Did You Know?
In 1993, Maya Angelou read her poem "On the Pulse of Morning" at Bill Clinton's swearing-in ceremony, making her the second poet in history to do so. The first poet was Robert Frost who spoke at John F. Kennedy's inaugural ceremony.
Maya Angelou, a world-renowned American poet, novelist, memoirist, educator, author, civil rights activist, and actress, died on Wednesday, May 28, 2014 at her home in Winston-Salem, N.C. at the age of 86. Being one of the most influential women of the 20th and the 21st century, she has inspired millions of people around the world.
Her death has left a huge void in the hearts of those whom she has inspired for years. Not just through her work, but also with her life and powerful words.
Inspirational Maya Angelou Quotes
Even though she isn't with us today, the years she has dedicated towards making people see the true meaning of life will linger. Compiled below is a minute sample of some of her most remarkable work.
"Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it."
"When you know better you do better."
"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."
"Ask for what you want and be prepared to get it!"
"Life is pure adventure, and the sooner we realize that, the quicker we will be able to treat life as art."
"Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud."
"I believe that each of us comes from the creator trailing wisps of glory."
"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."
"You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them."
"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."
"What you're supposed to do when you don't like a thing is change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. Don't complain."
"Nothing can dim the light which shines from within."
"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."
"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."
"The desire to reach for the stars is ambitious. The desire to reach hearts is wise."
"I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way (s)he handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights."
"You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody."
"Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet."
"Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness."
"Hoping for the best, prepared for the worst, and unsurprised by anything in between."
"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."
"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 someone shows you who they are believe them; the first time."
"When you learn, teach, when you get, give."
"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."
"I've learned that making a 'living' is not the same thing as 'making a life'."
"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."
"I speak to the Black experience, but I am always talking about the human condition―about what we can endure, dream, fail at and survive."
"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."
"Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option."
"Women should be tough, tender, laugh as much as possible, and live long lives."
"The need for change bulldozed a road down the center of my mind."
"No matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow."
"Listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God."
"I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it."
"Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time."
"If I am not good to myself, how can I expect anyone else to be good to me?"
"We can learn to see each other and see ourselves in each other and recognize that human beings are more alike than we are unalike."
"It's one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody."
"We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty."
"I don't trust anyone who doesn't laugh."
"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."
"We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated."
"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."
"A woman's heart should be so hidden in God that a man has to seek Him just to find her."
"When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed."
"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."
"One isn't necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest."
"Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can't practice any other virtue consistently."
"Live as though life was created for you."
"To those who have given up on love: I say, 'Trust life a little bit.'"
"Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope."
"Love is like a virus. It can happen to anybody at any time."
"The ache for home lives in all of us. The safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned."
"The main thing in one's own private world is to try to laugh as much as you cry."
"Everything in the universe has a rhythm, everything dances."
"You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have."
"I hope that I may always desire more than I can accomplish."
"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."
"There is a very fine line between loving life and being greedy for it."
"As soon as healing takes place, go out and heal somebody else."
On May 23, 2014, Angelou made her final public statement via a Tweet. It reads: Listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God.