There are an infinite number of ways to describe Michelle Obama-first lady, lawyer, activist, author, motivator, mother, wife, bicep goals-yet, all of them still seem to fall short of her true prowess. Even after leaving her position of first lady, which she held for eight glorious years, the 54-year-old wonder woman’s impact is still largely felt across the globe.
While living and serving in the nation’s highest office, she managed to lead beside her president of a partner (rather than behind him), was very vocal about issues that centered girls and women, prioritized healthy living, all while managing to find time to hang out with Beyonce and school Ellen Degeneres in several rounds of pushups. It’s safe to say, there has never been a first lady quite like Michelle.
On top of being a very visible figure in the public eye, Michelle is also revered for her voice. When she speaks, we listen. Some of the most powerful Michelle Obama quotes, one being “when they go low, we go high” spoken at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, still ring in my ears whenever I am in a difficult situation. So...I got to thinking. Wouldn’t it be great if there was an easily accessible archive encompassing all of the best Michelle Obama quotes? Certainly, there is no shortage of them, so why not make it easy to share these moments of encouragement, advice, and clarity with other people in your life.
In celebration of Michelle’s contributions to girl power, as well as her brand new New York Times’ Bestselling memoir, Becoming, we curated the ultimate list of Michelle Obama-coined phrases to take you through this new day, week, month, or however long you need. Keep reading and let us know which ones are your favorite!
15 Michelle Obama quotes about failure, life lessons, relationships, and self-care.
“The arts are not just a nice thing to have or to do if there is free time or if one can afford it. Rather, paintings and poetry, music and fashion, design and dialogue, they all define who we are as a people and provide an account of our history for the next generation.”
"Whether you come from a council estate or a country estate, your success will be determined by your own confidence and fortitude."
"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."
“Failure is an important part of your growth and developing resilience. Don’t be afraid to fail.”
“Instead of letting your hardships and failures discourage or exhaust you, let them inspire you. Let them make you even hungrier to succeed.”
“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 you choose. It’s with the people you surround yourself with.”
“Walk away from friendships that make you feel small and insecure, and seek out people who inspire you and support you.”
“We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own ‘to-do’ list.”
"I want our young people to know that they matter, that they belong. So don't be afraid. You hear me, young people? Don't be afraid. Be focused. Be determined. Be hopeful. Be empowered. Empower yourself with a good education. Then get out there and use that education to build a country worthy of your boundless promise. Lead by example with hope; never fear."
“It is our fundamental belief in the power of hope that has allowed us to rise above the voices of doubt and division, of anger and fear that we have faced in our own lives and in the life of this country. Our hope that if we work hard enough and believe in ourselves, then we can be whatever we dream, regardless of the limitations that others may place on us.”
“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.”
"Every day, you have the power to choose our better history — by opening your hearts and minds, by speaking up for what you know is right."
"Success is only meaningful and enjoyable if it feels like your own."
"Don't ever make decisions based on fear. Make decisions based on hope and possibility. Make decisions based on what should happen, not what shouldn't."
“You can’t make decisions based on fear and the possibility of what might happen.”