Elizabeth Wellington | (TNS) The Philadelphia Investigator
On the outside, Michelle Obama has it all – perfect hair, fantastic clothes, a megawatt smile, lucrative book deals, handsome kids, and a thoughtful husband.
But sometimes she feels confused, scared and uncertain about her future. A global pandemic, a nation riven by racial inequality, a riot in the Capitol, and the looming end of women’s reproductive rights are throwing even the former First Lady off balance.
In her second book, The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times, Obama shares techniques for overcoming periods of anxiety.
I find Obama’s self-help messages particularly relatable because our backgrounds are so similar. We both grew up with parents and grandparents who experienced racism but still pushed their children to excel. She talks to women who try to please our families, fit in at work, and yes, are obsessive list-makers. She gives perspective to those who fear failure or worry that staying true to who you are — like wearing pigtails in the White House — might be risky, our jobs, our relationships, and the respect we hold so dear have worked hard.
In “The Light We Carry,” Obama shares ideas on how to quell what makes our stomachs turn and how to move forward. She’s like a big sister whispering in my ear, “You’re enough.” And I believe her.
Here are a few gems I took from The Light We Carry.
Claim small victories
During the pandemic, Obama learned to knit. She felt fulfilled with every hat, scarf and pair of socks she completed. Her mind settled and her confidence grew. “I understand that sometimes the big things are easier to handle when you intentionally put something small next to them,” Obama wrote.
Practice to overcome fear
If you’re not prepared, “your anxious mind tries to grab the wheel and change course,” Obama writes. Obama suggests making time for work so you have well-developed skills to fall back on when it’s time to shine. Being prepared, she writes, means overcoming those fears. “The more you practice, the better you get at it. Every jump I took just made the next jump easier.”
I feel jittery and gross when I’ve spent too many days on appointments without taking the time to walk, load the dishwasher, or go swimming. “I’ve learned to recognize and appreciate balance,” writes Obama, “notice the moments when I feel most stable, focused, and clear-headed, and think analytically about what helped me get to that place.” .”
Express your needs
If we don’t express our hopes and dreams, we are cheating ourselves to get what we need and want—whether it’s starting a business or starting a family. “It’s about learning to protect your flame without hiding its light,” Obama writes. “The challenge of living great life is finding ways to protect your dreams and drive, stay tough without being overly cautious, stay agile and open to growth, and allow others to do it for you to see how you are.”
Always go up
When Obama delivered her famous “When they go low, we go high” speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, she was weary after nearly eight years of seeing her husband’s work undermined and his character vilified. But instead of engaging in silly rebellions with her opponents, she ignored the drama. “Going high,” she writes, “means resisting the temptation to engage in shallow anger and caustic contempt rather than figuring out how to respond in a clear voice to whatever is shallow and caustic around you.” She said , it is an obligation to show your children, your friends and your community what it is like to live and work with dignity.
So should you always aim high?
“Yes,” writes Obama, “always yes.”
https://www.ocregister.com/2022/12/02/michelle-obama-shares-ways-to-get-through-uncertainty-in-the-light-we-carry/ Michelle Obama shares how to overcome uncertainty in The Light We Carry – Orange County Register