In a conversation with Oprah Winfrey at the United State of Women Summit, a gathering focused on issues of gender equality, the First Lady spoke with Oprah on a variety of issues. They covered topics like: being a working mom, professional bravery, and life in the public eye. What really stuck with us though, was Michelle Obama’s advice for dealing with haters. Oprah asked, “How do you handle the haters, particularly in this office, where haters have to be handled politically correctly and with discretion?”
The First Lady then gave such a powerful response, we are incorporating her words into our every day from here on out. First she touched on social media saying, “There are just times you have to give yourself space to be quiet, which means you’ve got to set those phones down.” She went on to say, “I learned that early in the campaign. I couldn’t keep reading stuff about my husband and what people thought and — because I knew who he was. I knew what was going on in our home, in our lives. So I didn’t need to read about it from somebody else.” Amen.
Then she went on to discuss haters IRL, and while her answer is a bit long, every single word is so crucial and so real.
“People won’t remember what other people say about you, but they will remember what you do,” she said. “So my strategy — and I’ve always been like this. When a teacher would come and tell me that I couldn’t do something, I would get so much satisfaction proving them wrong. I’d be like, okay, all right, oh, you don’t think I’m going to do X, Y and Z, well I’m going to be the best X, Y, Z you can imagine.
So when it came to this role, I just said, you know, let me just be First Lady. Let me wake up every day and work hard to do something of value, and to do it well, and to do something consequential, and to do something that I care about. And then let that speak for itself. And that would shut up the haters, because I would have a whole portfolio of stuff that defined me because it’s what I did, not what you called me. So the best revenge is success and good work. You don’t have to say anything to the haters. You don’t have to acknowledge them at all. You just wake up every morning and be the best you you can be. And that tends to shut them up.”
We absolutely love this advice and she is 100% right. As the ever-wise Beyoncé says, “best revenge is your paper.” Which is basically the same advice FLOTUS is giving when she says, “the best revenge is success and good work.”
We are here for that message and we are taking that advice.