35 Of The Most Inspiring Michelle Obama Quotes

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Kate Krug


Kate is a 2011 Drake University grad, where she received her BA in magazine journalism. A hopeless romantic with a cynical heart, Kate will read anything that comes with a content warning, a love triangle, and a major plot twist. Twitter: @katekrug Blog:

Kate Krug


Kate is a 2011 Drake University grad, where she received her BA in magazine journalism. A hopeless romantic with a cynical heart, Kate will read anything that comes with a content warning, a love triangle, and a major plot twist. Twitter: @katekrug Blog:

Michelle Obama’s debut memoir, Becoming, quickly became the Bestselling Book of 2018 despite being released mid-November. But honestly, did we expect anything less? A lady of endless class and courage, Becoming is 400 pages of fridge magnet-worthy quotes. But that’s been the case since she entered the public realm a decade ago.  Here is a collection of the best Michelle Obama quotes over the years. Also check out this list of recommended reads if you enjoyed Becoming!

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Michelle Obama Quotes From Becoming

Becoming cover image“Now that I’m an adult, I realize that kids know at a very young age when they’re being devalued, when adults aren’t invested enough to help them learn. Their anger over it can manifest itself as unruliness. It’s hardly their fault. They aren’t ‘bad kids.’ They’re just trying to survive bad circumstances.”

“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.”

“I’ve been lucky enough now in my life to meet all sorts of extraordinary and accomplished people…Some (though not enough) of them are women. Some (though not enough) are black or of color. Some were born poor or have lived lives that to many of us would appear to have been unfairly heaped with adversity…What I’ve learned is this: All of them have had doubters. Some continue to have roaring, stadium-sized collections of critics and naysayers who will shout ‘I told you so’ at every little misstep or mistake. The noise doesn’t go away, but the most successful people I know have figured out how to live with it.”

“This may be the fundamental problem with caring a lot about what others think: It can put you on the established path—the my-isn’t-that-impressive path—and keep you there for a long time.”

“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.”

“Am I good enough? Yes I am.”

Michelle Obama Quotes From Various Speeches

“Whether you come from a council estate or a country estate, your success will be determined by your own confidence and fortitude.” —G20 Summit, 2009

“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.” —Campaign trail in Phoenix, 2008

“I have learned that as long as I hold fast to my beliefs and values—and follow my own moral compass—then the only expectations I need to live up to are my own.” —Tuskegee University commencement, 2015

“Walk away from friendships that make you feel small and insecure, and seek out people who inspire you and support you.”

“Success is only meaningful and enjoyable if it feels like your own.” —Oregon State University commencement address, 2012

“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.” —City College of New York commencement, 2016

“Instead of letting your hardships and failures discourage or exhaust you, let them inspire you. Let them make you even hungrier to succeed.” —King College Prep Commencement Address, 2015

“You may not always have a comfortable life. And you will not always be able to solve all the world’s problems at once. But don’t ever underestimate the impact you can have, because history has shown us that courage can be contagious, and hope can take on a life of its own.” —Young African Women Leaders Forum, 2011

“Success isn’t about how much money you make, it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.” —Democratic National Convention, 2012

“The one way to get me to work my hardest was to doubt me.” —International Girls Day, 2016

“Just try new things. Don’t be afraid. Step out of your comfort zones and soar.” —Howard University speech, 2016

“Failure is an important part of your growth and developing resilience. Don’t be afraid to fail.” —Speech at Apollo Theater, 2015

“Just do what works for you because there will always be someone who thinks differently.”

“Choose people who will lift you up. Find people who will make you better.” —ABC News interview, 2011

“Reach for partners that make you better. Do not bring people into your life who weigh you down. Good relationships feel good. They feel right. They don’t hurt.” —Address to Elizabeth Garrett Anderson students

“Let’s just be clear, you don’t want to be with a boy who’s too stupid to know and appreciate a smart young lady.” —Speech at Apollo Theater, 2015

“Young people, don’t be afraid. Be focused. Be determined. Be hopeful. Be empowered. Empower yourselves with a good education…then get out there and use that education to build a country worthy of your boundless promise.” —Final speech as First Lady, 2017

“Here in America we don’t let our differences tear us apart. Here in America we don’t give in to our fears. We don’t build walls to keep people out.” —City of College of New York commencement, 2016

“There are still many causes worth sacrificing for, so much history yet to be made.”  —Young African Women Leaders Forum, 2011

“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.” —Topeka School District Senior Recognition Day, 2014

“The difference between a broken community and a thriving one is the presence of women who are valued.” —State Department Women of Courage Awards, 2009

“You don’t have to be somebody different to be important. You are important in your own right.” —Let Girls Learn trip, 2016

“Every girl, no matter where she lives, deserve the opportunity to develop the promise inside of her.” —Let Girls Learn trip to London, 2015

“No country can ever truly flourish if it stifles the potential of its women and deprives itself of the contributions of half its citizens.” —Mandela Washington Fellowship address, 2014

“We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own ‘to do’ list.” —via Vogue magazine

“When it comes to mental health conditions, we often treat them differently from other diseases like cancer, diabetes or asthma. Whether an illness affects your heart, your leg or your brain, it’s still an illness, and there should be no distinction.” —Change Direction campaign speech, 2015

“It’s time to tell everyone who’s dealing with a mental health issue that they’re not alone, and that getting support and treatment isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength.” —Change Direction campaign speech, 2015

And, lastly, my personal fave:

“When someone is cruel or acts like a bully, you don’t stoop to their level. No, our motto is, when they go low, we go high.” —Democratic National Convention, 2016

Also, just for fun, let’s throw some (unintentional) shade:

“Being President doesn’t change who you are—it reveals who you are.” —Democratic National Convention, 2012