130 Inspiring Maya Angelou Quotes about Life, Love & Success

Maya Angelou Quote

In this post, we’ll read Maya Angelou quotes who was an American poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist.

Maya Angelou (1928–2014) faced a tough childhood and she experienced racial discrimination, poverty, and sexual abuse during her early years, which greatly influenced her later writings and activism.

She was known for her powerful and influential writings on race, identity, and the human experience. And in addition to her prose writing, Angelou was a talented poet and her poetry often explored themes of identity, empowerment, love, and social justice.

Throughout her life, Angelou was actively involved in the civil rights movement and worked alongside leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X.

Let’s read some of the best Maya Angelou quotes on love, life, change, freedom, and more.

Best Maya Angelou Quotes

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

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

2. “This is a wonderful day, I have never seen this one before.”

3. “How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!”

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

5. “We need much less than we think we need.”

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

7. “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

8. “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!

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

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

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

Maya Angelou Quotes about Life

Maya Angelou Quote about Life

1. “There is a very fine line between loving life and being greedy for it.”

2. “Live as though life was created for you.”

3. “Life loves to be taken by the lapel and told: ‘I’m with you kid. Let’s go.’”

4. “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.”

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

6. “Life offers us tickets to places which we have not knowingly asked for.”

7. “Life is going to give you just what you put in it. Put your whole heart in everything you do, and pray, then you can wait.”

8. “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.”

9. “Modesty is a learned affectation. And as soon as life slams the modest person against the wall, that modesty drops.”

10. “I work very hard, and I play very hard. I’m grateful for life. And I live it – I believe life loves the liver of it. I live it.”

11. “Eating is so intimate. It’s very sensual. When you invite someone to sit at your table and you want to cook for them, you’re inviting a person into your life.”

Maya Angelou Quotes about Life Lessons

Maya Angelou Quote about Life Lessons

1. “I’ve learned that making a ‘living’ is not the same thing as ‘making a life’.”

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

3. “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.”

4. “At fifteen life had taught me undeniably that surrender, in its place, was as honorable as resistance, especially if one had no choice.”

5. “Our stories come from our lives and from the playwright’s pen, the mind of the actor, the roles we create, the artistry of life itself and the quest for peace.”

6. “Don’t let the incidents which take place in life bring you low. And certainly don’t whine. You can be brought low, that’s OK, but don’t be reduced by them. Just say, ‘That’s life.’”

Maya Angelou Quotes about Love

Maya Angelou Quote about Love

1. “If we lose love and self respect for each other, this is how we finally die.”

2. “To those who have given up on love: I say, “Trust life a little bit.”

3. “Love liberates. It doesn’t just hold, that’s ego. Love liberates.”

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

5. “Love is like a virus. It can happen to anybody at any time.”

6. “I know for sure that loves saves me and that it is here to save us all.”

7. “Loving someone liberates the lover as well as the beloved. And that kind of love comes with age.”

8. “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.”

9. “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.”

10. “I’ve never had a dislike for men. I’ve been badly treated by some. But I’ve been loved greatly by some. I married a lot of them.”

11. “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.”

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

13. “Love costs all we are and will ever be. Yet it is only love which sets us free.”

14. “In a world so rife with vulgarity, with brutality and violence, love exists. I’m grateful to know that it exists.”

15. “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.”

16. “The loss of young first love is so painful that it borders on the ludicrous.”

17. “If you have only one smile in you give it to the people you love.”

Maya Angelou Quotes about Change

Maya Angelou Quote about Change

1. “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”

2. “The need for change bulldozed a road down the center of my mind.”

3. “I’m always disappointed when people don’t live up to their potential. I know that a number of people look down on themselves and consequently on everybody who looks like them. But that, too, can change.”

4. “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.”

5. “I’m convinced of this: Good done anywhere is good done everywhere. For a change, start by speaking to people rather than walking by them like they’re stones that don’t matter. As long as you’re breathing, it’s never too late to do some good.”

Maya Angelou Quotes about Feminism

Maya Angelou Quote about Feminism

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

2. “I am grateful to be a woman. I must have done something great in another life.”

3. “One of the wonderful things about Oprah: She teaches you to keep on stepping.”

4. “You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.”5. “Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women.”

6. “The woman who survives intact and happy must be at once tender and tough.”

7. “I’m interested in women’s health because I’m a woman. I’d be a darn fool not to be on my own side.”

8. “The sadness of the women’s movement is that they don’t allow the necessity of love. See, I don’t personally trust any revolution where love is not allowed.”

9. “I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels.”

10. “Strong women- precious jewels all- their humanness is evident in their accessibility. We are able to enter into the spirit of these women and rejoice in their warmth and courage.”

11. “Don’t let the man bring you down.”

12. “Encouragement to all women is – let us try to offer help before we have to offer therapy. That is to say, let’s see if we can’t prevent being ill by trying to offer a love of prevention before illness.”

Maya Angelou Quotes about Self

Maya Angelou Quote about Self

1. “If I am not good to myself, how can I expect anyone else to be good to me?”

2. “What is a fear of living? It’s being preeminently afraid of dying. It is not doing what you came here to do, out of timidity and spinelessness. The antidote is to take full responsibility for yourself – for the time you take up and the space you occupy. If you don’t know what you’re here to do, then just do some good.”

3. “I got my own back.”

4. “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.”

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

6. “If our children are to approve of themselves, they must see that we approve of ourselves.”

7. “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 Quotes about Women

Maya Angelou Quote about Women

1. “Women should be tough, tender, laugh as much as possible, and live long lives.”

2. “A woman’s heart should be so hidden in God that a man has to seek Him just to find her.”

3. “Ritie, don’t worry ’cause you ain’t pretty. Plenty pretty women I seen digging ditches or worse. You smart. I swear to God, I rather you have a good mind than a cute behind.”

4. “I’m a religious woman. And I feel I have responsibility. I have no modesty at all. I’m even afraid of it – it’s a learned affectation and it’s just stuck on me like decals. Now I pray for humility because that comes from inside out.”

5. “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.”

6. “I would like to be known as an intelligent woman, a courageous woman, a loving woman, a woman who teaches by being.”

7. “Most plain girls are virtuous because of the scarcity of opportunity to be otherwise.”

Maya Angelou Quotes about Education

Maya Angelou Quote about Education

1. “In so many ways, segregation shaped me, and education liberated me.”

2. “My mother said I must always be intolerant of ignorance but understanding of illiteracy. That some people, unable to go to school, were more educated and more intelligent than college professors.”

3. “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.”

4. “I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn.”

5. “I had given up some youth for knowledge, but my gain was more valuable than the loss.”

Maya Angelou Quotes about Success

Maya Angelou Quote about Success

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

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

3. “Success is loving life and daring to live it.”

4. “Nothing succeeds like success. Get a little success, and then just get a little more.”

5. “Nothing will work unless you do.”

6. “All great achievements require time.”

7. “Ask for what you want and be prepared to get it!”

8. “The problem I have with haters is that they see my glory, but they don’t know my story.”

9. “Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you.”

10. “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 Quotes about Courage

Maya Angelou Quote about Courage

1. “Develop enough courage so that you can stand up for yourself and then stand up for somebody else.”

2. “The only thing is, people have to develop courage. It is most important of all the virtues. Because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtues consistently.”

3. “Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.”

4. “I think we all have empathy. We may not have enough courage to display it.”

5. “If we are bold, love strikes away the chains of fear from our souls.”

6. “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 Quotes about Family & Friendship

Maya Angelou Quote about Friendship

1. “No one can take the place of a friend, no one.”

2. “We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.”

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

4. “I have a feeling that I make a very good friend, and I’m a good mother, and a good sister, and a good citizen. I am involved in life itself – all of it. And I have a lot of energy and a lot of nerve.”

5. “The love of the family, the love of one person can heal. It heals the scars left by a larger society. A massive, powerful society.”

6. “I sustain myself with the love of family.”

7. “The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.”

Maya Angelou Quotes about Kindness

Maya Angelou Quote about Kindness

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

2. “I refuse to allow any man-made differences to separate me from any other human beings.”

3. “It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody.”

4. “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.’”

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

6. “Being free is being able to accept people for what they are, and not try to understand all they are or be what they are.”

7. “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.”8. “Be a rainbow in somebody else’s cloud.”

9. “It is a no-fail, incontrovertible reality: If you get, give. If you learn, teach. You can’t do anything with that except do it.”

Maya Angelou Quotes about Freedom & Equality

Maya Angelou Quote about Freedom

1. “The truth is, no one of us can be free until everybody is free.”

2. “It is impossible to struggle for civil rights, equal rights for blacks, without including whites. Because equal rights, fair play, justice, are all like the air: we all have it, or none of us has it. That is the truth of it.”

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

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

5. “Won’t it be wonderful when black history and native American history and Jewish history and all of U.S. history is taught from one book. Just U.S. history.”

6. “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.”

7. “We allow our ignorance to prevail upon us and make us think we can survive alone, alone in patches, alone in groups, alone in races, even alone in genders.”

Maya Angelou Quotes about Aging

Maya Angelou Quote about Aging

1. “At 50, I began to know who I was. It was like waking up to myself.”

2. “Most people don’t grow up. It’s too damn difficult. What happens is most people get older. That’s the truth of it. They honor their credit cards, they find parking spaces, they marry, they have the nerve to have children, but they don’t grow up.”

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

4. “I wasn’t a pretty girl. I was six feet tall at 15, you know.

5. “There is nothing so pitiful as a young cynic because he has gone from knowing nothing to believing nothing.”

6. “Don’t get older just to get wiser. If you get older, you will be wiser, I believe that – if you dare. But get older because it’s fun!”

7. “The most important thing I can tell you about aging is this: If you really feel that you want to have an off-the-shoulder blouse and some big beads and thong sandals and a dirndl skirt and a magnolia in your hair, do it. Even if you’re wrinkled.”

Maya Angelou Quotes about Gratitude

Maya Angelou Quote about Gratitude

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

2. “Be present in all things and thankful for all things.”

3. “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.”

4. “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.”

5. “Whenever I’m around some who is modest, I think, ‘Run like hell and all of fire.’ You don’t want modesty, you want humility.”

6. “To those who are given much, much is expected.”

These Maya Angelou quotes inspire us to love boldly and live life to the fullest, embracing changes fearlessly as they happen.

Angelou’s writings have had a profound impact on literature, culture, and society and she is celebrated as one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century and a beloved symbol of resilience, courage, and hope for generations to come.

Which of these Maya Angelou quotes left an impact on you?

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