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20 Maya Angelou Quotes to Uplift and Inspire You

Let these words from the beloved poet and civil rights activist embolden you.

Portrait of Maya Angelou on watercolor backgroundGetty Images (2)

She knows why the caged bird sings

We all know that Maya Angelou was an American national treasure. Her creative and activist work has been deeply important for Black Americans, as well as hugely impactful on American culture as a whole. She was a true Renaissance woman, with a career spanning over 50 years that included amazing achievements in nearly every art form. Maya Angelou always forged her own path with wisdom and grace, and this list of her most moving quotes will inspire you to do the same. And for moments when you need a little pre-caffeine motivation, these 50 morning quotes will help you wake up inspired.

"Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud." —Maya Angelourd.com, Getty Images

Shine a little light

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

To spread positivity everywhere you go, you need these happiness quotes.

"Life loves to be taken by the lapel and told, 'I’m with you, kid. Let’s go.'” —Maya Angelourd.com, Getty Images

Finding your own path

“Life loves to be taken by the lapel and told, ‘I’m with you, kid. Let’s go.’” —Maya Angelou

For even more motivation, check out these quotes from eternal optimists.

"Nothing will work unless you do." —Maya Angelourd.com, Getty Images

Realizing your dreams

“Nothing will work unless you do.” —Maya Angelou

These quotes from amazing women who changed history will get you feeling fired up.

"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." —Maya Angelourd.com, Getty Images

First impressions

“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.” —Maya Angelou

They say wisdom comes with age, but you can get a jump on it with these wise quotes.

"If you don't like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude." —Maya Angelourd.com, Getty Images

Being resourceful

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

These Ernest Hemingway quotes will help you to live boldly.

"When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time." —Maya Angelourd.com, Getty Images

Protecting yourself

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

Sometimes, people just aren’t who you want them to be. These relationship quotes will help you after any breakup.

 

"If we lose love and self respect for each other, this is how we finally die." —Maya Angelourd.com, Getty Images

Cultivating kindness

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

Get your good feelings flowing with these beautiful gratitude quotes.

"We may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated." —Maya Angelourd.com, Getty Images

Staying determined

“We may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated.” —Maya Angelou

These Walt Disney quotes will help you find your inner strength.

"I've learned that making a living is not the same thing as making a life." —Maya Angelourd.com, Getty Images

Living with meaning

“I’ve learned that making a living is not the same thing as making a life.” —Maya Angelou

Looking for a more fulfilling life? Use these graduation quotes for inspiration.

"One isn't necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest." —Maya Angelourd.com, Getty Images

Choosing courage

“One isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.” —Maya Angelou

These life-changing quotes are there for you when you need some extra wisdom.

"Lift up your hearts. Each new hour holds new chances for new beginnings." —Maya Angelourd.com, Getty Images

Embracing possibility

“Lift up your hearts. Each new hour holds new chances for new beginnings.” —Maya Angelou

"You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them." —Maya Angelourd.com, Getty Images

Inner strength

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

"We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty." —Maya Angelourd.com, Getty Images

Respecting the process

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” —Maya Angelou

These uplifting quotes from Oscar acceptance speeches will leave you feeling inspired.

"Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option." —Maya Angelourd.com, Getty Images

Knowing your worth

“Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.” —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 Angelourd.com, Getty Images

Staying grounded

“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

Laughter really is the best medicine. Get your daily dose with these hilarious quotes.

"If I am not good to myself, how can I expect anyone else to be good to me?" —Maya Angelourd.com, Getty Images

Practicing self care

“If I am not good to myself, how can I expect anyone else to be good to me?” —Maya Angelou

"Seek patience and passion in equal amounts. Patience alone will not build the temple. Passion alone will destroy its walls." —Maya Angelourd.com, Getty Images

Keeping balanced

“Seek patience and passion in equal amounts. Patience alone will not build the temple. Passion alone will destroy its walls.” —Maya Angelou

These quotes will make you think about the meaning of life.

"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you." —Maya Angelourd.com, Getty Images

Speaking your truth

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” —Maya Angelou

"Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope." —Maya Angelourd.com, Getty Images

The power of love

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

Love comes in all forms. These best friend quotes will make you feel all warm and fuzzy.

"Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better." —Maya Angelourd.com, Getty Images

Never stop learning

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” —Maya Angelou

Love to read? Bookworms will enjoy these reading quotes—they’re real page-turners.

Originally Published in Reader's Digest