As Barack Obama’s run as the first black president of the United States draws to an end, millions of black people around the world know it will be a long time before we see another person of colour ruling the free world. Together Barack and Michelle Obama made young girls and boys around the world believe that they too could live their dreams. They made us believe it was possible. They gave us hope.
Michelle Obama inspired us women to strive to do better. To empower ourselves through education. To take care of ourselves by leading healthy and balanced lifestyles. She was authentic and down to earth and taught us that we too can be ourselves.
Don’t ever let anyone make you feel like you don’t matter. — Michelle Obama
She broke the mould of what a US First Lady should be. One of things I learned from Mrs Obama was that its okay to be an intelligent woman in a high powered position and still love fashion. Being an intelligent woman who wants to look good does not make you frivolous and superficial. Own who you are and the world will have no choice but to accept it.
As we bid farewell to POTUS and FLOTUS, a couple who epitomise grace and humility, here are some of the most powerful quotes from Michelle Obama that resonated with me.
1. “People who are truly strong lift others up. People who are truly powerful bring others together.”
2. “Don’t be afraid. Be focused. Be determined. Be hopeful. Be empowered.”
3. “Empower yourselves with a good education, then get out there and use that education to build a country worthy of your boundless promise.”
4. “One of the lessons that I grew up with was to always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody else says distract you from your goals. And so when I hear about negative and false attacks, I really don’t invest any energy in them, because I know who I am.”
5. “You can’t make decisions based on fear and the possibility of what might happen.”
6. “Don’t ever let anyone make you feel like you don’t matter.”
7. “He’s always asking: ‘Is that new? I haven’t seen that before.’ It’s like, Why don’t you mind your own business? Solve world hunger. Get out of my closet.”
8. “Do not bring people in your life who weigh you down. And trust your instincts … good relationships feel good. They feel right. They don’t hurt. They’re not painful. That’s not just with somebody you want to marry, but it’s with the friends that you choose. It’s with the people you surround yourselves with.”
9. “I’ve seen first-hand that being president doesn’t change who you are. It reveals who you are.”
10. “When you are struggling, and you start thinking about giving up, I want you to remember something that my husband and I have talked about since we first started this journey nearly a decade ago — something that has carried us through every moment in this White House and every moment of our lives — and that is the power of hope. The belief that something better is always possible if you’re willing to work for it and fight for it.”
11. “Women in particular need to keep an eye on their physical and mental health, because if we’re scurrying to and from appointments and errands, we don’t have a lot of time to take care of ourselves. We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own ‘to do’ list.”
12. “How hard you work matters more than how much you make.”
13. “I am an example of what is possible when girls from the very beginning of their lives are loved and nurtured by people around them. I was surrounded by extraordinary women in my life who taught me about quiet strength and dignity.”
14. “Success is only meaningful and enjoyable if it feels like your own.”
15. “If my future were determined just by my performance on a standardised test, I wouldn’t be here. I guarantee you that.”