We have gathered together some of the best Maya Angelou quotes. These beautiful words of wisdom from Civil rights activist, Dr. Maya Angelou have a deeper meaning to contemplate and ponder in our lives.
Maya Angelou is a huge inspiration to so many of us. Her words have stayed with me since I first read her books at around 14 or 15 years old, and her wisdom stays relevant from generation to generation.
Here are some of our favorite Maya Angelou quotes, split into themes to make it easy to find the words you need.
Ultimately all of these themes come back to self love in different forms, from overcoming hardships and giving yourself credit for the things you learned along the way, to maintaining boundaries and excepting and accepting the best from others.
Maya Angelou on Self Love
You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.Maya Angelou
“When you know you are of worth — not asking it but knowing it — you walk into a room with a particular power.”Maya Angelou
Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.Maya Angelou
If you are always trying to be normal you will never know how amazing you can be.Maya Angelou
If you’re a human being, you can attempt to do what other human beings have done. We don’t understand talent any more than we understand electricity.Maya Angelou
Each of us has that right, that possibility, to invent ourselves daily. If a person does not invent herself, she will be invented. So, to be bodacious enough to invent ourselves is wise.Maya Angelou
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.Maya Angelou
I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou on Forgiveness
The most important person to forgive first and foremost is always your self. Self forgiveness goes hand in hand with self love, and is essential for moving forward.
“Forgive yourself for not knowing what you didn’t know before you learned it.”Maya Angelou
It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody.Maya Angelou
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.Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou on Overcoming Difficulties
Maya Angelou’s life was filled with many obstacles from the moment she was born in 1928 in St. Louis, Missouri. She faced racism, sexism, poverty, being abandoned by her parents and raped by her mother’s boyfriend, causing her to become mute for years of her childhood.
Despite her huge challenges, Dr Maya Angelou has wise words on how to overcome hardships and go on to thrive.
We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.Maya Angelou
Look what you’ve already come through! Don’t deny it. You’ve already come through some things, which are very painful. If you’ve been alive until you’re 35, you have gone through some pain. It cost you something. And you’ve come through it. So at least look at that. And have a sense to look at yourself and say, “Well, wait a minute. I’m stronger than I thought I was.”Maya Angelou
Someone was hurt before you, wronged before you, hungry before you, frightened before you, beaten before you, humiliated before you, raped before you… yet, someone survived… You can do anything you choose to do.Maya Angelou
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.Maya Angelou
I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.Maya Angelou
Surviving is important. Thriving is elegant.Maya Angelou
“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou Self Love Quotes For Empowerment After Sexual Abuse
‘There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.’Maya Angelou
A wise woman wishes to be no one’s enemy; a wise woman refuses to be anyone’s victim.Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou on Anger
Anger is not a negative emotion, it is often justified and often powerful. Anger is how we push for change.
You should be angry. You must not be bitter. Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. It doesn’t do anything to the object of its displeasure. So use that anger. You write it. You paint it. You dance it. You march it. You vote it. You do everything about it. You talk it. Never stop talking it.Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou on Courage
I believe that the most important single thing, beyond discipline and creativity is daring to dare.Maya Angelou
Develop enough courage so that you can stand up for yourself and then stand up for somebody else.Maya Angelou
If one has courage, nothing can dim the light which shines from within.Maya Angelou
Continue to be bold, courageous. Try to choose the wisest thing and once you’ve chosen the wisest thing go out and try to achieve it. Be it.Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou on Life
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 assMaya Angelou
“Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet.”Maya Angelou
“Live as though life was created for you.”Maya Angelou
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 returnMaya Angelou
“I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.”Maya Angelou
“Seek patience and passion in equal amounts. Patience alone will not build the temple. Passion alone will destroy its walls.Maya Angelou
A cynical young person is almost the saddest sight to see, because it means that he or she has gone from knowing nothing to believing nothing.Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou on Self Improvement
Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.Maya Angelou
Nothing will work unless you doMaya Angelou
Maya Angelou on Giving
I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.Maya Angelou
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.Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou on Relationships, Love and Boundaries
If someone shows you who they really are, believe them.Maya Angelou
Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.Maya Angelou
“If I am not good to myself, how can I expect anyone else to be good to me?”Maya Angelou
“When people see the laughing face, even if they’re jealous of it, their burden is lightened. But do it first for yourself. Laugh and dare to try to love somebody, starting with yourself.”Maya Angelou
“I not only have the right to stand up for myself, but I have the responsibility. I can’t ask somebody else to stand up for me if I won’t stand up for myself. And once you stand up for yourself, you’d be surprised that people say, “Can I be of help?”Maya Angelou
Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou on Female Empowerment
Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women.Maya Angelou
“I am a Woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal Woman, that’s me.”Maya Angelou
Long and Deep Maya Angelou Self Love Quote
We have shared many impactful short Maya Angelou quotes and here is a longer one to read and contemplate.
If you can’t get enough, then check out some of her books and keep reading.
“I don’t know if I continue, even today, always liking myself. But what I learned to do many years ago was to forgive myself. It is very important for every human being to forgive herself or himself because if you live, you will make mistakes- it is inevitable.
But once you do and you see the mistake, then you forgive yourself and say, ‘Well, if I’d known better I’d have done better,’ that’s all.
So you say to people who you think you may have injured, ‘I’m sorry,’ and then you say to yourself, ‘I’m sorry.’
If we all hold on to the mistake, we can’t see our own glory in the mirror because we have the mistake between our faces and the mirror; we can’t see what we’re capable of being.
You can ask forgiveness of others, but in the end the real forgiveness is in one’s own self.
I think that young men and women are so caught by the way they see themselves. Now mind you. When a larger society sees them as unattractive, as threats, as too black or too white or too poor or too fat or too thin or too sexual or too asexual, that’s rough. But you can overcome that.
The real difficulty is to overcome how you think about yourself. If we don’t have that we never grow, we never learn, and sure as hell we should never teach.”Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou Phenomenal Woman Poem
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,
They say they still can’t see.
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need for my care.
’Cause I’m a woman
Maya Angelou, “Phenomenal Woman” from And Still I Rise. Copyright © 1978 by Maya Angelou. Used by permission of Random House, an imprint and division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved. Source: The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou (Random House Inc., 1994)
Maya Angelou Books
Along with all of Maya Angelou’s great achievements, she has 18 best selling books, including books of poetry and autobiographies, and 38 books in total. The most famous of which is her autobiography, I know why the caged bird sings.
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Anna is a Wales-based writer and graduate from SOAS University of London.
As the voice behind On Your Journey, she empowers women to embrace holistic well-being and spiritual growth through her expert insights into wellness and symbolism.
When she isn't writing thought-provoking articles, you'll find her busy crafting and raising her 4 children.