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Maya Angelou Quotes & Valuable Life Lessons

This epic collection of quotes by Maya Angelou are inspiring and uplifting.

Who was Maya Angelou?

Maya Angelou (1928 – 2014) was a celebrated civil rights activist, famous author and poet who received multiple awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and was listed as one of the greatest writers in recent times.

Maya Angelou’s words are beautiful, warm and inspiring to all. She provided simple life truths and lessons and spoke about common sense notions on purpose, gratitude, love and courage.

It’s a really tough job narrowing down the meaningful quotes by Maya Angelou, as all her poetry, words and quotes held significant meaning to all aspects of life. It’s for this reason, we’ve grouped the quotes by topics such as famous quotes, quotes about courage, gratitude and life purpose.

We hope they inspire you like they have for us:


Famous Maya Angelou Quotes


“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


“The truth is, no one of us can be free until every body is free.” Maya Angelou


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


“I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” Maya Angelou


“I don’t trust people who don’t love themselves and tell me, ‘I love you.’ … There is an African saying which is: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.” Maya Angelou


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


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


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


“Ask for what you want and be prepared to get it.” Maya Angelou


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


“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” Maya Angelou


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


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


“I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t laugh.” Maya Angelou


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


“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


“Surviving is important. Thriving is elegant.” Maya Angelou


“A friend may be waiting behind a stranger’s face.” Maya Angelou


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


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


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


“I have great respect for the past. If you don’t know where you’ve come from, you don’t know where you’re going. I have respect for the past, but I’m a person of the moment. 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


Maya Angelou Quotes About Gratitude


“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.” Maya Angelou


“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


“Be present in all things and thankful for all things.” Maya Angelou


“When we find someone who is brave, fun, intelligent, and loving, we have to thank the universe.”  Maya Angelou


“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


Maya Angelou Quotes About Change


“What you’re supposed to do when you don’t like a thing is change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. Don’t complain.” 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 can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.” Maya Angelou


“Stepping onto a brand-new path is difficult, but not more difficult than remaining in a situation, which is not nurturing to the whole woman.” Maya Angelou


“Hoping for the best, prepared for the worst, and unsurprised by anything in between.” 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


“Everything in the universe has a rhythm, everything dances.” Maya Angelou


Maya Angelou Quotes About Strength

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


“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.” Maya Angelou


“You may shoot me with your words, you may cut me with your eyes, you may kill me with your hatefulness, but still, like air, I’ll rise!” Maya Angelou


“Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.” 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 Purpose


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


“I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.” Maya Angelou


“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


“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.” Maya Angelou


“When you learn, teach, when you get, give.” Maya Angelou


“The desire to reach for the stars is ambitious. The desire to reach hearts is wise.” 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


“Nothing can dim the light which shines from within.” Maya Angelou


“Life is pure adventure, and the sooner we realize that the quicker we will be able to treat life as art.” Maya Angelou


For more inspiring words and famous quotes, be sure to check out:

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