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117 Of Maya Angelou’s Most Inspiring Quotes To Make A Positive Change

Maya Angelou is one of the most influential voices of our time.

Her words have touched the hearts and minds of millions, inspiring us to be our best selves and to strive for a better world.

As a young woman, I first discovered Maya Angelou's work through her poetry, which spoke to me in a way that few other writers had.

Her words were raw, powerful, and unapologetically honest, and they made me feel seen and understood in a way that I never had before.

One of Maya Angelou's most famous quotes is "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."

This quote has become a guiding principle in my life, reminding me to always be kind and compassionate towards others, and to strive to make a positive impact in the world.

Another one of Maya Angelou's famous quotes that has resonated with me is "If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude."

This quote has inspired me to take control of my own life and to approach challenges with a positive mindset.

It has taught me that while we may not always be able to control our circumstances, we can control how we react to them.

Maya Angelou's words have touched the lives of so many, and her legacy continues to inspire us today.

Her poetry, books, and speeches have become a source of comfort and inspiration for people all over the world, and her wisdom and insights continue to resonate with us years after her passing.

As I reflect on Maya Angelou's life and legacy, I am reminded of the power of words to uplift, inspire, and transform us.

Maya Angelou's words have had a profound impact on my life, and I know that I am not alone in this.

Her message of hope, courage, and resilience continues to inspire us to this day, and her words will continue to guide us as we navigate the challenges of life.

​​Inspirational Quotes

"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."

"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'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.”

"Without courage we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest."

“‎The desire to reach the stars is ambitious. The desire to reach hearts is wise and most possible.”

"Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time."

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

​​Inspirational Quotes

"It's one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself: to forgive. Forgive everybody."

"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.”

"If you're always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.”

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

"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.”

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

"People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

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

"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.”

"Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better."

“Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.”

"You can only become truly accomplished at something you love."

"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."

​​Inspirational Quotes

"Courage – you develop courage by doing small things like just as if you wouldn’t want to pick up a 100-pound weight without preparing yourself."

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

"I got my own back."

"Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take but by the moments that take your breath away."

"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."

"I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision."

"Determine to live life with flair and laughter."

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"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."

"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."

"Most plain girls are virtuous because of the scarcity of opportunity to be otherwise."

"I am a Woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal Woman, that’s me."

"In diversity there is beauty and there is strength."

"If I am not good to myself, how can I expect anyone else to be good to me?"

"When members of a society wish to secure that society’s rich heritage they cherish their arts and respect their artists. The esteem with which we regard the multiple cultures offered in our country enhances our possibilities for healthy survival and continued social development."

"I respect myself and insist upon it from everybody. And because I do it, I then respect everybody, too."

"Find a beautiful piece of art. If you fall in love with Van Gogh or Matisse or John Oliver Killens, or if you fall love with the music of Coltrane, the music of Aretha Franklin, or the music of Chopin – find some beautiful art and admire it, and realize that that was created by human beings just like you, no more human, no less."

"We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty."

"Everybody born comes from the Creator trailing wisps of glory. We come from the Creator with creativity. I think that each one of us is born with creativity."

"Seek patience and passion in equal amounts. Patience alone will not build the temple. Passion alone will destroy its walls."

"I believe in living a poetic life, an art full life. Everything we do from the way we raise our children to the way we welcome our friends is part of a large canvas we are creating."

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

"I believe that the most important single thing, beyond discipline and creativity is daring to dare."

"You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have."

"When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time."

"We are all creative, but by the time we are three of four years old, someone has knocked the creativity out of us. Some people shut up the kids who start to tell stories. Kids dance in their cribs, but someone will insist they sit still. By the time the creative people are ten or twelve, they want to be like everyone else."

"I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn."

"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you."

"Creativity or talent, like electricity, is something I don’t understand but something I’m able to harness and use. While electricity remains a mystery, I know I can plug into it and light up a cathedral or a synagogue or an operating room and use it to help save a life. Or I can use it to electrocute someone. Like electricity, creativity makes no judgment. I can use it productively or destructively. The important thing is to use it. You can’t use up creativity. The more you use it, the more you have."

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"Though we are many, each of us is achingly alone, piercingly alone. Only when we confess our confusion can we remember that he was a gift to us and we did have him. He came to us from the creator, trailing creativity in abundance. Despite the anguish, his life was sheathed in mother love, family love, and survived and did more than that. He thrived with passion and compassion, humor and style. We had him whether we know who he was or did not know, he was ours and we were his."

"If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform one million realities."

"I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one."

"There’s a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure the truth."

"We are only as blind as we want to be."

​​Inspirational Quotes

Life Quotes

"Love is like a virus. It can happen to anybody at any time."

"If you are always trying to be normal you will never know how amazing you can be."

"All great achievements require time."

"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!"

"At 50, I began to know who I was. It was like waking up to myself."

"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 have only one smile in you give it to the people you love."

"While I know myself as a creation of God, I am also obligated to realize and remember that everyone else and everything else is also God’s creation."

RELATED: 73 Uplifting Affirmations To Inspire Positive Thinking

"We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated."

"If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain."

" believe that every person is born with talent."

"If you are going down a road and don’t like what’s in front of you, and look behind you and don’t like what you see, get off the road. Create a new path!"

​​Inspirational Quotes

"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."

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

"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."

“Hope and fear cannot occupy the same space. Invite one to stay."

"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."

"Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning."

"History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again."

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"One isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency."

"Open your eyes to the beauty around you, open your mind to the wonders of life, open your heart to those who love you, and always be true to yourself."

"It's not where your dreams take you, it's where you take your dreams."

​​Inspirational Quotes

More Powerful & Motivational Quotes

"We need much less than we think we need."

"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."

"When I forgive other people, I let them go, I free them from my ignorance. And as soon as I do, I feel lighter, brighter and better."

"The children to whom we read simple stories may or may not show gratitude, but each boon we give strengthens the pillars of the world."

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

"I want all my senses engaged. Let me absorb the world’s variety and uniqueness."

"You can’t really know where you are going until you know where you have been."

"You can ask forgiveness of others, but in the end the real forgiveness is in one’s own self."

"Forgive yourself for not knowing what you didn’t know before you learned it."

“You may write me down in history with your bitter, twisted lines. You may trod me in the very dirt, but still, like dust, I’ll rise."

"Only equals can become friends."

"Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option."

"I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t laugh."

"If one has courage, nothing can dim the light which shines from within."

"Everybody is worth everything."

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

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"The best candy shop a child can be left alone in, is the library."

"When you know you are of worth — not asking it but knowing it — you walk into a room with a particular power."

"The needs of a society determine its ethics."

​​Inspirational Quotes

"Grace is like a lake of drinkable water right outside your door. But you stay inside and die of thirst."

"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 you."

"Ask for what you want and be prepared to get it!"

"You don’t have to think about doing the right thing. If you’re for the right thing, then you do it without thinking."

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

"It’s very important to know the neighbor next door and the people down the street and the people in another race."

"Be certain that you do not die without having done something wonderful for humanity."

"Life is pure adventure, and the sooner we realize that, the quicker we will be able to treat life as art."

"I do my best because I’m counting on you counting on me."

"I know why the caged bird sings."

"The idea is to write it so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart."

"I can be changed by what happens to me, but I refuse to be reduced by it."

"When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed."

"This is a wonderful day, I have never seen this one before."

"The desire to reach for the stars is ambitious. The desire to reach hearts is wise."

"Your belief and your work will speak for you."

"To develop courage you have to start developing courage as you do any other muscle. You have to start with small things and build it up."

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

"Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women."

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"We need to not be in denial about what we’ve done, what we’ve come through. It will help us if we all do that."

"When was the last time anyone told you how important you are?"

"You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody."

​​Inspirational Quotes

How Can Quotes Help You?

Quotes can help you in numerous facets of your life:

  1. Inspiration: Quotes can provide inspiration and motivation to pursue your dreams and goals.
  2. Positive Thinking: They can encourage positive thinking and help shift your perspective.
  3. Overcoming Challenges: Quotes can offer comfort and encouragement during tough times.
  4. Personal Growth: They can help you reflect on your life and inspire personal growth and self-improvement.
  5. Mindfulness: Quotes can help you become more mindful and present in the moment.
  6. Empowerment: They can empower you to take control of your life and make positive changes.
  7. Clarity: They can provide clarity and insight into complex situations and emotions.
  8. Self-Discovery: Quotes can help you discover your values, beliefs, and purpose in life.
  9. Relationships: They can offer guidance and wisdom on relationships and communication.
  10. Mental Wellness: Quotes can contribute to overall mental wellness by promoting positive thoughts and emotions.

How Can Quotes From Maya Angelou Help You?

Reading Maya Angelou quotes can be a powerful tool for personal growth and inspiration.

Maya Angelou was a prolific writer, poet, and activist who shared her experiences and insights on a wide range of topics, including race, gender, love, and spirituality.

Her words have the power to move and inspire us, and reading her quotes can help us in a number of ways.

One way that reading Maya Angelou quotes can help us is by providing us with a new perspective on life.

Her words often challenge our assumptions and encourage us to see things in a different way.

This can help us break free from limiting beliefs and see new opportunities that we may have otherwise missed.

Another way that reading Maya Angelou quotes can help us is by providing us with inspiration and motivation.

Her words are often filled with hope, courage, and resilience, and they can help us find the strength and determination to overcome challenges in our own lives.

Her quotes can also inspire us to take action and make positive changes in our lives and in the world around us.

Finally, reading Maya Angelou quotes can help us connect with others on a deeper level.

Her words often speak to the universal human experience, and they can help us feel less alone in our struggles and more connected to others.

Her quotes can also help us understand the experiences and perspectives of those who are different from us, fostering empathy and compassion.

RELATED: 180 Inspiring Quotes To Appreciate Yourself

Next Steps

Implementing Maya Angelou quotes into your life can be a powerful way to gain new insights, find inspiration, and improve your overall well-being.

Here are a few ways you can incorporate Maya Angelou's words into your daily life:

  1. Choose A Quote That Speaks To You: Spend some time reading through Maya Angelou's quotes and choose one that resonates with you. Write it down on a piece of paper or in a journal and keep it somewhere you can see it regularly, like on your desk or bathroom mirror. This can help remind you of the quote's message and inspire you to apply it to your life.
  2. Reflect On The Quote's Meaning: Once you have chosen a quote, take some time to reflect on its meaning and how it applies to your life. Think about how you can incorporate the quote's message into your daily routine or how it can help you approach challenges in a more positive way.
  3. Share The Quote With Others: Maya Angelou's words are powerful, and sharing them with others can help spread positivity and inspiration. Consider sharing the quote on social media, sending it to a friend who may need some encouragement, or discussing it with a loved one.
  4. Use The Quote As A Mantra: If there is a specific challenge or situation in your life that you are struggling with, consider using the quote as a mantra to help you stay focused and positive. Repeat the quote to yourself when you are feeling overwhelmed or discouraged, and let its message guide you.
  5. Apply The Quote's Message To Your Actions: Maya Angelou's words are not just meant to be read or reflected upon - they are meant to inspire action. Consider how you can apply the quote's message to your daily actions and decisions. For example, if the quote is about being kind to others, make a conscious effort to show kindness to those around you.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Some Of Maya Angelou's Most Famous Quotes?

Maya Angelou was known for her powerful and inspiring words, and there are many quotes that have become famous over the years.

Some of her most well-known quotes include: "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," "If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude," and "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."

What Themes Do Maya Angelou's Quotes Often Explore?

Maya Angelou's quotes often explore themes of resilience, hope, courage, and personal growth.

Her words are often deeply personal and reflect her own experiences as a Black woman in America.

She also frequently addresses topics such as racism, gender inequality, and social justice.

How Can Maya Angelou's Quotes Help Me In My Daily Life?

Maya Angelou's quotes can be a powerful source of inspiration and motivation in our daily lives.

Her words can help us gain new perspectives on life, find the strength and resilience to overcome challenges, and inspire us to be our best selves.

By reflecting on her quotes and applying their messages to our own lives, we can grow and improve in meaningful ways.

Additionally, Maya Angelou's words can help us connect with others and foster empathy and compassion for those around us.

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117 Of Maya Angelou’s Most Inspiring Quotes To Make A Positive Change