We can always count on Maya Angelou quotes to cheer us up when we’re having a bad day. The renowned poet wrote about seemingly every topic under the sun — equality, love, beauty, success, and self-examination, to name a few — in a beautiful yet powerful fashion. To say that she had a way with words in just about any situation is an understatement, and these quotes by Maya Angelou are all the proof you need.
Why Maya Angelou Is Important Today
Maya Angelou sadly passed away at the age of 86 on May 28, 2014, but her legacy lives on — and rightfully so. Though best known for her poetry and storytelling, Maya Angelou was also a civil rights activist, educator, and Hollywood’s first black female director. Despite being subjected to abuse, violence, and racism growing up, the talented writer slowly began to make her voice heard. She joined the Harlem Writers Guild in the late 1950s, when she had the opportunity to hear Martin Luther King Jr. speak. Inspired by his words, she joined the civil rights movement, getting the chance to work for Dr. King himself.
After traveling abroad for several years, she returned to the United States in the mid-1960s to write her first autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, about her difficult beginnings. Released to critical acclaim, it’s still one of her highest praised works today. By the 1970s, she was widely known as not only a fierce advocate for women and people of color, but also for anyone who wanted to improve the moral standards in the United States. Of course, she further continued this mission in the decades to come, fearlessly touching on once-taboo subjects like black beauty, female strength, and true liberty and justice for all. The award-winning author who’s written more than 30 books is a timeless reminder to us all about the impact one woman can have on millions. The best Maya Angelou quotes about success, life, and love give us a beautiful glimpse into how powerful her impact still is today.
Maya Angelou Quotes on Cards You Can Share
Though Maya Angelou explored heavy topics in her writing, she wasn’t afraid to have a little fun either. As she once said, “I work very hard, and I play very hard. I’m grateful for life. And I live it.” Through it all, the subject of living life to the fullest was a common theme in much of her work — filled with positivity, inspiration, and uplifting messages. It goes without saying that life can be hard sometimes. If today is one of those days, we guarantee these quotes from Maya Angelou will be the perfect poetic pick-me-up.
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Maya Angelou Quote About Martin Luther King, Jr.
"It is a great blessing to have lived in the time of Martin Luther King, Jr., when forgiveness and generosity of spirit encouraged our citizenry to work for a better world for everybody." - Maya Angelou
It's obvious that Martin Luther King, Jr. had a tremendous impact on Maya Angelou, with both American heroes often working together. After his tragic assassination, Maya Angelou was absolutely devastated. As time went on, the poet continued to pay tribute to the brave civil rights leader's tireless work, and to honor him for the rest of her life.
Maya Angelou Inspirational Quotes
"Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud." - Maya Angelou
We all have days when we're feeling a little "cloudy." It's worth remembering that you have the power to brighten someone else's gloomy day with an act of kindness — a helpful gesture, an encouraging word, or maybe even just a smile. Who knows? Maybe the next time you have a cloudy day, you'll find a "rainbow" of your own.
Maya Angelou Quotes About Love
"Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope." - Maya Angelou
It's so easy to be cliché when talking about love. But Maya Angelou, as usual, explores the depths of one of the most-discussed human emotions in an equally unique and relatable way that can speak to everyone. And Maya Angelou love quotes like this one get straight to the heart of what's truly valuable to all of us as human beings. After all, is there anything we wouldn't do for the family members and friends nearest and dearest to our hearts?
Maya Angelou Quotes About Writing
"The idea is to write it so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart." - Maya Angelou
If you have an interest in writing, Maya Angelou is definitely talking to you here. Don't be discouraged if you can't get more than a few sentences out of you when you first start. It's not necessarily about how long a piece of writing is or how many fancy words said piece uses; it's all about how it hits readers emotionally. This labor of love takes time.
Maya Angelou Motivational Quotes
"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude." - Maya Angelou
Many of us know all too well that we can't change everything that makes us unhappy; it's impossible for every single aspect of our lives to fit our ideal expectations, after all. However, we can change our approach to those pesky things that are out of our control. You'd be surprised at how big of a difference that can make!
Maya Angelou Quotes About Work
"Nothing will work unless you do." - Maya Angelou
It's easy to get frustrated and discouraged if something doesn't seem to be working — whether it's a relationship, a technological issue, or any other problem you're trying to solve. But this Maya Angelou quote reminds us that this is not an excuse for us to stop trying; who knows, you might find that perfect solution in an unexpected place!
Maya Angelou Writing Quotes
"We write for the same reason that we walk, talk, climb mountains, or swim the oceans — because we can. We have some impulse within us that makes us want to explain ourselves to other human beings." - Maya Angelou
If you're just starting out with creative writing, it's easy to get discouraged early on. After all, it can be challenging to put your feelings into words on paper. But as Maya Angelou wisely puts it, there is a powerful reason why we all feel compelled to go through this particular challenge. If you feel inspired to keep going, don't give up!
Maya Angelou Friendship 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
Indeed, as time goes on, the specific details of our memories fade, but we never forget the impact that people have had on us — for better or for worse. It's a powerful reminder to always treat people in a way that leaves them feeling much better than they did when we first met them. They'll be happy to remember that!
Maya Angelou Empowering Quotes
"When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time." - Maya Angelou
We've all been deceived by someone we thought we could trust. More often than not, these types of toxic people often try to convince us that the same type of deceit won't happen again. Maya Angelou clearly knew better than that, and her words are always there to give us that helpful reminder if we find ourselves in danger of getting duped once more.
Maya Angelou Quotes About Women
"At 50, I began to know who I was. It was like waking up to myself." - Maya Angelou
All too often, people in our society tend to view aging in a negative light — especially when it applies to women. But Maya Angelou captures getting older as a positive development with the chance to become the "real" you. We may not be the same people we were a few decades ago — and that can be an absolutely marvelous thing!
Maya Angelou Quotes About Strength
"You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them." - Maya Angelou
Unfair things unfortunately happen to people every day, and there's no guarantee that today won't be our day. However, we have the power to not let ourselves become defined by one bad moment or unfair situation by taking action and continuing to push forward to meet our own dreams and goals.
Maya Angelou Quotes About Success
"If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded." - Maya Angelou
In this day and age, "success" is most often equated to how much money someone has and the biggest title someone can achieve for himself or herself. But Maya Angelou quotes about success like this one remind us that these material things don't fully capture the meaning of being successful; we have to say, we like her idea of success a lot better.
Maya Angelou Quotes About Time
"All great achievements require time." - Maya Angelou
It can be tough when you're working so hard on something you really care about, only to get no real progress or recognition from others. However, Maya Angelou helpfully reminds us that success is not an overnight phenomenon. Just because it's taking longer than expected to be recognize doesn't mean it'll never happen; after all, she certainly didn't get recognized overnight!
Maya Angelou Quotes About Life
"Life loves the liver of it." - Maya Angelou
As difficult as life can be sometimes, there is no denying that it's a wonderful ride if you take advantage of all the beauty it has to offer. From spending time with loved ones to cherishing the loveliness of nature to cuddling with an adorable cat, there are meaningful experiences all around us just begging to be soaked up.
Maya Angelou Quotes About Forgiveness
"It's one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody." - Maya Angelou
It's not always easy to forgive those who have wronged us in the past. However, it's undeniable to us how freeing and liberating it is to do so. Even if people never say they're sorry, or even if they don't deserve our forgiveness, it feels good to let go of a grudge or some heavy baggage we've been carrying around for some time. Don't we owe that much to ourselves?
Maya Angelou Quotes on Womanhood
"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
It's obvious that Maya Angelou did not live her life in a passive fashion; could you ever imagine her sitting idly by as big changes happened all around her? No way! She saw life as a fabulous adventure and a chance to make a true difference in the lives of others. No matter what our adventures hold, we would all do well to follow her example.
Maya Angelou About Woman and Work
"Let me float across the sky 'til I can rest again." - Maya Angelou
This line from Maya Angelou's "Woman Work" poem, which can be read in full at Poem Hunter, is a wonderful sample of her writing that shows the true power of all her words. Considering this piece of poetry dives deep into a hardworking mom's daily tasks and the pleas she has for the natural world, it's certainly worth meditating on from time to time. We always have chills after reading it!
Maya Angelou Quotes About Love
"If you have only one smile in you give it to the people you love." - Maya Angelou
It's easy to take a bad mood out on our loved ones; after all, they're the ones who we know will be there for us even when we're not at our best. But Maya Angelou love quotes remind us that these are the people that need our care and support the most. Wouldn't we want them to do the same for us, if the tables were turned? If there's one takeaway from these beautiful Maya Angelou quotes, we hope this is it.
All photos are courtesy of Getty Images.