Oprah Offers ‘Manual for Life’ at Lifeclass

An inside look at the personal development behind Oprah’s Lifeclass with Bishop TD Jakes
September 1, 2013

She’s the one-word mega hyphenate (media mogul-entrepreneur-inspirational leader) and he’s the larger-than-life Christian figure and best-selling author who’s more than qualified to share a stage with her. Oprah and TD Jakes recently teamed up to tackle issues of broken families and relationships in two new installments of Oprah’s Lifeclass. Fresh off her Emmy win for her Lifeclass work in social TV experience, Oprah took the show to Dallas to join Bishop TD Jakes at his MegaFest conference. It was fitting that MegaFest attendees flocked to the American Airlines Center to join Oprah and the Bishop, since the crowd roared with applause, cheers and the occasional “Amen!” that could rival any Dallas Mavericks game usually held there.

The premise of Oprah’s Lifeclass is simple: Oprah and her team have taken every “lesson, revelation and aha moment over the last 25 years,” broken them down and added applicable tips and steps with the help of relationship experts and coaches. As Bishop TD Jakes says, “That’s why Lifeclass is amazing. Life doesn’t come with a manual. We’re all learning.”

In an event reminiscent of a hands-on workshop more than a taping of a TV show, Oprah would call on certain audience members or Skype in participants who would share their family issues with an open-minded Bishop Jakes. Promising not to judge, but only to help, the healing and inspiration Jakes provided was also tempered with humor. “This isn’t Judge Judy; this is Lifeclass!” he cheered.

Without divulging specific details and storylines (new episodes will air on Sundays in September, only on the Oprah Winfrey Network), we’ve compiled our top five personal-development takeaways from this life-altering Lifeclass.  

1. “Don’t allow your personal bitterness to make you an unjust judge.” - Bishop TD Jakes. When it comes to failed marriages and broken households, Bishop Jakes has seen, preached and counseled on them all. If the marriage or relationship doesn’t end up working out, the worst thing you can do is to allow the experience to cloud your better judgment, especially when it comes to any children or additional family.

2. “When you hold onto your history, you do it at the expense of your destiny.” - Bishop TD Jakes. This lesson, in particular, was Oprah’s favorite. “That’s a quote for the ages!” she remarked, “That made me want to cry.” Bishop Jakes continues, “If I held onto all that happened to me in my childhood and in my life, I wouldn’t be standing here today. If you revisit the images and replay them, you empower them and strengthen them. Don’t give those bad memories any more power over you than they already have.”

3. “You have to meet people where they are and love them at the level they want to be loved,” Oprah advises. The Bishop added on with the analogy that some of us have “ten gallon hearts,” but deal with or fall in love with people, who for one reason or another, can only give “pint-sized love.” If one person can’t fill your ten gallon heart, supplement that space with other family, friends or activities.

4. “My problem with people [in troubled relationships] today is that they give up so easily. They divorce themselves of the chance to have a lifelong shot at happiness.” Bishop TD Jakes continues, “We have followers on Twitter or friends on Facebook who we pay so much attention to, yet we don’t even know. There’s all this phony, pretentious facade of pretend relationships. Why are we so devoted to the synthetic and disengaged from the organic?”

5. “Don’t just confront issues. If you have the strength to be confrontational then have the wisdom to have conflict resolution,” states Bishop TD Jakes. When it comes to conflict resolution, there’s one rule of thumb that the Bishop advises you to always include in difficult conversations with loved ones: “Attack the issue and not the individual. Separate the behavior and the problem from the person and that person will join you in solving the problem.”

 

With relationships healed and families on the path to restoration, Oprah’s last Lifeclass at MegaFest wraps up, and Winfrey herself said goodbyes to the crowd as she echoed Jakes’ earlier statement, “This isn’t Judge Judy! This is Lifeclass!”

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