“All these words live in a treasure box of letters that I cherish.” – Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey, American media proprietor, talk show host, actress, producer, philanthropist and one of the leading influential woman today is also a strong supporter of letter writing. In an interview on Oprah.com she discussed the power of letter writing and how a stationery set can be “The perfect tool to create the best gift ever, a gift whose value to both giver and receiver will be priceless”.

Words, when written have a stronger impact and last forever – whether it’s a thank you, get well soon, thinking of you or congratulations.

Oprah went on to discuss how “Over the years, I’ve received some amazing notes, letters and messages. And I’ve found that they get even better with time. Notes from Mike Nichols and Sidney Poitier and Barbara Walters. Nelson Mandela and Coretta Scott King. From the people closest to me: Stedman, Gayle, Bob Greene. And my daughters in South Africa. A niece and some cousins have shared words from their heart—about me, to me—that mattered. All these words live in a treasure box of letters that I cherish.”

Oprah Winfrey Letters

Photo: Ruven Afanador 

Oprah is also a supporter of the powerful and courageous exercise of writing a letter to your younger self and below you can read Oprah’s moving and inspirational letter to herself in which she makes peace with the past.

Dear beautiful brown-skinned girl, 

I look into your eyes and see the light and hope of myself. 

In this photo you are just about to turn 20, posing outside the television station where you were recently hired as a reporter. You’re proud of yourself for getting the job, but uncertain you’ll be able to manage all your college classes before 1 and arrive at the station by 1:30 for a full day’s work. Even so, your biggest concern is how to manage your love life with Bubba. Yes, you are dating someone named Bubba. 

On this day you’ve brought him to the station to see where you work, hoping he’ll be proud, too. He seems less than impressed. The truth is, he’s intimidated. You don’t know this, though, because you can see yourself only through his eyes. A lesson you will have to learn again and again: to see yourself with your own eyes, to love yourself from your own heart. 

You’ve spent too many days and years trying to please others and be what they wanted you to be. You will have to learn that the wounds of your past—rape, molestation, whippings for “stepping out of place,” and not being allowed to show anger or cry afterward—damaged your self-esteem. Yet through it all, you’ve held on to a belief in God and God’s belief in you. 

That will be your single greatest gift: knowing there is a power greater than yourself and trusting that Force to guide you. 

The trajectory of your life changed the day you answered the call from Chris Clark, the news director at WLAC-TV. Your response was ignited by the words of your then-favorite Bible verse, Philippians 3:14. “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” 

Knowing there is a “high calling” is what will sustain and fulfill you. 

From where I sit now, viewing your journey, there are few regrets. Only months before this picture was taken, you wrote a poem about a “woman becoming.” Even then you understood that success was a process and that moving with the flow of life and not against it would be your greatest achievement. 

Love you deeply, 


Oprah Table Letter

Photo: William Abranowicz

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