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Maya Angelou Quotes: 10 Profound Sayings And Poems

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Incredible poet and author, Maya Angelou has led an extraordinary life, which she has beautifully documented in her series of works that includes “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” and “Gather Together in My Name”. Filled with remarkable highs, Angelou’s experiences also contain its share of devastating lows. Fear drove her to became voluntarily mute after a traumatic childhood experience, and it wasn’t until years later that the world of literature opened her up to speak (not to mention write) again.  Life was still harsh to Angelou, and after giving birth at the age of 17, she took on various jobs  just to make ends meet such as pimp, prostitute and club dancer.

But writing was her gift, one that would propel her to international acclaim. She’s met greats in the civil rights movement like Martin Luther King Jr., and later used her poetic power to advocate for civil rights herself.

Just take a look at an excerpt from her poem “Still I Rise”.

[quote_center]You may write me down in history With your bitter, twisted lies, You may trod me in the very dirt, But still, like dust, I’ll rise.[/quote_center]

Within that poem we get one of the most powerful Maya Angelou quotes of all. And in her typical style, it’s both concise and profound.

Not like you need proof that Angelou is a true treasure, but here are 10 more inspirational quotes you can apply to your life immediately.

 Maya Angelou Quotes: 10 Profound Life Lessons

1) “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.”

Our Interpretation: Actions speak louder than words but both fail in comparison to making someone feel truly special. Aim to make an impression on those you meet through good will and kind, thoughtful gestures.


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

Our Interpretation: Some secrets have the power to destroy if not told. Don’t be afraid to bare your soul to someone who loves you enough to listen.


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

Our Interpretation: Turn obstacles into opportunities rather than being defeated by them.


4) “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.”

Our Interpretation: Life is short. Focus on making every moment you have amazing.


5) 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


Phenomenal woman,

That’s me.

-Phenomenal woman

Our Interpretation: Greatness starts from within, and believing you are is the first step to achieving it.

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6) The race of man is suffering

And I can hear the moan,

‘Cause nobody,

But nobody

Can make it out here alone.

– Alone

Our Interpretation: At times, the world can be a cold place  filled with hardship and obstacles. The secret to overcoming it is to cultivate meaningful relationships with others.


7) Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently

Our Intepretation: Don’t allow yourself to be overcome by fear. Aim to be fearless.


8) “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”

Our Interpretation: Trust your gut. Don’t romanticize your relationships with others by discounting a persons actions.


9) “Ask for what you want and be prepared to get it.”

Our Interpretation: Be careful what you wish for. At times, the things we think are solutions will end up causing us more harm than good.


10) “If we lose love and self respect for each other, this is how we finally die.”

Our Interpretation: Love is the most powerful force in life. Don’t allow it to be diminished.


Do you have any motivational Maya Angelou quotes we may have missed? Let us know in the comments.

image via:  Rusty Darbonne ,  York College ISLGP

Written by Quotezine Team

Michelle Quinteros is a pop culture and lifestyle writer with a fancy degree from McMaster University. When she’s not writing for Quotezine, she can be found excessively quoting The Simpsons or binge watching Netflix.

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