A pair of glasses lying on a book on top of a bed

What I learnt from Michelle Obama’s autobiography

Being gifted Michelle Obama’s autobiography, titled Becoming, couldn’t have come at a better time for me personally.

I was feeling run down and demotivated halfway into the academic year, after promising myself that I would work twice as hard as I did last year and get the best grades I could.

In this wonderfully written book Michelle discusses, everything we have every questioned or wanted to know about the 44th first lady of the United States. Here are a few highlights I feel we could all relate and learn from her.  

Use your voice

The first section of the book Becoming Me, Michelle openly talks about the struggles of being poor and growing up black. As an underprivileged black girl, she was told that to get a better life, education would be the only route for that. She discusses the need to ‘hit the mark’ at every level and the feelings that come with having failed to do so. The idea of having to work twice as hard to get half of what her privileged peers have is one that resonates with many in minority groups. And the idea that, being not only a woman, but also being black comes with a lot of racism and sexism. She explores being underestimated and also being put in a box based on her upbringing; the idea that she couldn’t strive for better because no one else in her family had reached that point touched me especially, because there have been so many times when I have been made to feel small because of my very African name, accent or even appearance.  

Complete yourself

Whilst reading the book and piecing together the timeline, you can really tell that Michelle has and always will be quite confident in herself and her capabilities. She cherishes her own company and doesn’t seek validation from anyone. In her marriage the theme of both her and Barack having been complete people before dating is a message I think many young people need to have. No one person can complete you better than you. Be comfortable with your own company. You are your own best friend. And need to love yourself first.  

Change is good

Michelle has had a diverse job profile. After studying law and gaining two degrees from two Ivy-League schools, securing a well paid and well ranking position at a prestigious law firm; Michelle realised in her late twenties that it wasn’t something she wanted to do for the rest of her life. She battled with the worries of having switched careers at what she deemed a late stage in life. In the end, she advises us to always be open to change because no one ever really knows what they want to be when they grow up.  

Life isn’t fair

Yup, this is a statement we all know but never hear. Michelle is open about the obstacles that she has faced throughout her life. Failing the bar exam, losing a friend to cancer, having a miscarriage, the death of her father and so much more. These are all life changing events that most people can relate to, dealing with the clean-up of trauma can be messy and seemingly random, she discusses seeking counselling and how all these events led her to the division that life was short and its okay to not go by checklist you made X years ago.

“Failure is a feeling long before the outcome”– Michelle Obama

This read is worth the time and money its engaging, empowering and inspiring  

To read more about books that our content creators have been reading, check out this post from Kathryn.

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