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Maya Angelou Quotes Celebrating Success, Love & Life

Beautiful poetry from a lovely soul, these Maya Angelou quotes will warm your heart!

Published on March 31, 2020 6:00 AM EST
maya angelou quotes

If you want a way to love life despite the challenges, these motivational Maya Angelou quotes are the perfect words for you.

Get inspired by these quotes by Maya Angelou to see the good in all things with this late legendary poet as your thoughtful guide.

maya angelou quotes

Maya Angelou (April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014) was a celebrated author, influential poet, dancer, actress, singer, and activist. Maya received over 50 honorary degrees and is celebrated for her series of 7 autobiographies, which focus on her childhood and adult experiences.

In 2010, she received one of the country’s highest honors when President Barack Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Maya Angelou’s life represented confidence, contribution, and perseverance. She left behind a lifetime of wisdom that will be cherished for many years to come.

Here are some of our favorite Maya Angelou quotes! Her words are a mix of straight talk and poetry and her messages transcend race and generations. You”ll find Maya Angelou quotes on life, love, happiness, courage, family, friendship, education and much more.  Enjoy!

Remember to also read our selection of quotes by Alan Watts that will open your mind.

Maya Angelou Quotes about Essential Life Truths

1. 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

Maya Angelou Quotes

2. If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.  – Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou Quotes

3. 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

Maya Angelou Quotes

Inspirational Maya Angelou Quotes About Hope

4. While I know myself as a creation of God, I am also obligated to realize and remember that everyone else and everything else are also God’s creation.  – Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou Quotes

5. Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.  – Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou Quotes

6. Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.  – Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou Quotes

Don’t forget to also read these black women quotes that will keep you motivated.

Uplifting Maya Angelou Quotes About Loving others

7. Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.  – Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou Quotes

8. If you have only one smile in you give it to the people you love.   – Maya Angelou

9. Nothing will work unless you do.  – Maya Angelou

Inspiring Maya Angelou Quotes About Success, Love and Life

10. You are the sum total of everything you’ve ever seen, heard, eaten, smelled, been told, forgot – it’s all there. Everything influences each of us, and because of that I try to make sure that my experiences are positive.  – Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou Quotes

11. We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.   – Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou Quotes

12. One isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.  – Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou Quotes

13. A wise woman wishes to be no one’s enemy; a wise woman refuses to be anyone’s victim.  – Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou Quotes

14. Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning.   – Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou Quotes

15. My life has been one great big joke, a dance that’s walked, a song that’s spoke, I laugh so hard I almost choke when I think about myself.  – Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou Quotes

Also read these classic Mary Oliver quotes that will give you a brand new perspective on life. 

Maya Angelou quotes about love and greatness

16. You can’t forgive without loving. And I don’t mean sentimentality. I don’t mean mush. I mean having enough courage to stand up and say, ‘I forgive. I’m finished with it.’  – Maya Angelou

17. All great achievements require time.  – Maya Angelou

18. History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.  – Maya Angelou

19. If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.  – Maya Angelou

20. 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.  – Maya Angelou

21. 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.  – Maya Angelou

22. It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody.  – Maya Angelou

23. 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.  – Maya Angelou

24. If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded.  – Maya Angelou

25. I learned a long time ago the wisest thing I can do is be on my own side, be an advocate for myself and others like me.  – Maya Angelou

26. Love is like a virus. It can happen to anybody at any time.  – Maya Angelou

27. I know that when I pray, something wonderful happens. Not just to the person or persons for whom I’m praying, but also something wonderful happens to me. I’m grateful that I’m heard.  – Maya Angelou

28. I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.  – Maya Angelou

29. We can learn to see each other and see ourselves in each other and recognize that human beings are more alike than we are unalike.  – Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou quotes about life, love, and success

30. 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.  – Maya Angelou

31. Life loves to be taken by the lapel and told: ‘I’m with you kid. Let’s go.’  – Maya Angelou

32. I believe that every person is born with talent.  – Maya Angelou

33. At 50, I began to know who I was. It was like waking up to myself.  – Maya Angelou

34. My greatest blessing has been the birth of my son. My next greatest blessing has been my ability to turn people into children of mine.  – Maya Angelou

35. I love the song ‘I Hope You Dance’ by Lee Ann Womack. I was going to write that song, but someone beat me to it.  – Maya Angelou

36. In all my work, I try to say, ‘You may be given a load of sour lemons, why not try to make a dozen lemon meringue pies?’   – Maya Angelou

37. I know for sure that loves saves me and that it is here to save us all.  – Maya Angelou

38. Loving someone liberates the lover as well as the beloved. And that kind of love comes with age.  – Maya Angelou

39. 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.  – Maya Angelou

40. 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.  – Maya Angelou

41. I wrote some of the worst poetry west from the Mississippi River, but I wrote. And I finally sometimes got it right.  – Maya Angelou

42. You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.   – Maya Angelou

43. 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.  – Maya Angelou

44. I believe that each of us comes from the Creator trailing wisps of glory.   – Maya Angelou

45. Nothing succeeds like success. Get a little success, and then just get a little more.  – Maya Angelou

46. A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.  – Maya Angelou

47. Don’t get older just to get wiser. If you get older, you will be wiser, I believe that – if you dare. But get older because it’s fun!   – Maya Angelou

You might also like these Barbara Bush quotes for understanding the complexities of life.

Quotes by Maya Angelou to inspire you

48. I respect myself and insist upon it from everybody. And because I do it, I then respect everybody, too.  – Maya Angelou

49. It is a no-fail, incontrovertible reality: If you get, give. If you learn, teach. You can’t do anything with that except do it.  – Maya Angelou

50. There’s something which impels us to show our inner souls. The more courageous we are, the more we succeed in explaining what we know.   – Maya Angelou

Inspiring Maya Angelou Quotes About Success, Love and Life

51. We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.  – Maya Angelou

52. Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.  – Maya Angelou

53. I am grateful to be a woman. I must have done something great in another life.  – Maya Angelou

54. Seek patience and passion in equal amounts. Patience alone will not build the temple. Passion alone will destroy its walls.  – Maya Angelou

55. I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.  – Maya Angelou

56. Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.  – Maya Angelou

57. I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn.  – Maya Angelou

58. 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. – Maya Angelou

59. When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time. – Maya Angelou

60. If you’re always trying to be normal you will never know how amazing you can be.  – Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou quotes that will expand your mind

61. “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.”― Maya Angelou

62. “I did then what I knew best, when I knew better, I did better.”― Maya Angelou

63. “Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future and renders the present inaccessible…We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.”― Maya Angelou

64. “Let nothing dim the light that shines from within.”― Maya Angelou

65. “I find relief from the questions only when I concede that I am not obliged to know everything. I remind myself it is sufficient to know what I know, and that what I know, may not always be true.”― Maya Angelou

66. “In all my work what I try to say is that as human beings we are more alike than we are unalike.”― Maya Angelou

67. “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.”― Maya Angelou

68. “I make writing as much a part of my life as I do eating or listening to music.”― Maya Angelou

69. “No human being can be more human than another human being. I liberate you from my ignorance.” ― Maya Angelou

70. “All great artists draw from the same resource: the human heart, which tells us all that we are more alike than we are unalike.”― Maya Angelou

71. “Faith is the evidence of the unseen.”― Maya Angelou

72. “All knowledge is spendable currency, depending on the market.”― Maya Angelou

73. “Forgive yourself for not knowing what you didn’t know before you learned it.”― Maya Angelou

74. “Take a day to heal from the lies you’ve told yourself and the ones that have been told to you.”― Maya Angelou

75. “I hope you always find a reason to smile.”― Maya Angelou

Thought-provoking Maya Angelou quotes

76. “You can’t get too high for somebody to bring you down.”― Maya Angelou

77. “This a a wonderful day. I’ve never seen this one before.”― Maya Angelou

78. “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.”― Maya Angelou

79. “Every day I awaken I am grateful. My intent is to be totally present in that day. And laugh as much as possible.”― Maya Angelou

80. “There is nothing quite so tragic as a young cynic, because it means the person has gone from knowing nothing to believing nothing.”― Maya Angelou

81. “I swear to God, I rather you have a good mind than a cute behind.”― Maya Angelou

82. “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do and liking how you do it.” ― Maya Angelou

83. “They may have forgotten how badly they treated you, or they may pretend that they have forgotten. But watch: They will come back to you.”― Maya Angelou

84. “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] me a new path.”― Maya Angelou

85. “The only way out of something is all the way through it.”― Maya Angelou

Insightful Maya Angelou quotes

86. “I had to trust life, since I was young enough to believe that life loved the person who dared to live it.”― Maya Angelou

87. “The woman who truly intends to live a good life is already living phenomenally since intent is part of the achievement.”― Maya Angelou

88. “I’m happy…I laugh as much as I can and cry when I have to, without apology. I think that’s happy.”― Maya Angelou

89. “Always be intolerant of ignorance but understanding of illiteracy.”― Maya Angelou

90. “On this platform of peace, we can create a language to translate ourselves to ourselves and to each other.”― Maya Angelou

91. “Believe people when they tell you who they are. They know themselves better than you.”― Maya Angelou

92. “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.” ― Maya Angelou

93. “The real difficulty is to overcome how you think about yourself.”― Maya Angelou

94. “Your reputation is the most important thing you’ll ever have. Not clothes, nor money, not the big cars you may drive. If your reputation is good, you can achieve anything you want in the world.”― Maya Angelou

95. “Although I had no regrets, I told myself sadly that growing up was not the painless process one would have thought it to be.”― Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou quotes to elevate your perspective

96. “I created myself. I have taught myself so much.” – Maya Angelou

97. “I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back.” – Maya Angelou

98. “I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels.” – Maya Angelou

99. “Human beings are like some plants. If we pause a few seconds in our journey, we begin setting down roots, tendrils that entangle other people as we ourselves are entangled.” ― Maya Angelou

100. “I am grateful to have been loved and to be loved now and to be able to love.” – Maya Angelou

101. “Do the best you can do till you know better. Then, when you know better, do better.” ― Maya Angelou

102. “It’s hard because people think they have something to lose and the truth is they have everything to gain in trying to love somebody.” – Maya Angelou

103. “I learned that to be charitable with gestures and words can bring enormous joy and repair injured feelings.” ― Maya Angelou

104. “I’m here, and I do my best to be completely centered at the place I’m at, then I go forward to the next place.” – Maya Angelou

105. “Peace means when there is conflict, use our common sense and our compassion to consider rest of humanity, our human brothers and sisters.”
Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou quotes that will make your day

106. “What is a fear of living? It’s being preeminently afraid of dying. It is not doing what you came here to do, out of timidity and spinelessness. The antidote is to take full responsibility for yourself – for the time you take up and the space you occupy. If you don’t know what you’re here to do, then just do some good.” – Maya Angelou

107. “We begin to stop in order simply to begin again.” ― Maya Angelou

108. “There is a very fine line between loving life and being greedy for it.”- Maya Angelou

109. “Take as much time as you need to make up your mind, but once it is made up, step out on your decision like it’s something you want.”― Maya Angelou

110. “If I am not good to myself, how can I expect anyone else to be good to me?” – Maya Angelou

111. “It’s hard to make the prettiest clothes fit a miserable man.” ― Maya Angelou

112. “I have respect for the past, but I’m a person of the moment.” – Maya Angelou

113. “We must insist that the men and women who expect to lead us recognize the true desires of those who are being led.”― Maya Angelou

114. “If you must look back, do so forgivingly. If you will look forward, do so prayerfully. But the wisest course would be to be present in the present gratefully.” – Maya Angelou

115. “In diversity there is beauty and there is strength.”― Maya Angelou

More Maya Angelou quotes to inspire you

116. “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.” ― Maya Angelou

117. “I think a hero is any person really intent on making this a better place for all people.” ― Maya Angelou

118. “Talent is like electricity. We don’t understand electricity. We use it.” ― Maya Angelou

119. “This is a wonderful day, I have never seen this one before.” ― Maya Angelou

120. “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” ― Maya Angelou

121. “Precious jewel, you glow, you shine, reflecting all the good things in the world. Just look at yourself.” ― Maya Angelou

122. “The need for change bulldozed a road down the center of my mind.” ― Maya Angelou

123. “I note the obvious differences between each sort and type,
but we are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.” ― Maya Angelou

124. “Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean.” ― Maya Angelou

125. “You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.” ― Maya Angelou

Did You Enjoy These Maya Angelou Quotes?

Though Maya Angelou died in 2014, her legacy still lives. She will always be remembered not only for her poetry and storytelling but also as an educator, civil activist, actress, and filmmaker.

Maya overcame sexual abuse, racism, poverty, violence and more to become an award-winning author and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Hopefully, these Maya Angelou quotes have inspired you to love the life you have and to overcome any obstacles that may come your way.

So, did you enjoy these Maya Angelou quotes? Tell us in the comment section below. If you have any other quotes from Maya Angelou to share with us, please don’t hesitate to mention it. Also, feel free to share the quotes with your friends and followers.

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7 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Kathy

    February 13, 2020 at 11:59 AM

    I’ve been looking for days to find a great reflection for a meeting. And here I’ve found so many that are powerful and truly inspirational! Thank you for this great compilation of loving wisdom from Maya Angelou:)

  2. Avatar

    PADDY CREAN

    December 21, 2019 at 8:42 AM

    I first read Maya in my 80s and I began life all over. The most remarkable person I have come across

  3. Avatar

    Bertha Chiroro

    April 24, 2019 at 7:32 AM

    powerful quotes from an amazing and phenomenal woman who lived her life to the fullest.

    • Avatar

      Yasmin

      July 29, 2019 at 6:47 AM

      No words I put together can match Maya’s wisdom.
      I can only thank her and pass them on.

  4. Avatar

    Edna

    April 1, 2019 at 10:11 AM

    What an inspirational, phenomenal woman. Her words pierce the soul in a way that provokes introspection and action. if you are not moved by her words, check your pulse.

  5. Avatar

    DoloresTighe

    March 16, 2019 at 9:47 PM

    I am watching Maya on the opera show. Fantastic..I hope to share her quotes with my friends

  6. Avatar

    Glenda

    February 14, 2019 at 3:18 AM

    They are amazing and so true.
    Heartfelt and applicable to everyday life

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