Michelle Obama's Most Poignant Quotes (With Commentary)

Updated on February 1, 2020
Rachelle Williams profile image

I'm a liberal democrat, not a professional journalist. I write to inform like-minded people, not to change anyone's views.

Former first lady Michelle Obama is as eloquent as she is intelligent. The following are some of my favorite quotes from her books and speeches.
Former first lady Michelle Obama is as eloquent as she is intelligent. The following are some of my favorite quotes from her books and speeches. | Source

Many of us sorely miss the days when Michelle Obama was the First Lady of the United States (FLOTUS). She exudes style, class, and humor, and she is definitely one smart lady. Every now and then, Michelle drops little pearls of wisdom on us in the form of quotes. The following quotes are some of Michelle Obama's most memorable and poignant.

You cannot make decisions based on the possibility of what might happen.

— Michelle Obama

This one resonates with me because I am the type of person to come up with a workable idea then sit down and ponder all of the reasons something negative might happen if I go through with it. Oftentimes, I end up scrapping the idea altogether. This quote helps me remind myself that it's important to move out of my comfort zone if I want to accomplish something new. Does this one resonate with you as well?

It's hard to put into words what sometimes you pick up in the ether, the quiet, cruel nuances of not belonging . . . the subtle cues that tell you to not risk anything, to find your people and just stay put.

— Michelle Obama

This one is from Michelle's book, Becoming. The first time I read this quote (or, more accurately, heard it—I have it on audiobook format from Audible), I was immediately impressed. How often is it easier for people to just stay where they are with their own kind and simply settle down and get comfortable?

Change is a difficult thing for a lot of people, particularly when the life they are trying to alter involves people and situations they love and are well familiar with. Rather than disturbing the waters and making a change, even if it is a positive change, it's sometimes less complicated to stay in the same rut. How many times in your life have you not taken the chance to do something you really wanted to do because you felt like it was something a person like you shouldn't do?

The one way to get me to work my hardest was to doubt me.

— Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama spoke these words to young girls at an International Day of the Girl celebration. She encouraged the young women in attendance to push themselves hard at school and turn negative feedback into motivation. She went on to describe how she has had to fight negative stereotypes all of her life and how being a good student gave her the confidence necessary to stay strong in the face of adversity.

This one really resonates with me because I'm in a situation where I will soon have to prove my worth to myself and to people who constantly doubt me. I vow to heed Michelle's words and push myself to finally get the results I'm after. What are some of the things that make you work your hardest?

The difference between a broken community and a thriving one is the presence of women who are valued.

— Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama made this statement at the State Department's Women of Courage Awards ceremony in 2009. Ask yourself how can a community thrive if mothers, wives, sisters, and aunts are devalued? It stands to reason that a strong community can only exist if the women in it have equal access to education and opportunity and are encouraged to be all they can be.

In a family unit, more often than not, the women are the emotional backbone. When those women are not feeling their best or are in a poorly functioning state, the family unit usually starts to feel the negative effects. When you substitute the family unit for the entire community, the same negative effects are felt on a larger scale. It makes sense that a community cannot thrive if all of its members are not treated well—especially those charged with the tasks of being mothers and wives.

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.

— Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama said these words to the youth of America in her final speech as First Lady of the United States in 2017. Clearly, she strongly believes in the power of education and has hope that this country's youth will work hard to build a better future.

I hope that others will find strength and courage in these Michelle Obama quotes. I know I have, and I look forward to the many more great things still to come from this beautiful and amazing woman.

Michelle Obama's words have inspired many, myself included. I hope you find strength in them as well.
Michelle Obama's words have inspired many, myself included. I hope you find strength in them as well.

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    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      4 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      I love the pictures and the quotes. She was and still is such a source of empowerment!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      4 weeks ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I like the quotes that you've shared very much. Based on the news that I hear in Canada, I admire a lot of things about Michelle Obama. Thanks for sharing her ideas.

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