How Oprah Overcame Her Biggest Fear and Made It a Metaphor

While it might not seem like Oprah Winfrey is afraid of anything, it turns out that she has a massive fear of a popular party favor: balloons. Yes, you read that right. The inflatable object is Oprah’s biggest nightmare.

But despite her being deathly afraid of balloons, the media mogul forced herself to overcome her phobia, which has become a metaphor for how she faces all of her biggest fears in life.

Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey | Frennie Shivambu/Gallo Images/Getty Images

Oprah revealed her phobia of balloons in 2013

If, by any chance, you happen to get invited to a birthday bash for Oprah, trust us when we tell you, don’t bring balloons to the party.

Oprah is deathly afraid of the helium-filled rubber and previously explained why she considers them to be her biggest fear in life.

“I don’t like balloons, and for my 40th birthday, my entire staff decided to surprise me,” Winfrey recalled during a promotional video for an October 2013 issue of O Magazine, according to E! News. “I come downstairs and the entire audience is filled with balloons. Literally, I’m stepping over balloons, having to walk through balloons and I’m so, like, ‘Oh! When is one going to pop?'”

“It reminds me of gunfire,” she admitted before adding that being around balloons “really freaks me out.”

According to Good Housekeeping, Oprah falls under the category of people who have globophobia. Though those who have this condition might not actually fear the balloons themselves but are afraid of the loud noise the popular party decoration makes when it pops.

Oprah was forced to face her fear head-on during a taping of ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’

Since Oprah is a powerhouse mogul, she wasn’t going to let her fear of balloons stop her from living life — which is why she decided to face her phobia head-on.

During the 2013 promotional video for her magazine, Winfrey revealed that she eventually overcame her biggest fear by walking through an intimidating sea of balloons during a live taping of The Oprah Winfrey Show.


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“No way around it — just had to walk through them,” she said.

Forcing herself to trudge through various helium-filled party decorations ultimately became Winfrey’s metaphor for facing her fears.

“There are a few things that in life, if you allow them to, can really keep you from moving forward,” the media mogul said. “You have to really walk through it. I don’t have a lot of fears because I understand that you have to really walk through it.”

The former talk show host even shared the time she used the “walking through balloons” metaphor to overcome her fear of giving a speech in front of a Harvard audience.

She shared, “I decided that facing the fear head-on, walking through it, actually getting up and doing that speech, would be more meaningful to me than staying at home and thinking what would have happened had I done it.”

So if you’re ever afraid to face something head-on, remember Oprah’s wise words: “just walk right through it.”