You need to define who you are: 12 inspirational quotes from Michelle Obama


Inspirational quotes from Michelle Obama's learnings, as captured in her recently published book, 'Becoming'. 

Former US First Lady Michelle Obama, also the first ever African American First Lady, is getting used to her new life after her husband completed two terms as President of the United States of America. Other than the Obama Foundation, which the couple set up in 2014, Michelle has been busy writing her memoirs, Becoming, which released worldwide last month.

The book traces her journey through her growing-up years, her first job and meeting Barack Obama, and also takes us through their life together. It covers Obama’s presidential campaign and the family’s time in the White House. The detailed account includes nuggets and anecdotes that will inspire many. Throughout the book, Michelle Obama draws learnings and thoughts from her own experiences, which is sure to give readers plenty of food for thought.

Here are 12 quotes from Becoming, which will inspire you to not just hold your own, but also help you realise that whoever you may be, life is all about overcoming challenges and constantly pushing the boundaries.

Holding your own

“It challenged me and humbled me, lifted me up and shrank me down, sometimes all at once.”

“As the only African American First Lady to set foot in the White House, I was 'other' almost by default. If there was a presumed grace assigned to my white predecessors, I knew it wasn’t likely to be the same for me. I’d learned through the campaign stumbles that I had to be better, faster, smarter, and stronger than ever.”

“I had influence in the form of being something of a curiosity- a black First Lady, a professional woman, a mother of young kids. People seemed to want to dial into my clothes, my shoes, and my hairstyles, but they also had to see me in the context of where I was and why. I was learning how to connect my message to my image, and in this way I could direct the American gaze. I could put on an interesting outfit, crack a joke, and talk about sodium content in kids’ meal without being totally boring.”

“It was a revelation. All of it was a revelation. With my soft power, I was finding I could be strong.”

“If you don’t get out there and define yourself, you’ll be quickly and inaccurately defined by other."

“We were all so used to sacrificing for our kids, our spouses, and our work. I had learned through my years of trying to find balance in my life that it was okay to flip those priorities and care only for ourselves once in a while.”

Read more: Michelle Obama says 'Becoming' is not about arriving somewhere but evolving 

Being there for others

“Let’s invite one another in. Maybe then we can begin to fearless, to make fewer wrong assumptions, to let go of the biases and stereotypes that unnecessarily divide us. Maybe we can better embrace the ways we are the same.”

On girls being visible

“I knew from my own life experience that when someone shows genuine interest in your learning and development, even if only for a few minutes in a busy day, it matters. It matters especially for women, for minorities, for anyone society is quick to overlook.”

“They’d need to fight the invisibility that comes with being poor, female and of colour. They’d have to work to find their voices and not be diminished, to keep themselves from getting beaten down. They would have to work just to learn.”

I am 'becoming'


“I have become, by certain measures, a person of power, and yet there are moments still when I feel insecure or unheard.”

Which quote is your favourite? How does it reflect your life or challenges? Do tell us in the comments section below.