Not many people have inspired as many people as Maya Angelou. She had a slow, easy way of talking that was beautiful. Everything she said had meaning in it, which is probably why Maya Angelou quotes are some of the most powerful quotes for living a better life. She was also one woman who gave some powerful life lessons to some very powerful people, such as Oprah, and she can still give those lessons to us through the words she left behind. Following are 10 Maya Angelou quotes that remind us of what life is all about.
1. Break The Addiction Of Staying Silent
Maya Angelou felt that her words had killed the man who molested her, so she stopped talking for five years. She simply didn’t want to hurt anyone else with her words. In an interview, where she is talking about getting her voice back, she reflects on how being mute was so addictive. And, I think that many people can relate to this.
Saying nothing is often easier than saying something. Saying nothing means that you won’t offend anyone, hurt anyone, or tick off anyone, but it also means that you don’t get to be the person you were meant to be. You don’t get to say what you want, express yourself, and say the powerful words that help other people understand just how much you love them.
Can you imagine if Maya Angelou had not said anything else for the rest of her life? We would never have gotten to hear all her deep words of wisdom, like the Maya Angelou quotes in this article, and the world would have been less of a place for it. And the same applies to you!
If you don’t speak up when it counts, share your knowledge, and express your thoughts, you will not impact the world as you have the potential to do. So, despite what has happened to you, break the addiction and start using your words to create a better life, better relationships, and a better world.
2. Make Better Choices Than You Have
This powerful Maya Angelou quote was said at Bill Clinton’s first inauguration. It is a reminder to everyone that history has happened, but if we have the courage to change, do things better, and stand up for what is right, we don’t have to live it again. This can be applied to the world as a whole, but it can also be applied to your life as something that will move you to take action and make the changes that ensure you move forward without the pain of yesterday.
I think that everyone who is making new goals or habits in the coming year should put this quote up in as many places as changes there are to make. It is a simple truth that we all have the power to live, but so many of us ignore. We simply have to choose to build up our courage and make different and better choices every single day.
3. Create Some Boundaries In Your Life
When we don’t have boundaries in our life for what we will or will not do, life becomes harder. I know many people who have regrets from when they were younger. They didn’t have a personal line in place. They just did what was expected or what they felt pressured to do, and that left them with regret. The sad thing is that I know some adults who still haven’t put in place a personal line that they will not cross.
If you don’t have some clear and defined lines in your life, make them. Sit down and think about what makes you feel bad, hurts you, hurts other people, or could hurt you and other people, and make a choice to draw a line and not cross it, no matter what situation you are in. Then, stay within those boundaries. Don’t go somewhere you simply shouldn’t go.
4. Be Careful What You Say
Maya Angelou was talking about the n-word when she said this, but I think it can be applied to all words, ugly, beautiful, and everything in between. I still have words hanging around my home that I have said to other people and that they have said to me. Just because it only took a second to say those words doesn’t mean they don’t have the impact to hang around for a long time in the areas that they were said. We remember them. We relive the emotions we felt when we heard them. And, we can’t take back what we say.
Some words are very powerful. They can excite us or enrage us, and they don’t need to be surrounded by any other words to do so. That’s why you have to choose your words carefully when you speak. You don’t want them hanging around your home, sticking with you as you move through life, or clinging on to someone else in a negative way. If you want to make things better, happier, more joyful, in both your life and in other people’s lives, choose words that feel good and are welcome to stick around, such as ‘love’, ‘accepted’, and ‘blessing’.
5. Be A Shining Example Of Good
When talking about the rest of her life, Maya Angelou said the above. She wanted to use her opportunity to show the potential we have – how kind, intelligent, and generous we can be. And, in fact, she did do that with most of her life. She was an example that inspired people to be better, kinder, and more loving. She didn’t allow people to be unkind in her home, which was a reflection of what she really embodied as a person.
You have a chance to be a representative too. Right until you die you can be kind and loving or mean and hateful. You can inspire and uplift or you can drag people down and make them feel bad about themselves. The thing that Maya Angelou was trying to point out is that we all have the potential to be good and teach other people how to do the same.
If you can incorporate this into your life, and really lead by example, then you will benefit your life and other people’s lives in a positive way. That, in turn, will benefit your life in a positive way because it will benefit the world you live in.
6. Practice Kindness To Everyone
Maya Angelou hadn’t spent a lot of time with her mom, but when she started to, she said that she began to like her because she was kind. Even after everything that had happened and all the time apart, she was still drawn to her because of kindness. I think that this bodes very well for kindness and how powerful it can be.
In other words, if you are wondering why you should be a shining example for other people, it’s because people will like you more. Not always, but usually they will like you despite your history together. If you’ve had a rocky past, and you want to mend fences, then being kind is the leading way to do that.
Moreover, being kind in your everyday life to the people you love and to strangers will help you win people over too. Maya Angelou was an example of this. Your kindness will be obvious and you will inspire courage, love, and motivation simply by practicing concern and care for others in your presence.
7. Be Harmonious With Others
This was Maya Angelou’s reply to what unfinished business she felt she had. She first declared that she wanted to write better, which was an amazing statement from her. But, I think she really just wanted to resonate with people on a really deep level that maybe she didn’t believe she had done yet. At age 85 she said this and then died the next year.
She didn’t want to shock people, but instead become harmonious with them. She wanted to strike a chord in people that woke them up or helped them see through her words.
How many people are you resonating with in your life? Even though we are all different, there is a universal truth that we are all living. We all have a strong sense of what is right and wrong. We all have a strong sense of emotions and how we would feel put in any situation. We can resonate with other people by putting ourselves in their shoes because we have the capacity to understand a little bit of what they are going through. That’s the way to move through this world.
Be harmonious with them and get connected, no matter what past experiences you have had that they haven’t – or they have that you haven’t. When you live in a harmonious state, and see yourself in other’s shoes, the world will be a much friendlier and easier place to live.
8. Don’t Rely Solely On Yourself
This Maya Angelou quote was taken from a time when she was talking about writing the poem for Bill Clinton’s first inauguration. She said that she agreed to do it and then immediately started to pray, because she needed to ask for help from somewhere. If a woman who has a way with words, so much so that Bill Clinton requested her to come to his inauguration, reached out for help, then we all should be reaching out for help.
The truth is that we all need help, no matter how great we are or how far we have come. We need to feel as though there is someone standing by our side, whether it is a friend, lover, or God. If we don’t, we are taking on this world by ourselves, and that is a truly scary thought for most people.
Asking help from others, whoever they may be, is a great way to get answers, get support, and get moving. If you truly want to be successful in life, and make the most out of everything you do, have someone that you can talk to and rely on for advice and help when you need it most.
9. Make Moderation Your Top Priority In Life
On the Oprah show Maya Angelou was talking about being her 80s, and this is one of those Maya Angelou quotes that give a little glimpse into her philosophy without her actually saying it. She was implying that making it to your 80s required taking care of yourself by living with moderation in all things – but not getting too strict about it.
We’ve heard this time and time again! Moderation is the key. This is a mantra that we should all be living by. Too many of us overdo it and live in extremes, and that is what does us in. It stresses us out, makes us obese, makes us too thin, affects our happiness negatively, affects our relationships negatively, and causes us to live a life that isn’t balanced.
10. Celebrate Failures
Talking about things that go wrong, Maya Angelou said to say thank you. Why? Because when things don’t work out, something better is on the road for you! I have seen this repeatedly in my life.
For example, job opportunities lost, that seemed so devastating at the time, turned out a blessing because better job opportunities came along. Or, a breakup that seemed to have brought the world to a still resulted in someone better and more beneficial to appear.
Every failure will teach you something about yourself and your life, so use those lessons to make sure you spot those better opportunities on your road in life.
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