21 Beautiful Maya Angelou Quotes to Live by

Whether you’re worried about life, love or your career, Angelou’s inspirational wisdom has got you covered

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Maya Angelou — a renowned poet, author, playwright, teacher, civil rights activist, speaker, actress and filmmaker — died in 2014, but left behind a lifetime of advice for the living.

Throughout her 86 years on this planet, during which she rose above sexual abuse, poverty and prostitution to become a Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, she shared her wisdom through almost every medium available, including seven autobiographies, three Grammy-winning spoken word albums, countless speeches and poems.

Also read: Maya Angelou, Famed Poet and Author, Dead at 86

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In honor of Angelou’s death, celebrate her life and remember her words, which can often inspire as much as they enlighten.

Here are 21 of her quotes to live by:

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

2. “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.”

3. “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

4. “When I look back, I am so impressed again with the life-giving power of literature. If I were a young person today, trying to gain a sense of myself in the world, I would do that again by reading, just as I did when I was young.”

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

6. “You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.”

7. “I’ve learned that making a ‘living’ is not the same thing as ‘making a life’.”

8. “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”

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

10. “If I am not good to myself, how can I expect anyone else to be good to me?”

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

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

13. “Most people don’t grow up. Most people age. They find parking spaces, honor their credit cards, get married, have children, and call that maturity. What that is, is aging.”

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

15. “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.”

16. “I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life.”

17. “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.”

18. “We need much less than we think we need.”

19. “I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t laugh.”

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

21. “I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn.”