Here are the best collection of Maya Angelou quotes and sayings. Maya Angelou was an American author, poet, and civil rights activist who has been called “America’s most visible black woman autobiographer.”
She is best known for her series of seven autobiographies, which focus on her childhood and early adult experiences. In addition to her writing, Angelou was a singer, dancer, actress, and director.
Despite being born into a difficult family situation, Maya Angelou rose to become one of the most renowned voices in the world. Here are some of her most inspiring quotes about success, love & life:
Maya Angelou Quotes
I do my best because I’m counting on you counting on me. – Maya Angelou
Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better. – Maya Angelou
If you are always trying to be normal you will never know how amazing you can be. – Maya Angelou
Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud. – Maya Angelou
We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated. – Maya Angelou
Nothing will work unless you do. – Maya Angelou
You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them. – Maya Angelou
I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. – Maya Angelou
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You can’t really know where you are going until you know where you have been. – Maya Angelou
I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver. – Maya Angelou
We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty. – Maya Angelou
I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. – Maya Angelou
Develop enough courage so that you can stand up for yourself and then stand up for somebody else. – Maya Angelou
You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. – Maya Angelou
Only equals can become friends. – Maya Angelou
My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry; to get my work done and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return. – Maya Angelou
If I am not good to myself, how can I expect anyone else to be good to me? – Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou Quotes About Love
Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.
If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded.
I think a hero is any person really intent on making this a better place for all people.
Love can be used for anything you can explain, any good thing that you can explain.
The desire to reach for the stars is ambitious. The desire to reach hearts is wise.
We are here to love each other. That is why you are alive. That is what life is for.
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Loving someone liberates the lover as well as the beloved. And that kind of love comes with age.
If we lose love and self-respect for each other, this is how we finally die.
If you have only one smile in you give it to the people you love.
Love is like a virus. It can happen to anybody at any time.
In the flush of love’s light, we dare be brave. And suddenly we see that love costs all we are, and will ever be. Yet it is only love which sets us free.
Whatever you want to do, if you want to be great at it, you have to love it and be able to make sacrifices for it.
I encourage courtesy. To accept nothing less than courtesy, and to give nothing less than courtesy.
You can’t forgive without loving. And I don’t mean sentimentality. I don’t mean much. I mean having enough courage to stand up and say, ‘I forgive. I’m finished with it.
I know for sure that loves saves me and that it is here to save us all.
The love of the family, the love of one person can heal. It heals the scars left by a larger society. A massive, powerful society.
Maya Angelou Quotes About Trust
Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.
If one has courage, nothing can dim the light which shines from within.
I do not trust people who don’t love themselves and yet tell me, ‘I love you.’ There is an African saying which is: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.
Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.
A wise woman wishes to be no one’s enemy; a wise woman refuses to be anyone’s victim.
If you’re always trying to be normal you will never know how amazing you can be.
We need much less than we think we need.
Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.
Seek patience and passion in equal amounts. Patience alone will not build the temple. Passion alone will destroy its walls.
There’s a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure the truth.
Remember, people will judge you by your actions, not your intentions. You may have a heart of gold but so does a hard-boiled egg.
Believe people when they tell you who they are. They know themselves better than you.
There’s a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure the truth.
To those who have given up on love: I say, “Trust life a little bit”.
The sadness of the women’s movement is that they don’t allow the necessity of love. See, I don’t personally trust any revolution where love is not allowed.
I had to trust life since I was young enough to believe that life loved the person who dared to live it.
What I really would like said about me is that I dared to love. By love, I mean that condition in the human spirit so profound it encourages us to develop courage and build bridges, and then to trust those bridges and cross the bridges in attempts to reach other human beings.
Maya Angelou Quotes About Life
I work very hard, and I play very hard. I’m grateful for life. And I live it – I believe life loves the liver of it. I live it.
Life loves the liver of it.
I make writing as much a part of my life as I do eating or listening to music.
Live as though life was created for you.
I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.
Life loves to be taken by the lapel and told: ‘I’m with you kid. Let’s go. – Maya Angelou Quotes
I am grateful to be a woman. I must have done something great in another life.
There is a very fine line between loving life and being greedy for it.
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.
The woman who truly intends to live a good life is already living phenomenally since intent is part of the achievement.
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My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.
I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.
Love life. Engage in it. Give it all you’ve got. Love it with a passion because life truly does give back, many times over, what you put into it.
My life has been one great big joke, a dance that’s walked, a song that speaks, I laugh so hard I almost choke when I think about myself.
If you want what you’re saying heard, then take your time and say it so that the listener will actually hear it. You might save somebody’s life. Your own, first.
All my work, my life, everything I do is about survival, not just bare, awful, plodding survival, but survival with grace and faith. While one may encounter many defeats, one must not be defeated.
Funny Maya Angelou Quotes
Grace is like a lake of drinkable water right outside your door. But you stay inside and die of thirst.
Everything in the universe has a rhythm, everything dances.
I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t laugh.
Everyone has at least one story, and each of us is funny if we admit it. You have to admit you’re the funniest person you’ve ever heard of.
Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.
Nothing succeeds like success. Get a little success, and then just get a little more.
A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.
I respect myself and insist upon it from everybody. And because I do it, I then respect everybody, too.
Since time is the one immaterial object which we cannot influence, neither speed up nor slow down, add to nor diminish, it is an imponderably valuable gift.
There’s something that impels us to show our inner souls. The more courageous we are, the more we succeed in explaining what we know.
Inspiring Maya Angelou Quotes
When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.
Forgive yourself for not knowing what you didn’t know before you learned it.
I believe that every person is born with talent.
All great artists draw from the same resource: the human heart, which tells us that we are all more alike than we are unalike.
I did then what I knew best, when I knew better, I did better.
Read More: Deep Thought Quotes
Faith is the evidence of the unseen.
I hope you always find a reason to smile.
Let nothing dim the light that shines from within.
I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one.
You can’t get too high for somebody to bring you down.
My mother said I must always be intolerant of ignorance but understanding of illiteracy.
A leader sees greatness in other people. He nor she can be much of a leader if all she sees is herself.
In all my work what I try to say is that as human beings we are more alike than we are unalike.
No human being can be more human than another human being. I liberate you from my ignorance.
Maya Angelou Quotes About Change
If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.
When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.
I can be changed by what happens to me, but I refuse to be reduced by it.
Life is pure adventure, and the sooner we realize that the quicker we will be able to treat life as art.
You alone are enough, You have nothing to prove to anybody.
My life has been long, and believing that life loves the liver of it, I have dared to try many things, sometimes trembling, but daring still.
The need for change bulldozed a road down the center of my mind.
There are those who say that poets should use her and his art to change the world. I’d agree with that, but I think everybody should do that. I think the chef and the baker and the candlestick maker – I think everybody should be hoping to make it a better world.
Make every effort to change things you do not like. If you cannot make a change, change the way you have been thinking. You might find a new solution.
I’m convinced of this: Good done anywhere is good done everywhere. For a change, start by speaking to people rather than walking by them like they’re stones that don’t matter. As long as you’re breathing, it’s never too late to do some good.
We cannot change the past, but we can change our attitude toward it. Uproot guilt and plant forgiveness. Tear out arrogance and seed humility. Exchange love for hate – thereby, making the present comfortable and the future promising.
The country didn’t get that way in a week; we’ve had years and years of getting behind in our economy. So President Obama stepped into a hellhole and people wanted him to change it as soon as he came in. But he’s got his adversaries to deal with in the House and Senate, so it’s not easy.
We can be better, we can be wiser, we can be more kind. Yes we have to change. We have to grow up and stop acting like 10 years old. Yes there is much to do, much to see, much to go into.
We write for the same reason that we walk, talk, climb mountains or swim the oceans – because we can. We have some impulse within us that makes us want to explain ourselves to other human beings. That’s why we paint, that’s why we dare to love someone – because we have the impulse to explain who we are.
Motivational Maya Angelou About Success
Success is loving life and daring to live it.
Courage – you develop courage by doing small things like just as if you wouldn’t want to pick up a 100-pound weight without preparing yourself.
If I’m here, I’ll be trying to be a better human being, a better writer, a better friend and a better beloved.
I had given up some youth for knowledge, but my gain was more valuable than the loss.
The quality of strength lined with tenderness is an unbeatable combination, as are intelligence and necessity when unblunted by formal education.
If you’re going to live, leave a legacy. Make a mark on the world that can’t be erased.
Everybody born comes from the Creator trailing wisps of glory. We come from the Creator with creativity. I think that each one of us is born with creativity.
The only way you can be a mark is if you want something for nothing. If you’re greedy, you’re set up.
I would like to be known as an intelligent woman, a courageous woman, a loving woman, a woman who teaches by being.
In order to win, we pay with energy and effort and discipline. If we lose, we pay in disappointment, discontent, and lack of fulfillment.
If I am going to do the most difficult and frightening thing – dying – is it possible that I could do some difficult and impossible things that are good?
Stand up straight and realize who you are, that you tower over your circumstances. You are a child of God. Stand up straight.
I’m grateful to intelligent people. That doesn’t mean educated. That doesn’t mean intellectual. I mean really intelligent. What black old people used to call ‘mother wit’ means intelligence that you had in your mother’s womb. That’s what you rely on. You know what’s right to do.
I think that each of us is so much alike, and yet at the same time we are so different, and I have a feeling that if you encountered difficulty, and I with my age encountered the same difficulty, I would respond one way, and you would respond another. Neither would be right or wrong. It’s just that each of us is courageous, and that’s what I encourage, courage, and the courage to see, and the courage to say to oneself what one has seen. Don’t be in denial.
Maya Angelou Quotes About Happiness
I’m happy…I laugh as much as I can and cry when I have to, without apology. I think that’s happy.
Be present in all things and thankful for all things.
Stormy or sunny days, glorious or lonely nights, I maintain an attitude of gratitude.
I am grateful to have been loved and to be loved now and to be able to love.
Every day I awaken I am grateful. My intent is to be totally present in that day. And laugh as much as possible.
I swear to God, I rather you have a good mind than a cute behind.
This a wonderful day. I’ve never seen this one before.
On this platform of peace, we can create a language to translate ourselves to ourselves and to each other.
Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good.
I looked up the way I was going and back the way I come and since I wasn’t satisfied I stepped off and found a new path.
There is nothing a person can’t do, and there should be nothing a human being didn’t care about. It was the most positive encouragement I could have hoped for.
I wish we could stop the little lies, I don’t mean that one has to be brutally frank, I don’t believe that we should be brutal about anything, however, it is wonderfully liberating, to be honest. One does not have to tell all that one knows, but we should be careful what we say is the truth.
The ship of my life may or may not be sailing on calm and amiable seas. The challenging days of my existence may or may not be bright and promising. Stormy or sunny days, glorious or lonely nights, I maintain an attitude of gratitude. If I insist on being pessimistic, there is always tomorrow. Today I am blessed.
Happiness is a chance to talk to a friend, to hear good music, to have a good glass of wine, Happiness is a chance to be myself and to find people with whom I agree or who I don’t agree but I can learn something.
Joy is freedom. It helps a person to find his or her own liberation. The person who is joyous takes responsibility for the time he or she takes up and the space that he or she occupies. You share it! Some of you have it … you share it! That is what joy is! When you continue to give it away you will still have so much more of it.