Yesterday, I posted a Thought Question about a quote by Oprah Winfrey that I was having difficulty with. There was some interesting discussion on Facebook as a result, and a morning full of discussion today with my husband, so today I’m taking another stab at it. I’ve pasted the discussion from yesterday at the bottom of this post.
You can participate in this debate here the website by clicking on the TITLE of the post, which will bring you to a page containing only this post and where you find a Comment box.
Today’s Thought Question:
Yesterday’s Thought Question was this:
“Do YOU agree with Oprah’s quote? If we cut ourselves off from any type of person in life, aren’t we losing an opportunity to serve and to give of ourselves and help others, and aren’t we losing an opportunity to learn something important about life in the process?”
The resulting conversation from Facebook:
COMMENT: not so wise quote considering the fact that she,of all people have the opportunity and chance to help,,,
Curiosities By Dickens: Thanks so much for your comment.
I think Oprah has helped countless numbers of people, in her own ways, through her various businesses, but this quote seems to emphasize personal success instead of helping others succeed. Her businesses all seem to have been self-help oriented…not just her show, but the books she promotes and the movies she’s made and the magazine she puts out. She seems to feel things very deeply. This just seems to be such a deviation from what she has stood for that I can’t make sense of it.
However, she’s definitely not alone in taking this stand. A good many, if not most, motivational speakers and entrepreneurs and self-help books and materials have adopted the same approach, which makes no sense to me. The best and most fulfilling self-help practice there is, is to help someone else. Don’t you think?
I don’t believe any of the great spiritual leaders of the world have practiced or preached this. Anybody know if I’ve got that wrong?
COMMENT: very well said,,and I’m with you,this site is very helpful and an eye-opener,,more power!!!
Curiosities By Dickens: Thank you so much…that’s incredibly nice to hear. .¸¸.ღ
COMMENT: Doesn’t being “of service” lift one up – emotionally, spiritually… even more than being “served”?
Curiosities By Dickens: I think that’s exactly right, Toni!
COMMENT: I think all Oprah meant was that we shouldn’t have to put up with people who tend to bring us down. I don’t take this to mean that we are to avoid a person who’s social or financial standing does not measure up to ours.
Curiosities By Dickens: I agree that she didn’t seem to be referring to social or financial standing, but why shouldn’t we put up with people who pull us down? It’s an opportunity for us to help those who are trying to get out of whatever emotional or spiritual hole they’re in. Right? Being around people who are “down” doesn’t mean we have to get “down” with them, it means we can give ‘em a hand up. Right?
COMMENT: i think it is clearly said…”avoid the negative persons around us for us to be always positive in life…”
Curiosities By Dickens: I think the quote is clear, yes, but the philosophy disturbs me. What I’m wondering, Janette, is why we should avoid the negative people and only surround ourselves with the positive people, since we then miss out on probably THE most important and meaningful thing there is in this life…the opportunity to serve others. Does that make sense?
COMMENT: I think she’s just saying not to hang around with people who are going to be a negative influence or take you away from the you you want to be. People who give us the opportunity to grow or to help them grow by presenting challenges to us are usually positive influences and can lift you very high. Someone who is constantly negative and inflexible and has an agenda of bringing me down is someone I would choose not to be around.
Curiosities By Dickens: Good point…Jim and I have been debating this all morning, and I’m about to post another version of this quote to see what kind of reaction that spurs.
Jim’s point is, “When you fly in an airplane, one of the first things that the attendant tells you: In case of emergency, put your own mask on first and then help your child. The message there is: You will not be able to help your child until you are able to help them and you will not be able to help them until you have your mask on.”
I don’t think Mother Theresa surrounded themselves by people who lifted her higher. She sought inner peace and motivation through her spiritual life, and then gave of herself by immersing herself wherever she saw a need.
Part of the difference here might be that it may be important to surround oneself with positive, successful people in order to succeed or achieve or advance in a career, but I think that “achievement and success and advancement” aren’t the most important goals in life. Although, I must say, as I argue with my own point, if “achievement and success and advancement” puts someone in a position of helping others, then maybe I’m wrong. The quote just bugs me and seems off base.