When Oprah was in her 20s, she says she went looking for love in all the wrong places. In this "Oprah's Lifeclass" clip from 2011, she takes the lessons she learned from her past relationships and gives her viewers the timeless lesson that "love doesn't hurt" – and if it does, something is wrong.
"Think of all the times you let a man treat you badly, or someone -- your friends, walk all over you," Oprah says in the above video. "How many times have you let hurtful words or criticism crush you?"
"Well, I was one of those people who was raised not to have a lot of self-esteem," she continues. "The lesson of a whipping, the lesson of being heavily disciplined with violence, is that you're not worthy. That you're not good enough. It takes a long time to get a sense of self-worth and self-value."
Like many people in their 20s, Oprah says she wanted "to be validated by somebody else's view of who I was."
"And I've done some really embarrassing, ridiculous, crazy-ass things over the years," Oprah admits. In one relationship, she recalls "holding onto the bumper of a Datsun Z, like I could actually keep him from pulling off. And I remember one time, he had left and slammed the door on my hand."
Oprah says she had put up a barrier –- "you can say anything to me, but you cannot hit me," she says. "He didn't hit me, but the door slammed on my hand. And I thought, 'Well, that's coming close. That's coming very close.'"
She says she remembers the door slamming and falling to the floor. "And in front of me was a mirror, and I saw myself on the floor with my hand now bruised and thinking, 'I have become the woman that I watched my cousin Alice be my whole life as a kid.' The only difference is that I'm battered in spirit, and the next step is going to be -- who knows?"
"So lying there on the floor is the moment I made that decision that I have now become a woman that I never imagined myself to be," Oprah says, "and I've got to figure out how to get myself out of this."
This is the takeaway, she says: "Even though you want it to change, sometimes it takes a little longer to actually get the message that people who love you don't treat you badly. Love doesn't hurt. It's supposed to feel good."