Proven Fixes

This month’s speaking gigs were with staffs from the Humane Rescue Alliance and the Reston Hospital here in D.C. My amazing attendees were searching for new ways to feel better and stronger in the face of competing demands and very tight resources. They are on the frontlines of pain, heartache and healing and I was privileged to be with them for a time.

What to say? How to inspire them?

They picked the topics. “Optimism.” “Happiness.” So great. So where to begin?

I find that when we talk about role models, barriers to action and ways to calm down, lots of things are quickly shared. I opened with comments about Oprah’s personality and her impact as a way to begin our discussion.

three butterfly shaped kites flying in a blue sky

As we uncovered her strengths and passions, even the most cynical reckoned with what she does so easily, with eloquence and care. She actively listens and validates her guests. She grants them permission to believe that that are enough, that they are worthy and that they are part of the solution in small and big ways in spite of their fears and weaknesses.

We then talked about how she honors herself. How the power of self-care is front and center of many interviews and articles she responds to and emphasizes. It’s a way of being, that is dynamic and glorious. It’s a conversation and a ritual that she has with herself – something we should all do more of for ourselves, in my humble opinion.

Then we talked about her vision for herself. How choosing joy is one of her mantras about what she does and who she does it with. Even in the face of dire straits.

Barriers are real. Some are self-imposed. Many are not. We explored them a bit, seeing what could be changed and what wasn’t worth the effort.

To finish these sessions about Optimism and Happiness we focused on “What Next?” instead of “Why?” It led us to creative brainstorming, to humorous what-if’s and to shared agreements about making them more visible and more vibrant in our lives.

Optimism and Happiness are there for the taking. It’s about attitude and gentle actions…and a splash of frivolity, faith and humor (just ask Oprah). You can do this!