29 Empowering Advice Quotes from Maya Angelou to Live By

We’ve gathered some exceptional quotes from the passionate and insightful Maya Angelou that everyone could use throughout their life.

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On the 9th anniversary of the prestigious Maya Angelou’s death, we would like to bring you words of wisdom from this masterful woman. Throughout 50 years of her professional career, she was a poet, essayist, and civil rights and women’s rights activist. She wrote several autobiographies and poetry collections and acted in several stage and television performances. With such an illustrious career and impactful life, she has provided quite an extensive list of quotes that inspire and can shape one’s outlook on life. 

Maya Angelou on Personal Connections

Unlike the old adage, blood is not always thicker than water. Whether your personal connections involve friends or family, though, make sure to keep those around you who have your best interest at heart. If you’re the first person they call, for good or bad, knowing you’ll be there for them, can you say the same for them?

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

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

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.

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


Maya Angelou on Personal Values

Understanding who we are as individuals and what we want to present to the world is fundamental to our integration into society. Having a set of values that strengthen yourself and those around you is an important toolbox that will be needed for the entirety of your life. 

Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.

My mother said I must always be intolerant of ignorance but understanding of illiteracy.

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.

Nothing will work unless you do.

Maya Angelou on Perseverance and Strength

There will come times in life when you will feel defeated and can no longer go on. Your dreams will have hit a roadblock on the highway to success; love may wither, and unforeseen circumstances change your course. Despite these, remember that for every situation you’re in, good or bad, this too shall pass. Chin up.

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

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

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

You may kill me with your hatefulness. But still, like air, I’ll rise.

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

Life Lessons from Maya Angelou

Young people are wont to take the advice of those older and wiser. We’ve all been there, thinking we know everything, at least until we’ve experienced it for ourselves. Maya provided us with some exceptional wisdom from her 86 years of life that should be listened to and perhaps read twice to allow it to sink in. 

All great achievements require time.

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

We spend precious hours fearing the inevitable. It would be wise to use that time adoring our families, cherishing our friends, and living our lives.

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.

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

Maya Angelou on Love

I think Maya may have been one of the best unintentional love gurus to grace the planet. Her perspective can be utilized with friends, lovers, acquaintances, and family. The emotional connections of love do not necessitate a strictly romantic view.

Love life. Engage in it. Give it all you’ve got. Love it with a passion because life truly does give back, many times over, what you put into it.

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.

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

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


Maya Angelou on Diversity and Equality

A staunch and vital advocate for civil rights at its height, Maya Angelou’s numerous speeches, her participation with civil rights leaders Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, and her politically charged writings should be studied in classrooms the world over. 

We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.

We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their color.

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

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

Maya Angelou on Women’s Worth 

Not only was Angelou an advocate for civil rights, but she also rallied for women’s equality, especially black women. She fought for the recognition and respect that women deserve. These quotes are not just in advocacy for men’s recognition but also for women to bolster their strength and courage and to recognize their exponential worth.  

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

A woman who is convinced that she deserves to accept only the best challenges herself to give the best. Then she is living phenomenally.

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

Maya Angelou led a remarkable life in service to others. She contributes to the arts in ways we may never see again. There are some people whose advice you can take with a grain of salt, but Angelou is one whose words resonate with passionate truth.

Click here to read more about Maya Angelou.