20 Maya Angelou Quotes To Inspire Your Life
After experiencing health issues for a number of years, Marguerite Annie Johnson Angelou, known simply and best as Maya Angelou, died on May 28, 2014 at her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She was 86.
The news of her passing spread quickly with thousands taking to social media to mourn and remember Angelou. Singer Mary J. Blige and politician Cory Booker were among those who tweeted their favorite quotes by her in tribute. President Barack Obama also issued a statement about Angelou, calling her “a brilliant writer, a fierce friend, and a truly phenomenal woman.” Angelou “had the ability to remind us that we are all God’s children; that we all have something to offer,” he wrote.
With dozens of awards and over 50 honorary degrees attesting to her inspirational role at the center of American life, Maya Angelou continues to be remembered as one of America’s most beloved and celebrated poets and authors.
In 1993, she was invited to recite her poem “On the Pulse of Morning” at Bill Clinton’s inauguration, making her the first poet since 1961 to deliver an inaugural recitation. Her lifetime of achievement was rewarded in 2000 when she received the National Medal of Arts, and in 2010 President Barack Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, one of the country’s highest honors.
Today, she is best known for her 1969 memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which made literary history as the first nonfiction best-seller by an African-American woman. Angelou received several honors throughout her career, including two NAACP Image Awards in the outstanding literary work (nonfiction) category, in 2005 and 2009.
As an activist, she became one of the Civil Rights Movement’s most prominent figures, working with Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, and devoting her life to being a tireless voice for women and black people — and, most of all, for an open-hearted vision of humanity where all could find their place. This is why her words have resonance for so many today, regardless of colour.
Here, we’ve gathered 20 of Maya Angelou’s most powerful and insightful quotes to awaken your heart and mind. In many ways, although she was not a Buddhist, her words align with the Buddhist teachings on awakening the compassionate heart and taking compassionate action.
- 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.
- You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.
- We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.
- I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.
- You can only become truly accomplished at something you love.
- If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.
- We need much less than we think we need.
If I am not good to myself, how can I expect anyone else to be good to me?
- Without courage we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.
- I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one.
- If you’re always trying to be normal you will never know how amazing you can be.
- Seek patience and passion in equal amounts. Patience alone will not build the temple. Passion alone will destroy its walls.
- Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.
- A wise woman wishes to be no one’s enemy; a wise woman refuses to be anyone’s victim.
- You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.
- Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take but by the moments that take your breath away.
- Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet.
- Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.
- There’s a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure the truth.
- When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.
- If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded.
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