What Happened To You? by Bruce D. Perry and Oprah Winfrey is going to change the way you see your life.
Through deeply personal conversations, Oprah Winfrey and renowned brain and trauma expert Dr. Bruce Perry offer a groundbreaking and profound shift from asking “What’s wrong with you?” to “What happened to you?”
In conversation throughout the book, Oprah and Dr. Perry focus on understanding people, behavior, and ourselves.
It’s a subtle but profound shift in our approach to trauma, and it’s one that allows us to understand our pasts in order to clear a path to our future―opening the door to resilience and healing in a proven, powerful way.
Scroll down and read 30 quotes from What Happened To You? by Bruce D. Perry and Oprah Winfrey.
Get The Book: What Happened To You? by Bruce D. Perry and Oprah Winfrey available now on Amazon.
Quotes from What Happened To You? by Bruce D. Perry and Oprah Winfrey
“If we want to understand the oak, it’s back to the acorn we must go.” – Oprah Winfrey
“I believe every environment has a tone. If you were to walk into any home as a stranger, not speaking the language, you could absolutely feel whether this is a place where people are loved. Just as you can sense when something’s off. You may not know what it is, but something feels off.” – Oprah Winfrey
“A lifelong set of beliefs and behaviors can emerge when trauma is experienced at a young age. ” – Bruce D. Perry
“Music, laughter, dancing (even a party for one), knitting, cooking—finding what naturally soothes you not only regulates your heart and mind, it helps you stay open to the goodness in you and in the world.” – Oprah Winfrey
“To the daughter-girls in my life who believed they had broken wings. My hope for you is to not just fly but soar.” – Oprah Winfrey
“The quickest and most consistent way for me to get back to my own rhythm is to walk in nature. Just focusing on my breath, my steady heartbeat, the stillness of a tree, or the intricacy of a leaf can center me in the wholeness of all things.” – Oprah Winfrey
“Balance is the core of health. We feel and function best when our body’s systems are in balance, and when we’re in balance with friends, family, community, and nature.” – Bruce D. Perry
“Now when I begin to feel overwhelmed, I pull back. I have learned to say no. When I’m around someone who drains me, I put up a barrier—a nonphysical wall that keeps that person’s negative energy away.” – Oprah Winfrey
“We elicit from the world what we project into the world; but what you project is based upon what happened to you as a child.” – Bruce D. Perry
“Even if you’ve accumulated a house full of nice things and the picture of your life fits inside a beautiful frame, if you have experienced trauma but haven’t excavated it, the wounded parts of you will affect everything you’ve managed to build.” – Oprah Winfrey
“Connectedness counters the pull of addictive behaviors. It is the key.” – Bruce D. Perry
“Given love, the unloved can become loving.” – Bruce D. Perry
“One of the most remarkable properties of our brain is its capacity to change and adapt to our individual world. Neurons and neural networks actually make physical changes when stimulated; this is called neuroplasticity.” – Bruce D. Perry
“The way you treat a child, from the time that child is born, is what sets them up to either succeed or struggle.” – Oprah Winfrey
“There is a difference between thinking you deserve to be happy and knowing you are worthy of happiness. So often we block our blessings because we don’t, at our core, feel that we’re enough.” – Oprah Winfrey
“As you revisit your past, know that no matter what happened, your simply being here, alive, makes you worthy. And know that there is hope.” – Oprah Winfrey
“Your own experiences and the echoes of your ancestors’ experiences influence the way you think, feel, and behave. They are major determinants of your health. And being aware of this can help us remember that everything we do right now is going to echo into the future. Our actions matter; we are impacting the next generations. So are we being as mindful as we could?” – Bruce D. Perry
“The lesson for me was that a key aspect of What happened to you? is What didn’t happen for you? What attention, nurturing touch, reassurance—basically, what love—didn’t you get? I realized that neglect is as toxic as trauma.” – Bruce D. Perry
“Most people think about therapy as something that involves going in and undoing what’s happened. But whatever your past experiences created in your brain, the associations exist and you can’t just delete them. You can’t get rid of the past.” – Bruce D. Perry
“Therapy is more about building new associations, making new, healthier default pathways. It is almost as if therapy is taking your two-lane dirt road and building a four-lane freeway alongside it. The old road stays, but you don’t use it much anymore.” – Bruce D. Perry
“We can help each other heal, but often assumptions about resilience and grit blind us to the healing that leads us down the painful path to wisdom.” – Bruce D. Perry
“It is impossible to be truly wise without some real-life hardship. And we cannot develop post-traumatic wisdom without weathering and, most importantly, as you point out, weathering together.” – Bruce D. Perry
“Very often, “what happened” takes years to reveal itself. It takes courage to confront our actions, peel back the layers of trauma in our lives, and expose the raw truth of our past. But this is where healing begins.” – Oprah Winfrey
“We must understand and heal the wounds of the past before we can move forward.” – Oprah Winfrey
“No matter what has happened, you get a chance to rewrite the script.” – Oprah Winfrey
“The acknowledgment of one human being by another is what bonds us. Asking “What happened to you?” expands the human connection.” – Bruce D. Perry
“When you’re able to really see another person, that’s true compassion, and extending yourself in compassion to another human being changes the nature of our relationships, our communities, and our world.” – Oprah Winfrey
“Forgive yourself, forgive them. Step out of your history and into the path of your future.” – Oprah Winfrey
“Because what I know for sure is that everything that has happened to you was also happening for you. And all that time, in all of those moments, you were building strength. Strength times strength times strength equals power. What happened to you can be your power.” – Oprah Winfrey
“Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could have been any different. But we cannot move forward if we’re still holding on to the pain of that past.” – Oprah Winfrey
Which quote from What Happened To You? by Bruce D. Perry and Oprah Winfrey is your favorite?
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