Michelle Obama’s “Becoming” is on my reading list so I am delighted to share a review of it from Bijal Shah. Bijal is a book therapist, author, poet & founder of Book Therapy where she harnesses the power of literature for therapeutic purposes.
“With February being Black History Month, there’s no better book that I can think of to recommend. This is the book that I have already gifted more than 25 copies of and as a book therapist, have prescribed to every single one of my clients this year.
Yes, it’s Michelle Obama’s “Becoming”. The book has influenced me hugely. It has given me so much hope and inspiration and I’m not the only one. I have been in bookstores, accidentally eavesdropping on conversations and this has been the most-talked about book with everyone trying to get their hands on it.
On the surface, Obama seems to have it all: the picture-perfect marriage, family, career, ambition, confidence – was she born with it? No. If there was one thing that got her to this stage, it was her attitude, her mind-set, her belief in herself and her single-minded focus to never concede her identity to simply be Barack Obama’s wife.
She refused to be his follower. She needed to anchor herself in her own identity, her own capabilities, her own ambitions and motivations to make a difference. This was tremendously important to her for her own self-esteem but also that of her daughters. The following quote from the book eloquently articulates it:
“I felt like, I need to anchor myself in who I was so I wouldn’t be this woman following this man. I really felt that I could get caught up in his swerving, that I would just become part of his swerve rather then figuring out my own self. So, yes, it was destabilizing but it was a motivator. … So that I didn’t just become his woman, which I knew I didn’t want to be.”
She inspires women to pursue their identities beyond that of a mother and a wife – to truly contribute to your family and society over and above simply being a mother. How did she do this when she had her own fair share of struggles – inability to conceive children naturally, the struggles of IVF, learning to release “mum-guilt”, seeking help by attending marriage counselling, hoping to get through the daily life struggles that every couple goes through.
The key things that stood out for me personally were:
• Never give up your identity in a relationship for the sake of your partner’s. This is a lose-lose outcome for both of you.
• Don’t expect your partner to create happiness for you. Happiness is a skill and you need to work at building it for yourself.
• Ask for help – and never feel guilty about this. No one can do it alone and ditch the “should”.
• We are all unfinished products and are constantly “Becoming”.
• Consider every single possible outcome when making a decision.
• Make time for your relationship – even if you’re deeply in love.
I listened to it on Audio and instantly felt a connection with her. It truly is an intimate portrait of a lady who has inspired millions around the world and I hope it will inspire you too. It’s been added to my A-Z Book Prescription for Women’s Empowerment Book Prescription. Enjoy!”
You can email Bijal at firstname.lastname@example.org for a personalized reading list.