Discover more from happy in a nutshell
by Michelle Obama
Following Black History Month (Feb) and International Women’s Day (Mar 8), and in a world that is currently in dire need of inclusion and peace, I chose for this week “Becoming”, the book of Michelle Obama, American lawyer, author, and first African American woman to serve as First Lady of the United States.
What genre? autobiography, personal growth, leadership & inclusion
Why read? in an authentic and honest voice, Michelle Obama’s memoir full of meaning and accomplishment, invites us to learn about the events that have shaped her (from childhood to motherhood and to the White House), while inspiring us and advocating for a more inclusive, tolerant and courageous world
3 concepts that inspired me:
Even in difficult moments, try to write down potential happy hypotheses on what is taking place.1 No matter what is happening to us and around us, we can take further charge of our happiness by pushing ourselves to think of potential happy hypotheses. Optimism is an antidote to fear: reminding ourselves of the larger pictures and imagining “what else” could be true can make a real difference. Even if we do not fully believe in these happy hypotheses, merely thinking about them helps our brain to automatically start collecting evidence for them…and we might be astonished at what we may find.
Letting go of needing people’s approval can only help you become a better version of yourself. The issue with needing to please others is the risk of staying on the established path to be impressive to them in however way they define “achievements” or “good life choices”. When we care less about what people think, we can speak our mind more freely, take bigger risks, listen more clearly to our inner voice and guidance, and simply evolve in a truer and better version of ourselves.
Identify your “believers” in your life, appreciate them, and then pay it forward. Michelle Obama says that the important parts of her story were less in the surface value of her accomplishments and more in the many ways she felt supported and empowered throughout the years, with all the people who helped her build her confidence. She encourages us to identify our “own personal gospel choir”, to show them gratitude, and then to pay it forward. Even showing a few minutes of interest in others can make a whole lot of a difference for them and help “boost” them.2 Giving back and being generous to others have the extra benefit of making us happier as well.
2 excerpts I enjoyed reading:
On the beauty of continuous growth and possibilities:
“For me, becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim. I see it instead as forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to reach continuously toward a better self. The journey doesn’t end. I became a mother but I still have a lot to learn from and give to my children. I became a wife, but I continue to adapt to and be humbled by what it means to truly love and make a life with another person. I have become, by certain measures, a person of power, and yet there are moments still when I feel insecure or unheard. It’s all the process, steps along a path. Becoming requires equal parts patience and rigor. Becoming is never giving up on the idea that there’s more growing to be done.”
On showing up with courage and inclusivity:
“Let’s invite one another in. Maybe then we can begin to fear less, to make fewer wrong assumptions, to let go of the biases and stereotypes that unnecessarily divide us. Maybe we can better embrace the ways we are the same. It’s not about being perfect. It’s not about where you get yourself in the end. There’s power in allowing yourself to be known and heard, in owning your unique story, in using your authentic voice. And there is grace in being willing to know and hear others. This, for me, is how we become.”
1 question I’m asking myself:
With gratitude to all my “believers”, what is one small way I can pay it forward this week and boost someone who may benefit from it?
With love, Vanessa