Today, Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama turns 55 years old. The former FLOTUS released her memoir Becoming late last year and has broke records like she’s the Beyoncé of FLOTUS. To celebrate her birthday, we share some of her best quotes on friendship, failure, love and achievements.
“Failure is a feeling long before it becomes an actual result. It’s vulnerability that breeds with self-doubt and then is escalated, often deliberately, by fear.”
"The world is dangerous, sadly, for women. I want us to just kinda sit with that for a minute, because it’s usually men who make it dangerous for us. And it doesn’t always look like physical abuse. It doesn’t always look the same. It’s those little cuts. Those little negative comments. It’s somebody, when you’re walking down the street and some man looks at you and makes a comment about you, as if you wanted…that’s a cut. That’s a slice into a woman’s self-esteem, when somebody talks down to them. If you talk down to women at all, and a woman is in earshot of what you’re saying, that’s a cut to her. And then the cuts get deeper, because there’s abuse and there’s rape. There’s sexual assault. There’s all this that we’re hearing. The world is unsafe for women, and I want our men to understand that about what role they’re playing to make us feel safe or unsafe. But I grew up in safety and security. I grew up where I trusted men to take care of me. And I think that that gave me a level of strength that carries me through to this day."
"Sometimes we can’t do this alone, and we shouldn’t have to. I relied on my girlfriends to get me through one of the hardest eight years of my life. ... We have to remember to be that for each other. We have to be each other’s light. We cannot get into that catty stuff. We have to find a way to continue to lift other women up in our worlds and in our lives as much as possible, you all. It is the only reason why I’m breathing. I couldn’t have gotten through raising my kids with a husband traveling without my girls."
“Thinking of changing your workplace, changing the way the world thinks, that’s big and it gets daunting and then you shrink from that..So start with what you can control. And that’s you first.”
“Falling in love all over the place. I fell hard and fast and deep and quick, but we still didn’t marry until we got to know each other. So by the end of that summer, Barack had told me that he loved me. Brothas, another thing, do not play games! He wasn’t playing games. That was another thing! He was like, ‘I love you, let’s figure this out.’ It wasn’t like, ‘Well, I’m trying to do these kind of things.’ Trust me, I had plenty of that, people just trying to keep their options open. I was sick of that. Barack was like, ‘Nope, this is who I am, this is what I think we want. Let’s give it a shot.’ He was clear, gentlemen. He. Was. Clear.”
“High bar, ladies. High bar. Keep your bar high,” she said. “Because it’s hard enough with a high bar, it’s hard. So you don’t want to start making huge, huge compromises in who you are and how you want a man or a partner to show up in your life. And I think it helped that I wasn’t looking. That I wasn’t thirsty. That I was pushing him off a little bit and he had to work a bit.”
“Failure is an important part of your growth and developing resilience. Don’t be afraid to fail.”
“Every girl, no matter where she lives, deserves the opportunity to develop the promise inside of her.”
“If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s the power of using your voice. I tried my best to speak the truth and shed light on the stories of people who are often brushed aside.”
“Walk away from friendships that make you feel small and insecure, and seek out people who inspire you and support you.”
“You should never view your challenges as a disadvantage. Instead, it’s important for you to understand that your experience facing and overcoming adversity is actually one of your biggest advantages.”
“You have to fill your bucket with positive energy—and if you have people hanging around you that are bringing you down and not lifting you up, whether that’s your ‘boo’ or your best friend—you have to learn how to push these people to the side.”
“You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world’s problems at once. But, don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious, and hope can take on a life of its own."
“We have to find a way to continue to lift other women up in our worlds and in our lives as much as possible.”