Thursday, October 13, 2011

What Would Oprah Do? Self-Examination for the Community Advocate

Oprah's OWN network launched a social media frenzy with the amazing "Life Class" series that streams simultaneously on Facebook, Twitter and Cable TV.

Oprah uses the web as a virtual therapy session for people who want to make serious changes in their personal life. Thousands of people share their deepest and darkest pains to the world while Oprah and her "sister-girl" experts help unravel how these experiences shape who we are.

The "Life Class" acts as a guide using affirmations and identifying destructive patterns of behavior that keep the everyday Joe from living his life purpose. Oprah cites her own foils and fumbles as proof that no one is perfect. Nope, not even Oprah.

Even Oprah, with all the money, gourmet chefs and personal trainers, admitted that she doesn't believe in exercise.  Her personal revelation makes her more human and more accessible.

This self-disclosure model for personal and collective change made me think about my role as a health advocate and yoga teacher in Anacostia.

Why would and should anyone listen to what I have to say about health? 

Influencing health policy is one thing. But trying to convince grown folks not to eat carry out can lead me down a dark path of egotistical banter that falls on deaf ears. I realize now that in order for true community advocacy to work, we must reveal ourselves and share our struggles. It's time to for community advocates to use our personal testimonies as the tether that connects our experiences to those who are willing to hear us. This is the first step toward personal change.

It won't be easy to tell a stranger what I have been through, but in the long run, my personal story will hopefully connect with someone who needs one small voice to help take a big leap.


Juneous said...

Very good post! I have learned that being transparent and open is one way for people to connect with you and see you as human.

AnacostiaYogi said...

Thinking back to all the people who had the biggest influence on my life, the one thing that they shared is their disclosure. I respected and admired them more because of their willingness to share the more vulnerable parts of themselves.
Anacostia Yogi