From Oprah to Michelle: Overcoming Adversity as a Black Woman

Published On June 7, 2012

“African women in general need to know that it’s OK for them to be the way they are – to see the way they are as a strength, and to be liberated from fear and from silence.” – Wangari Maathai

Some say that Black women are born with two strikes: gender and race.  Others take it even further with homosexuality, citing it as the third factor to guarantee life on eggshells.  But why would you allow anyone to dictate your own fate?  Even if they look like you.

In society, some of the harshest criticism and discouragement we receive come from those we love and respect the most.  While many feel like they have the comfort to speak their mind, often times they are unaware of their insensitivity to the issue because of their relationship.

And while advice from everyone of all backgrounds and ethnicities can put in some great words of encouragement as well, ultimately, your life is up to you. Who and what you allow to affect your happiness, will and drive for success is based on your determination. We all feel it, but those who overcome it have risen beyond their own dreams.

The best advice you can ever receive will always come from you.  Your instincts.  Learning to understand what you want, the next step is in finding out how to get it.  Realistically, these so-called “strikes” will come up several times in your journey.  But they will only stop you if you allow them to take out your dreams.  Dream while living. You need to make moves to grab what you want.

Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama have warmed up to each other, I’m sure, for far more factors than being two successful black women.  But undoubtedly, it’s also one of the central points of connection.  Below are two videos to demonstrate why.  With two very different instances in overcoming criticism and discouragement, the First Lady explains how she overcame, while Winfrey demonstrates a very personal battle she survived, one of the most jaw-dropping videos known to date.

First Lady Michelle Obama on growing up and the will to prosper.

Oprah attacked by her audience and a special guest

Michelle O’s advice trickled down to learning to love yourself. If you know who you are, no one can convince you that you’re otherwise.

Oprah proved this same thing through a much more tumultuous scenario. Not once did she lose composure, nor did she lash back out. Winfrey was able to stand strong and hold her ground throughout the show, demonstrating esteem and security within and of herself.

The most valuable lesson you’ll ever learn in life is about who you are, what you want, and the means of which you’ll go to get them… as well as the means in which you won’t.

“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

– Paulo Coelho

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