Maya Angelou Quotes & Wisdom
“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.”
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
“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.”
“Be a rainbow in somebody else's cloud.”
Maya Angelou Recommended books
Maya Angelou Quotes On Life
“Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise. Up from a past that's rooted in pain I rise. I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide, Welling and swelling I bear in the tide. Leaving behind nights of terror and fear I rise. Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear I rise. Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise.I rise.I rise.”
“I don't trust anyone who doesn't laugh.”
“When someone shows you who they are believe them; the first time.”
“I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.
(Popular misquote of "You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.")”
“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”
“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can't practice any other virtue consistently.”
“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.”
“Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.”
“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”
“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”
“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 did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.”
“Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.”
“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.”
“Pretty women wonder where my secret lies. I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size. But when I start to tell them. They think I'm telling lies. I say, It's in the reach of my arms The span of my hips, The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips. I'm a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That's me.”
“A woman's heart should be so hidden in God that a man has to seek Him just to find her.”
“Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.”
“Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud.”
“Ask for what you want and be prepared to get it!”
“If I am not good to myself, how can I expect anyone else to be good to me?”
“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.”
“You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.”
“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.”
“Everything in the universe has a rhythm, everything dances. ”
“The desire to reach for the stars is ambitious. The desire to reach hearts is wise.”
“Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.”
“No matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.”
“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!”
“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.”
“A Woman in harmony with her spirit
is like a river flowing. She goes where she will without pretense and arrives at her destination prepared to be herself and only herself ”
“Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning.”
“When Great Trees Fall, When great trees fall, rocks on distant hills shudder, lions hunker down in tall grasses, and even elephants lumber after safety.
When great trees fall in forests, small things recoil into silence, their senses eroded beyond fear.
When great souls die, the air around us becomes light, rare, sterile. We breathe, briefly. Our eyes, briefly, see with a hurtful clarity. Our memory, suddenly sharpened, examines, gnaws on kind words unsaid, promised walks never taken.
Great souls die and our reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us. Our souls, dependent upon their nurture, now shrink, wizened. Our minds, formed and informed by their radiance, fall away. We are not so much maddened as reduced to the unutterable ignorance of dark, cold caves.
And when great souls die, after a period peace blooms, slowly and always irregularly. Spaces fill with a kind of soothing electric vibration. Our senses, restored, never to be the same, whisper to us. They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be better. For they existed.”
“I've learned that making a 'living' is not the same thing as 'making a life'.”
“You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”
“I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.”
“To those who have given up on love: I say, "Trust life a little bit.”
“I want to thank you, Lord, for life and all that's in it.
Thank you for the day and for the hour, and the minute. ”
“I believe that the most important single thing, beyond discipline and creativity is daring to dare.”
“Nothing will work unless you do.”
“All great achievements require time.”
“I am a Woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal Woman, that's me.”
“It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.”
“Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for.”
A free bird leaps on the back of the wind
and floats downstream till the current ends and dips his wing in the orange suns rays and dares to claim the sky.
But a bird that stalks down his narrow cage can seldom see through his bars of rage his wings are clipped and his feet are tied so he opens his throat to sing.
The caged bird sings with a fearful trill
of things unknown but longed for still
and his tune is heard on the distant hill
for the caged bird sings of freedom.
The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn and he names the sky his own.
But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream his wings are clipped and his feet are tied so he opens his throat to sing.
The caged bird sings with a fearful trill
of things unknown but longed for still
and his tune is heard on the distant hill
for the caged bird sings of freedom.”
“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 some things back.”
“I am convinced that most people do not grow up...We marry and dare to have children and call that growing up. I think what we do is mostly grow old. We carry accumulation of years in our bodies, and on our faces, but generally our real selves, the children inside, are innocent and shy as magnolias.”
“We, unaccustomed to courage exiles from delight live coiled in shells of loneliness until love leaves its high holy temple and comes into our sight to liberate us into life.
Love arrives and in its train come ecstasies old memories of pleasure ancient histories of pain. Yet if we are bold, love strikes away the chains of fear from our souls.
We are weaned from our timidity. 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.”
“If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded.”
“In all the world, there is no heart for me like yours. In all the world, there is no love for you like mine.”
“Some people cannot see a good thing when it is right here, right now. Others can sense a good thing coming when it is days, months, or miles away.”
“A woman who is convinced that she deserves to accept only the best challenges herself to give the best. Then she is living phenomenally.”
“There is nothing so pitiful as a young cynic because he has gone from knowing nothing to believing nothing.”
“Had I known that the heart breaks slowly, dismantling itself into unrecognizable plots of misery... had I known yet I would have loved you, your brash and insolent beauty, your heavy comedic face and knowledge of sweet delights, but from a distance I would have left you whole and wholly for the delectation of those who wanted more and cared less.”
“The ache for home lives in all of us. The safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.”
“It’s the fire in my eyes, And the flash of my teeth, The swing in my waist, And the joy in my feet. I’m a woman Phenomenally.”
“Success is loving life and daring to live it.”
“Whining is not only graceless, but can be dangerous. It can alert a brute that a victim is in the neighborhood.”
“Living well is an art that can be developed: a love of life and ability to take great pleasure from small offerings and assurance that the world owes you nothing and that every gift is exactly that, a gift. ”
Men themselves have wondered What they see in me. They try so much But they can't touch My inner mystery. When I try to show them They say they still can't see. I say, It's in the arch of my back, The sun of my smile, The ride of my breasts, The grace of my style. I'm a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That's me.
Now you understand Just why my head's not bowed. I don't shout or jump about Or have to talk real loud. When you see me passing It ought to make you proud. I say, It's in the click of my heels, The bend of my hair, the palm of my hand, The need of my care, 'Cause I'm a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That's me.”
“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.”
“Most people don't grow up. Most people age. They find parking spaces, honor their credit cards, get married, have children, and call that maturity. What that is, is aging.”
“There's a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure truth.”
“I don't know if I continue, even today, always liking myself. But what I learned to do many years ago was to forgive myself. It is very important for every human being to forgive herself or himself because if you live, you will make mistakes- it is inevitable. But once you do and you see the mistake, then you forgive yourself and say, 'Well, if I'd known better I'd have done better,' that's all. So you say to people who you think you may have injured, 'I'm sorry,' and then you say to yourself, 'I'm sorry.' If we all hold on to the mistake, we can't see our own glory in the mirror because we have the mistake between our faces and the mirror; we can't see what we're capable of being. You can ask forgiveness of others, but in the end the real forgiveness is in one's own self. I think that young men and women are so caught by the way they see themselves. Now mind you. When a larger society sees them as unattractive, as threats, as too black or too white or too poor or too fat or too thin or too sexual or too asexual, that's rough. But you can overcome that. The real difficulty is to overcome how you think about yourself. If we don't have that we never grow, we never learn, and sure as hell we should never teach.”
“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”
“Hoping for the best, prepared for the worst, and unsurprised by anything in between.”
“Life is pure adventure, and the sooner we realize that, the quicker we will be able to treat life as art.”
“Nothing can dim the light which shines from within.”
“When you learn, teach, when you get, give.”
“I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one.”
“Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet.”
“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.”
“A friend may be waiting behind a stranger's face.”
“I've learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you'll miss them when they're gone from your life.”
“We need much less than we think we need.”
“If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love. Don't be surly at home, then go out in the street and start grinning 'Good morning' at total strangers.”
“There were people who went to sleep last night, poor and rich and white and black, but they will never wake again.
And those dead folks would give anything at all for just five minutes of this weather or ten minutes of plowing.
So you watch yourself about complaining.
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.”
“When I look back, I am so impressed again with the life-giving power of literature. If I were a young person today, trying to gain a sense of myself in the world, I would do that again by reading, just as I did when I was young.”
“Surviving is important. Thriving is elegant.”
“I sustain myself with the love of family.”
“Let's tell the truth to people. When people ask, 'How are you?' have the nerve sometimes to answer truthfully. You must know, however, that people will start avoiding you because, they, too, have knees that pain them and heads that hurt and they don't want to know about yours. But think of it this way: If people avoid you, you will have more time to meditate and do fine research on a cure for whatever truly afflicts you.”
“When we find someone who is brave, fun, intelligent, and loving, we have to thank the universe.”
“Be present in all things and thankful for all things.”
“The problem I have with haters is that they see my glory, but they don't know my story...”
“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.”
“First best is falling in love. Second best is being in love. Least best is falling out of love. But any of it is better than never having been in love.”
“If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform a million realities.”
“Anything that works against you can also work for you once you understand the Principle of Reverse.”
“Did you want to see me broken? Bowed head and lowered eyes? Shoulders falling down like teardrops. Weakened by my soulful cries.
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.”
“My mother said I must always be intolerant of ignorance but understanding of illiteracy.”
“Every person needs to take one day away. A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future. Jobs, family, employers, and friends can exist one day without any one of us, and if our egos permit us to confess, they could exist eternally in our absence. Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.”
“We spend precious hours fearing the inevitable. It would be wise to use that time adoring our families, cherishing our friends and living our lives.”
“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.”
“I've learned that I still have a lot to learn.”
“No one can take the place of a friend, no one.”
“The caged bird sings with a fearful trill, of things unknown, but longed for still, and his tune is heard on the distant hill, for the caged bird sings of freedom.”
“Talent is like electricity. We don't understand electricity. We use it.”
“Love is like a virus. It can happen to anybody at any time.”
“The sisters and brothers that you meet give you the materials which your character uses to build itself. It is said that some people are born great, others achieve it, some have it thrust upon them. In truth, the ways in which your character is built have to do with all three of those. Those around you, those you choose, and those who choose you.”
“Each of us has the right and the responsibility to assess the roads which lie ahead, and those over which we have traveled, and if the future road looms ominous or unpromising, and the roads back uninviting, then we need to gather our resolve and, carrying only the necessary baggage, step off that road into another direction. If the new choice is also unpalatable, without embarrassment, we must be ready to change that as well.”
“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.”
“When you wish someone joy, you wish them peace, love, prosperity, happiness... all the good things.”
“Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can't take their eyes off you.”
“To those who are given much, much is expected.”
“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them. Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud. Do not complain. 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.”
“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.”
“If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.”
“Poetry puts starch in your backbone so you can stand, so you can compose your life.”
“To be left alone on the tightrope of youthful unknowing is to experience the excruciating beauty of full freedom and the threat of eternal indecision. Few, if any, survive their teens. Most surrender to the vague but murderous pressure of adult conformity. It becomes easier to die and avoid conflict than to maintain a constant battle with the superior forces of maturity.”
“The main thing in one's own private world is to try to laugh as much as you cry.”
“The human heart...tells us that we are more alike than we are unalike.”
“Live as though life was created for you.”
“You may write me down in history With your bitter, twisted lies.You may trod me in the very dirt, but still like dust, I'll rise.”
“Ain't nothin' to it, but to do it.”
“While one may encounter many defeats, one must not be defeated.”
“Pretty women wonder where my secret lies. I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size But when I start to tell them, They think I'm telling lies. I say, It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips, The stride of my step, The curl of my lips. I'm a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That's me.
I walk into a room. Just as cool as you please, And to a man, The fellows stand or Fall down on their knees. Then they swarm around me, A hive of honey bees. I say, It's the fire in my eyes, And the flash of my teeth, The swing in my waist, And the joy in my feet. I'm a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That's me.