Oprah Winfrey fell over during a discussion on balance (she’s fine, bless her) and the internet had an absolute field day.
Oprah Winfrey is the most famous woman in the world – and for good reason. She’s a media proprietor, celebrated talk show host, critically-acclaimed actor, producer and philanthropist. She’s worth a cool $2.7 billion. And the icon is now the inspiration for thousands of memes, too, after taking a tumble during her Oprah’s 2020 Vision: Your Life in Focus tour.
“Wellness to me means all things in balance. And balance doesn’t mean all things are equal or at peace at all times,” Winfrey said, just moments before tripping over.
A gasp could be heard from the crowd Los Angeles’ Forum arena, but Winfrey barely turned a hair. Instead, she sat up and exclaimed that she had worn the “wrong shoes”, before being helped back to her feet by a stage assistant.
Continuing her speech barefoot, Winfrey added: “Thank you so much. It’s nice to be talking about balance and fall.”
Writing on Twitter after the event, Winfrey revealed that the fall really had been as painful as it looked.
“LA: You were lit! In spite of my fall (which now becomes a meme), you brought me UP with your energy. Now I’m headed home to ice my knee and ankle.”
Of course, this being the age of social media, the incident – however painful it actually was – has since birthed a thousand memes. All you need do is type Winfrey’s name into Twitter, in fact, and you’ll be met by countless reaction GIFs and jokes about the footage.
Winfrey, however, has responded to the kerfuffle like an absolute trooper. Laughing off the incident via her Instagram account, she thanked her fans for their concern.
“Yes I slipped on stage and I’m now a meme,” she joked. “But I’m so grateful to be only a little sore.
“Turning the day into what Michelle Obama calls Selfcare Sunday.”
With so much pressure to be perfect, it’s incredibly refreshing – and heartening – to see someone like Winfrey laughing off an embarrassing accident like this.
“Self-deprecation is a way to admit your faults without letting them define you,” he said. “It’s also a way to stay balanced. You need to leave room for humility. We all need to acknowledge that we’re going to try our hardest, and, even so, we will sometimes come up short.”
Litt added: “Only humour lets you have both doubt and self-confidence simultaneously.”
If Litt and Winfrey’s approach to their mistakes doesn’t convince you to do the same, though, it’s worth remembering that being able to laugh at yourself may, according to a small 2011 study, improve your mood.
And that, better still, humour has been identified as a possible factor in the development of personal resilience.
“If you can laugh at yourself, you can forgive yourself,” Susan Sparks, author of Laugh Your Way To Grace, writes in a Psychology Today blog post. “
And if you can forgive yourself, you can forgive others.”
With that in mind, let’s all do our utmost best to own our pratfalls and laugh off our blushes going forward. Because, in a world which is increasingly calling for us to #BeKind to others, the easiest place to start – surely – is with ourselves.