Maya Angelou Quotes to Uplift and Inspire You: A Guide

Maya Angelou, one of the most iconic poets and authors of the 21st century, has written and spoken many works throughout her lifetime that have inspired millions of people around the world. Her words and insights have been able to provide comfort and strength during hard times, and can help others to remember their power in moments of doubt. Here is a guide of Maya Angelou’s quotes to uplift, comfort, and inspire you, along with some of her personal stories that have deeply impacted and moved many people in the present day.

Who was Maya Angelou?

Maya Angelou was one of the most renowned African American female authors, poets, playwrights, and activists of all time. Born in 1928 in St. Louis, Missouri, Angelou wrote some of the most iconic works of the 20th and 21st centuries including, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, A Brave and Startling Truth, and The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou. Angelou was, and continues to be, an influential figure in both the Civil Rights and Women’s Rights movements. Her works communicated to both her audience and her peers that a voice can be used to speak and to stand up for what matters.

5 Notable Maya Angelou Quotes

With such a unique and powerful voice, Maya Angelou has left so many enduring quotes, but here are five that may be especially meaningful for those looking for strength and comfort in times of adversity.

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

This quote serves as a reminder to take control of the situations that we are in and to do whatever we can to address our current experiences. This is an empowering quote, as it choses not to stay powerless, but instead advocates for taking an active role in any situation where one may feel vulnerable.

  1. “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 is one of Angelou’s most widely known quotes. It serves to remind us that any action that we take must come from a place of pure intention and consciousness. Despite any adversities or situations, it is important to remain mindful of our values, and to put any disdain and anger on the sidelines, in order to lead with love.

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

This quote reminds us that it is not just our experiences, but those of the people around us, that can shape and provide light. This is especially relevant in times of need or duress, as it serves to remind us that we always have the capacity to support and encourage each other.

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

This quote speaks to Maya Angelou’s greatest beliefs, that it is worth expressing sincere kindness to those around us, regardless of the situation. Despite anything that comes our way it is important to remember what matters and to show love to anyone at any time.

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

This is a great reminder to differentiate between our hopes and expectations, and the reality of any situation. If a person expresses themselves in a certain way it is important to respect the boundaries that they have set, no matter how difficult it may be.

10 Life-Changing Maya Angelou Quotes for Strength and Comfort

There are countless Maya Angelou quotes that have had a deep and lasting impact on many people in times of duress and need. Here are ten of the most powerful ones to inspire strength and comfort in any situation.

  1. “I’ve learned that courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you cannot practice any other virtue consistently.”

  2. “Someone, somewhere will forgive you. But you must forgive yourself.”

  3. “Nothing will work unless you do.”

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

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

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

  7. “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.”

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

  9. “I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way they handle these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.”

  10. “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”

What Makes Maya Angelou Quotes So Moving?

Maya Angelou was one of the most beloved storytellers of our generation. Her words were a reflection of her own life and struggles, and as such people were able to relate to her experiences, whether it be societal oppression, limited opportunities, or anything that threatened her freedom. What made Angelou different, was the way she used her language. She crafted quotes and stories that transcended the boundaries of race and gender and served as a window into a life that many people of her generation had, but was often ignored and denied. Many of her popular quotes come from cherished pieces of hers such as I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and Phenomenal Woman and are a reflection of her strength and courage, urging her readers to do the same.

What Makes Maya Angelou Quotes Relevant Today?

Whether it be in moments of doubt or strength and in times of joy or despair, Maya Angelou’s words are just as relevant and powerful today as they were when she spoke them three decades ago. Her quotes are timeless and can be linked to the everyday lives of so many people today. Her words provide them with the strength and courage to stand up for what is right and to fight against any inequities that they encounter along the way. With her work, Angelou continues to empower people of all backgrounds to remember the power of their words, and to use their voice as a tool of liberation today.

Maya Angelou’s words of wisdom have been able to transcend time and still inspire people around the world today. Her quotes are still incredibly relevant and inspiring, and can provide comfort, strength, and courage in moments of need. From her stories to her quotes, Maya Angelou has left an indelible legacy that continues to live on through her work, reminding us all of our power and courage to rise above any adversities that come our way.