A writer, poet, activist, singer, feminist and champion of civil rights, Maya Angelou’s life and writing continue to offer a rich source of inspiration and advice. Here are 20 pieces of wisdom from an extraordinary woman:
Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women.
I would like to be known as an intelligent woman, a courageous woman, a loving woman, a woman who teaches by being.
I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn.
Seek patience and passion in equal amounts. Patience alone will not build the temple. Passion alone will destroy its walls.
Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.
My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry; to get my work done, to try and love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return.
You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.
Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.
Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.
We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.
The desire to reach the stars is ambitious. The desire to reach hearts is wise and most possible.
As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.
In all my work, in the movies I write, the lyrics, the poetry, the prose, the essays, I am saying that we may encounter many defeats – maybe it’s imperative that we encounter the defeats – but we are much stronger that we appear to be and maybe much better than we allow ourselves to be.
If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.
It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody.
Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future and renders the present inaccessible.
Nothing will work unless you do.
Continue to be who and how you are, to astonish a mean world with acts of kindness. Continue to allow humour to lighten the burden of your tender heart.
There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.
I’m grateful to be a woman. I must have done something great in another life.