I don't know who was in need of a word today, but Oprah just came through with an interview with The Hollywood Reporter that is a whole sermon. Auntie O is always dropping gems, but this advice she gave on demanding what you deserve out of life, I felt that in my spirit.
Do you sometimes feel like an imposter in your own life? Despite all of your hard work and accomplishments, for some reason, you feel unqualified AF. This feeling can lead you to doubt how talented you are and make you feel unfit to achieve the goals you once had for your life. So you take that job that you have little to no interest in because it pays the bills, you stay with that man who has proven time and time again that he is not the one, and you live in that city you claim to hate because you're afraid that if you step out on faith and bust a move, others won't recognize your talent; but Oprah wants you to remember that your worth isn't determined by how much other people value you.
"I remember working in Baltimore [in the mid-1970s] and being in a position where I was doing the exact same job as my [male] co-host and going into my boss, saying, 'Gee, I'd like to get a raise,' and them saying, 'But why? Do you own your home? Do you have children? He has children. Do you have college payments? Do you have a mortgage?' I just tucked my tail between my legs and said, 'Thank you very much.'"
Although this response would have shaken some people, leading them to criticize and doubt their own instincts, it prompted Oprah to make a plan.
"And that's when I decided I'm not going to become an institutional anchor. I'm going to leave here because they cannot see my value. But I didn't blame myself for one minute. I just thought, 'Oh, you don't get it.' I always felt, even as a young reporter, that there was something more important to do and say than this thing I'm doing here right now, out here chasing ambulances."
At the time, the now 65-year-old powerhouse had a vision for her future, and it was one that didn't include having to beg for what she felt she had earned. She continued:
"I could feel in the center of myself that my life was not going to be out on the street holding a microphone in front of people's faces and every day looking for the worst thing that has happened to someone to report about. So there was that innate knowing that this is not going to be it. Through all of the times I felt discriminated against, put down, marginalized, I always thought, 'It won't be long.'"
Oprah carried this 'F U Pay Me' mentality all the way to the top of the entertainment industry, and she encourages both her fans and her homies to do the same thing. In the interview, she also revealed the important advice she gave her bestie, Gayle King, in terms of signing her multimillion-dollar deal with CBS. She explained:
"I said, 'Get what you want. Get exactly what you want because now's the time. And if you don't get what you want, then make the next right move.' Even without me, she was going to do that. But that was my advice, and I actually called up her lawyer, Allen Grubman, and I said, 'Allen, she should get what she wants.' And Allen goes, 'What the F do you think I'm doing here? I said the same thing to her!' The negotiation was already happening before her R. Kelly interview."
We all need rich friends like Oprah who can remind us that we're worth so much more than our pay grade. Whether it's personal or professional, you owe it to yourself to unapologetically break free from any relationship that's not giving you what you feel you deserve.
Read the full interview with THR here.
Featured image by Ruven Afanador.