46 Maya Angelou Quotes to Live Your Life By

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Maya Angelou was not just a civil rights activist, she was also an author and poet. The lady had a way with words for sure, as is evidenced by her many plays, movies, and TV shows over the course of 50 years.

Here is a wonderful list of beautiful Maya Angelou picture quotes to inspire and empower.

1. Maya Angelou is Rainbow Bright

“Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud.” - Maya Angelou

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

When someone else is having a bad day or feeling down, connect to the light within you and share your prismatic colorful personality with them. Do your best to brighten their day, and for heaven’s sake at the very least, do not make their day worse.

2. Maya Angelou Says You Better Believe It

“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” - Maya Angelou

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

If someone opens up and shares vulnerability with you to allow you to see an intimate piece of them, believe them and hold it sacred. On the flip side, if someone shows you how they are in the way of something negative, believe them and trust your instincts in dealing with them in the future.

3. Maya Angelou on Defeat

“We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.” - Maya Angelou

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

Life is full of many defeats and it useful to remember that defeat is not permanent. We can always keep trying. To be defeated means that you have given up and have let bitterness rule your heart. Do not let your defeats crush you. Instead, pick yourself up, dust are yourself off, and try again.

4. Maya Angelou Wants You to Stay Strong

“I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.” - Maya Angelou

“I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.” – Maya Angelou

Change happens to us every single day. Every positive or negative experience changes us in one way or another. With an attitude of strength, you can refuse to let any of your experiences make you small. Stand fast and be the amazing person you are during good times and bad.

5. Maya Angelou on Telling Your Story

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” - Maya Angelou

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” – Maya Angelou

We all have a story that needs to be told. If you have not shared your story with anyone, consider doing so. Sharing our story gives us a chance to unload the emotion we have carried for too long, and it can also inspire and educate others that hear it.

6. Maya Angelou on Wise Women

“A wise woman wishes to be no one's enemy; a wise woman refuses to be anyone's victim.” - Maya Angelou

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

A wise woman has no desire to be anyone’s enemy and does not enjoy such a turbulent relationship. She also stands in her truth and stands confident so that she never allows someone to bully her. She knows her own power but does not use it in harm, nor allow someone to take it from her.

7. Maya Angelou Encourages Change

“If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.” - Maya Angelou

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

Complaining is not a very pleasant attribute to have. If you do not like something you can always find ways to change it. In those extreme situations when you can’t actually change your situation, you can decide to look at it with a more positive view.

8. Maya Angelou on Normality

“If you’re always trying to be normal you will never know how amazing you can be.” - Maya Angelou

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

If you are always busy trying to fit in, you will never know just how unique you are, and what creative gifts you have to share with the world. The world is a much more interesting place when we are not cookie cutter humans but actually have some differences between us.

9. Maya Angelou Wants You to Trust Love

“Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.” - Maya Angelou

“Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.” – Maya Angelou

It can be hard to trust in love after every heartbreak you have experienced. But you have probably fallen in love even when you swore you would never again, right? Keep trusting in love and eventually you will find someone trustworthy in love with you.

10. Maya Angelou on Priorities

“Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.” - Maya Angelou

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

It is an imbalanced energy exchange in relationships when one person makes the relationship a priority, and the other takes it for granted. If you are showing up and making more of an effort than your friend, it might be time to reconsider to friendship.

11. Maya Angelou Reaches Hearts

“‎The desire to reach the stars is ambitious. The desire to reach hearts is wise and most possible.” - Maya Angelou

“‎The desire to reach the stars is ambitious. The desire to reach hearts is wise and most possible.” – Maya Angelou

It is entirely possible to desire to reach both the stars and reach hearts at the same time. What Maya is probably getting at here though is that it is wise to have a life purpose that includes reaching the hearts of other human beings. Connecting in compassion is one of the most powerful actions on the planet.

12. Maya Angelou Embraces Diversity

“It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.” - Maya Angelou

“It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.” – Maya Angelou

Our children are seeing more diversity throughout communities around the world and they deserve to know that differences are to be celebrated. There is strength in connecting with other humans in acceptance and compassion when diversity is present. The world can come together in unity once we all embrace diversity in peaceful ways.

13. Maya Angelou Says Success Comes From the Heart

“If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded.” - Maya Angelou

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

Life lived by selfish means is a hollow life indeed. If you have lived your life and have cared for others, that is the true success that should be celebrated. Going outside of oneself to have compassion for another human being brings perspective and humility.

14. Maya Angelou on Choosing Blindness

“We are only as blind as we want to be.” - Maya Angelou

“We are only as blind as we want to be.” – Maya Angelou

A person does not know what they do not know. However, once they have learned something, they can never unlearn it. Many of us live our lives choosing to be blind to the information that we know will be helpful to us. Where might you open your eyes to things in your life?

15. Maya Angelou Instructs You to Be Great

“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

“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

Goals and dreams take a lot of consistent daily work to achieve. If you want something, make sure that you absolutely love it with every fiber of your being. It will be easy to make sacrifices for it because you are so dedicated to the vision.

16. Maya Angelou Highlights the Differences Between Facts & Truth

“There's a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure the truth.” - Maya Angelou

“There’s a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure the truth.” – Maya Angelou

Facts can most easily obscure the truth, especially with one who is trying to lie. This is how people get away with unkind acts in our society. They spout all of the facts of what their constitutional rights are while hiding the truth of their hateful actions.

17. Maya Angelou Says to Stop Blaming Your Parents

“To grow up is to stop putting blame on parents.” - Maya Angelou

“To grow up is to stop putting blame on parents.” – Maya Angelou

When we are younger, it is easy to blame our parents for all that goes wrong in our lives. We see them as hindering us, restricting us, punishing us and making our lives hard. But when you grow up, you realize that you are responsible for your own life and your own actions.

18. Maya Angelou is Living With Flair

“Determine to live life with flair and laughter.” - Maya Angelou

“Determine to live life with flair and laughter.” – Maya Angelou

Living life with flair and laughter can look different from person to person. Doing so brings creativity and excitement to life as well as all the benefits that laughter offers. Wear that quirky hat with the feathers, or dance in the rain with your lover. Life is too short to be grumpy.

19. Maya Angelou Wants You to Like Yourself

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

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

Being successful in business or with money does not hold a candle to the success that comes from liking yourself, having pride in what you do, and being proud by how you do it. Liking yourself makes success come more easily to all other areas of life.

20. Maya Angelou Doesn’t Want History to Repeat Itself

“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, however, if faced with courage, need not be lived again.” - Maya Angelou

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

If we can courageously face the past and take accountability for our actions that have caused destruction and pain to the human race and on the planet, we can truly learn lessons that we don’t need to repeat. We need now to convince world leaders that this is so.

22. Maya Angelou Encourages Breathtaking Moments

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

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take but by the moments that take your breath away” – Maya Angelou

Those moments that take your breath away are some of the most beautiful and awe inspiring moments you will ever experience. If you haven’t experienced enough of them in your life then go out and do so right now. Life is not about how long we live but how well we live.

23. Maya Angelou Still Needs to Learn

“I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn.” - Maya Angelou

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

It is a wise person that understands that even though they are wise, there’s always more wisdom to glean from the world. Once you start opening your eyes and learning new life concepts, it’s like a never ending rabbit hole of information and ah-ha moments.

24. Maya Angelou Knows Creativity is Infinite

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” - Maya Angelou

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” – Maya Angelou

It actually works in the opposite way. When you don’t use it, it can be easy to lose it. However, the minute you start using your creative brain for something, the more you have to use because the flow of creativity is there for all of us to tap into.

25. Maya Angelou on Finding Balance

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

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

Living strictly with patience and no passion leaves life kind of dull and boring. Living strictly with passion makes life quite chaotic and dramatic. A balance between the two is ideal for all of us and it makes things much more fun. How can you find harmony between patience and passion today?

26. Maya Angelou is at Home

“I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.” - Maya Angelou

“I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.” – Maya Angelou

Sometimes it can be disconcerting to be in strange places and not feel at home. If you long to feel at home wherever you are, try bringing along a few treasured items with you so that you do not feel so isolated from what is familiar.

27.Maya Angelou Inspires You To Be Better

“You did the best that you knew how. Now that you know better, you’ll do better.” - Maya Angelou

“You did the best that you knew how. Now that you know better, you’ll do better.” – Maya Angelou

You can only do as good as you know how to do at any given moment. When you learn more and gain new techniques for life, you are able to do even better. So make sure that if you have the knowledge to do better, that you actually apply it.

28. Maya Angelou on Faith

“Faith is the evidence of the unseen.” - Maya Angelou

“Faith is the evidence of the unseen.” – Maya Angelou

Faith is something that you know in your heart to be undeniably true for you. Faith in things can change from person to person. Just because you have faith of the unseen, doesn’t mean that someone else has the same faith or that same truth for themselves.

29. Maya Angelou Says Be Careful With How You Make People Feel

“People will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” - Maya Angelou

“People will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

When people remember you, they remember more of how they felt when they were around you and what their experience was with you. So make sure that you make people feel loved and appreciated everywhere you go. Make them smile; make them laugh.

30. Maya Angelou Says to Keep Your Light Shining

“Let nothing dim the light that shines from within” - Maya Angelou

“Let nothing dim the light that shines from within” – Maya Angelou

There are lots of things that come out and attack the light that shines within us. Make sure that to keep shining your light during any dark times as it is your lifeline. Nothing can darken our spirits unless we choose to allow it to.

31. Maya Angelou Knows Courage is Essential

“Without courage we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.” - Maya Angelou

“Without courage we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.” – Maya Angelou

If you think about it, it actually does take courage to be kind to someone who might be unkind to you. It takes a lot of courage to show mercy to someone who has hurt you, to be generous to someone who might disregard you, and it definitely takes courage to be honest in the face of consequences.

32. Maya Angelou on Love Crossing Borders

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

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

Love is an unseen and invisible power. No matter the challenges, the barriers, or the distance, love finds its way through to us all. Make sure if love is knocking at your door that you at least look through the peephole to see who is there.

33. Maya Angelou Knows It’s About Give and Take

“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

“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

Don’t just sit around and wait for life to come to you. People do not exist to make your life easy. When interacting with family, friends, and coworkers, make sure that you are giving back as much as you are receiving. It’s only fair afterall.

34. Maya Angelou on the Destructive Power of Prejudice

“Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future, and renders the present inaccessible.” - Maya Angelou

“Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future, and renders the present inaccessible.” – Maya Angelou

Being prejudiced does nothing for peaceful communities. It makes us confused of the past because of how much we have grown and evolved, it threatens the future in the fact that we may experience the same mistakes over and over again. Then in the present, prejudice makes the given moment impossible for human connection.

36. Maya Angelou Knows How to Make a Life

“Ive learned that making a living is not the same thing as making a life.” - Maya Angelou

“Ive learned that making a living is not the same thing as making a life.” – Maya Angelou

If you feel trapped in your job making the same living and doing the same things day in and day out, you might relate to this Maya Angelou quote. Making a living provides finances for your life, but making a life includes joy, new experiences, hobbies, and well-rounded experiences.

37. Maya Angelou on Respect for Others

“If we lose love and self-respect for each other, this is how we finally die” - Maya Angelou

“If we lose love and self-respect for each other, this is how we finally die” – Maya Angelou

The lack of respect and love for other human beings only causes pain and chaos. There have been ancient civilizations that it perished because of their anger and selfishness. We will kill off the human race and poison our planet if we do not change. How can you connect to somebody today with more love and respect?

38. Maya Angelou Says to Trust Your Heart

“I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.” - Maya Angelou

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

If you have a choice before you, consult your heart, as well as your gut. Your gut will tell you if something is off and you need to walk away, and your heart will tell you what decision is the right one for you. When you make a decision out of love, it is usually a good one.

39. Maya Angelou on Fantasies

“If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform one million realities.” - Maya Angelou

“If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform one million realities.” – Maya Angelou

If you have a fantasy or to dream to provide something amazing for the human race, consider doing your best to make it real. Your daydream could be something that transforms a million people’s lives for the better and you’ll never know until you try.

40. Maya Angelou on Personal Accomplishment

“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love.” - Maya Angelou

“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love.” – Maya Angelou

Accomplishment happens whenever you do any kind of a job. However, when it is something that you love, the accomplishment is that much sweeter. Make sure that you find things you love to feel accomplished at. Practice that instrument or study that foreign language. Find things you love and do them as frequently as you can.

41. Maya Angelou Knows the Value of Self Kindness

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

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

We teach people how to treat us. If we are hard on ourselves, we can’t expect other people to be tender with us. Treating ourselves well also makes it easier for us to refuse poor treatment from others; it allows us to have very strong and healthy boundaries.

42. Maya Angelou Know That This Too Shall Pass

“No matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.” - Maya Angelou

“No matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.” – Maya Angelou

Life does go on and time heals many things. Keep looking towards each new day to bring you just that much more peace and healing. Everything changes in the light of the next day and nothing lasts forever. You will survive and you will go on.

43. Maya Angelou on Missing Your Parents

“I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life.” - Maya Angelou

“I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life.” – Maya Angelou

Even if you strongly dislike your parents, there still are perhaps some good memories that exist that you will reminisce about when they pass from this Earth. Chances are you’ll miss them and wish that you had reached out more. Which means that perhaps you should give your parents a call right now.

44. Maya Angelou on Simplicity

“We need much less than we think we need” - Maya Angelou

“We need much less than we think we need” – Maya Angelou

They really do need much less than we probably currently have. Many people live in so much excess while others are getting by with only two pairs of shoes, milk and bread in the fridge, and a tiny house to live in. Be grateful for the abundance you experience but know that you could definitely live without a large portion of it.

45. Maya Angelou Understand How Hate is Useless

“Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet” - Maya Angelou

“Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet” – Maya Angelou

We dare you to think of one single situation where hate has solved the problem. Hate ends up creating problems which then create more hate, which then creates more problems. Kindness and love are infinitely more powerful but many have yet to learn how to use it effectively.

46. Maya Angelou on Problems

“I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one.” - Maya Angelou

“I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one.” – Maya Angelou

Just because your life might be filled with difficulty, strife, grief, and frustration but does not mean that you need to be those things to everyone else you come into contact with. Vent and share your problems with carefully selected people that will love you and advise you the best they can.

47. Maya Angelou Left the Nest

“My mother raised me, and then freed me” - Maya Angelou

“My mother raised me, and then freed me” – Maya Angelou

Your mother hopefully raised you to know how to take care of your personal hygiene well, how to keep a tidy house, how to scrub toilets, how to study, and so much more. Then, hopefully she set you free to fly into the world with your own wings to create your own joys and mistakes.

48. Maya Angelou on Giving

“I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.” - Maya Angelou

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

Giving is a twofold process. You cannot have a giver without receiver, and vice versa. Just as much as someone might be thrilled by being given a gift, the giver also is rewarded in good karma, blessings of abundance to come into their lives and the joy of giving.

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