Oprah Winfrey
Photo: Art Streiber
Talking with thousands of people over the years has shown me that there's one desire we all share: we want to feel valued. Whether you're a mother in Topeka or a businesswoman in Philadelphia, each of us, at our core, longs to be loved, needed, understood, affirmed—to have intimate connections that leave us feeling more alive and human.  

What I know for sure is that a lack of intimacy is not distance from someone else; it is disregard for yourself. It's true that we all need the kind of relationships that enrich and sustain us. But it's also true that if you're looking for someone to heal and complete you, you're wasting your time. Why? Because if you don't already know that you have worth, there's nothing your friends, your family, or your mate can say that will completely assure you of that. You are the one best mother, father, sister, friend, cousin, and lover you will ever have.

Right now you're one choice away from seeing yourself as someone whose life has inherent significance—so choose to see it that way. You don't have to spend one more second focusing on a past not filled with the affirmation you should have gotten from your parents. Stop waiting for your husband to say "I appreciate you," your kids to tell you what a great mother you are, a man to whisk you away and marry you, or your best friend to assure you that you're worth a darn.

Look inward—the loving begins with you.

What Oprah Knows for Sure
From the October 2001 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine.