Maya Angelou Quotes and Sayings
#1 Facebook, 17 November 2011
1. If we lose love and self respect for each other, this is how we finally die.
#2 Facebook, 12 January 2013
2. Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.
#3 The Distinguished Annie Clark Tanner Lecture, 16th-annual Families Alive Conference, Weber State University, May 8, 1997
3. 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.
#4 Twitter, 11 May 2016
4. If I am not good to myself, how can I expect anyone else to be good to me?
#5 Touched By An Angel
5. And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.
#6 Oprah interviewed Maya Angelou in 2013 [S]
6. But 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.”
Excerpt from Wikipedia: Maya Angelou (born Marguerite Ann Johnson; April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014) is an American author and poet. She has published six autobiographies, five books of essays, several books of poetry, and is credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning more than fifty years. She has received dozens of awards and over thirty honorary doctoral degrees. Angelou is best known for her series of autobiographies, which focus on her childhood and early adult experiences. The first, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969), tells of her life up to the age of seventeen, and brought her international recognition and acclaim.
Maya Angelou Sayings
#1 Dr. Maya Angelou’s 3-Word Secret to Living Your Best Life | Oprah’s Master Class
1. Just do right…Right may not be expedient, it may not be profitable, but it will satisfy your soul. It brings you the kind of protection that bodyguards can’t give you.
#2 Twitter, 30 Jan 2017
2. Pick up the battle and make it a better world just where you are. It can be better and it must be better, but it’s up to us.
#3 Twitter, 15 Sep 2016
3. Talent is like electricity. We don’t understand electricity. We use it.
#4 Oprah’s Thank You Game
4. When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.
#5 Conversations with Maya Angelou by Jeffrey M. Elliot, 1989
5. You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.
#6 Facebook, 1 May 2009
6. I can be changed by what happens to me, but I refuse to be reduced by it.
#7-8 Letter to My Daughter
7. You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.
8. Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.
#9 Facebook, 3 June 2009
9. 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.
#10 Twitter, 08 July 2015
10. We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.
#11 Facebook, 5 July 2011
11. 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.
#12 Facebook, 6 July 2011
12. Ask for what you want and be prepared to get it!
#13 Facebook, 16 May 2013
13. We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.
#14 Twitter, 27 March 2017
14. You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.
#15 Twitter, 04 November 2015
15. No sun outlasts its sunset but will rise again and bring the dawn.
#16 Twitter, 03 February 2016
16. Develop enough courage so that you can stand up for yourself and then stand up for somebody else.
#17 Facebook, 26 October 2011
17. Everything in the universe has rhythm. Everything dances.
#18 Twitter, 11 March 2014
18. The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.
#19 And Still I Rise
19. 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.
#20 Facebook, 5 October 2016
20. 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.
#21 Twitter, 28 September 2016
21. The desire to reach for the stars is ambitious. The desire to reach hearts is wise.
#22 Facebook, 1 May 2009
22. You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so that you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.
#23 Facebook, 8 July 2011
23. Life is pure adventure, and the sooner we realize that, the quicker we will be able to treat life as art.
#24 Twitter, 11 December 2015
24. When you learn, teach, when you get, give.
#25 Quoted in Phil Parham; Amy Parham (1 September 2011). The Amazing Fitness Adventure for Your Kids: 90 Days to Raising Healthy Children
25. 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.
#26 I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, 1969, p. 212.
26. At fifteen life had taught me undeniably that surrender, in its place, was as honorable as resistance, especially if one had no choice.
#27 A Brave And Startling Truth
27. When we come to it
We must confess that we are the possible
We are the miraculous, the true wonder of this world
That is when, and only when
We come to it.
#28 I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
28. Hoping for the best, prepared for the worst, and unsurprised by anything in between.
#29 Twitter, 18 July 2016
29. Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet.
#30 Twitter, 06 Nov 2016
30. Nothing can dim the light which shines from within.
#31 Letter To My Daughter
31. I learned that a friend may be waiting behind a stranger’s face.
#33 Celebrations: Rituals of Peace and Prayer, 2006
33. 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.
#34 Quoted in The Truth in Words, 2005, Neal Zero
34. There is nothing so pitiful as a young cynic because he has gone from knowing nothing to believing nothing.
#35 Paris Review Interview, 1990
35. I know when it’s the best I can do. It may not be the best there is. Another writer may do it much better. But I know when it’s the best I can do.
#36 Twitter, 20 Nov 2016
36. Nothing will work unless you do.
#37 Facebook, 17 November 2015
37. Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.
#38 Facebook, 17 September 2011
38. Success is loving life and daring to live it!
#39 Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now
39. … and I realize that living well is an art which can be developed. Of course, you will need the basic talents to build upon: They are a love of life and ability to take great pleasure from small offerings, an assurance that the world owes you nothing and that every gift is exactly that, a gift.
#40 Facebook, 7 December 2016
40. 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.
#41 USA Today, 5 March 1988
41. Without courage we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.
#42 Twitter, 22 Nov 2016
42. We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.
#43 Facebook, 13 November 2013
43. My wish for you is joy. When you wish someone joy, you wish peace, love, prosperity, health, happiness … all the good things.
#44 Facebook, 3 July 2016
44. Each of us, famous or infamous, is a role model for somebody, and if we aren’t, we should behave as though we are—cheerful, kind, loving, courteous. Because you can be sure someone is watching and taking deliberate and diligent notes.
#45 Facebook, 23 February 2014
45. History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.
#46 Twitter, 20 March 2016
46. I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.
#47 Celebrations: Rituals of Peace and Prayer
47. My wish for you is that you continue. Continue to be who and how you are, to astonish a mean world with your acts of kindness. Continue to allow humor to lighten the burden of your tender heart.
#48 Twitter, 24 July 2016
48. If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.
#49 An Interview with Maya Angelou by Alison Beard
49. I understood early that not everything I did was going to be a masterpiece, but I would try to do it the best I knew how. I’ve listened to an inner voice and had enough courage to try unknown things. And I think everything in its time.
#50 Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now (1993) p. 12.
50. Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.
#51 Twitter, 21 July 2016
51. It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody.
#52-53 I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
52. You don’t have to think about doing the right thing. If you’re for the right thing, then you do it without thinking.
53. Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with the shades of deeper meaning.
54. …you only are free when you realize you belong no place — you belong every place — no place at all. The price is high. The reward is great.
#55 Iconoclasts: Dave Chappelle and Maya Angelou
55. If you’re not angry, you’re either a stone, or you’re too sick to be angry. You should be angry. Now mind you, there’s a difference. You must not be bitter. Now let me show you why. Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. It doesn’t do anything to the object of its displeasure. So use that anger, yes. You write it. You paint it. You dance it. You march it. You vote it. You do everything about it. You talk it. Never stop talking it.
#56 Facebook, 11 February 2013
56. If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.
#57-58 Interview with Alex Banayan [S]
57. What I know is that it’s going to be better. If it’s bad, it might get worse, but I know that it’s going to be better. And you have to know that.
58. No matter how dull and seemingly unpromising life is right now, it’s going to change. It’s going to be better. But you have to keep working.
Unsourced Maya Angelou Quotes
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.
4. When we find someone who is brave, fun, intelligent, and loving, we have to thank the universe.
5. To those who have given up on love: I say, “Trust life a little bit.”
6. If I could give you one thought, it would be to lift someone up. Lift a stranger up – lift her up. I would ask you, mother and father, brother and sister, lovers, mother and daughter, father and son, lift someone. The very idea of lifting someone up will lift you, as well.
7. Hope for the best, be prepared for the worse. Life is shocking, but you must never appear to be shocked. For no matter how bad it is it could be worse and no matter how good it is it could be better.
I’ve learned, often attributed to Maya Angelou
I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.
I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.
I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life.
I’ve learned that making a “living” is not the same thing as making a “life.” I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.
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.
I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.
I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one.
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.
I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn.
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.