Maya Angelou, the award-winning writer, poet, actress, and civil rights activist, left behind so many valuable and life-changing lessons for all of us to learn. And today I will be sharing with you, 21 of these powerful lessons.

21 Life-Changing Lessons to Learn from Maya Angelou

Enjoy 🙂

1. Love liberates.

“Love liberates. It doesn’t just hold—that’s ego. Love liberates. It doesn’t bind. Love says, ‘I love you. I love you if you’re in China. I love you if you’re across town. I love you if you’re in Harlem. I love you. I would like to be near you. I’d like to have your arms around me. I’d like to hear your voice in my ear. But that’s not possible now, so I love you. Go.” ~ Maya Angelou

2. Attitude is everything.

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

3. Respect yourself.

“I respect myself and insist upon it from everybody. And because I do it, I then respect everybody, too.”

4. You are more than what happens to you.

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them. Try to be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud. Do not complain. Make every effort to change things you do not like. If you cannot make a change, change the way you have been thinking. You might find a new solution.”

5. You can only love others as much as you love yourself.

“I do not trust people who don’t love themselves and yet tell me, ‘I love you.’ There is an African saying which is: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.”

21 Life-Changing Lessons to Learn from Maya Angelou

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

6. Life isn’t about surviving but about thriving.

“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

7. You should never lose your faith in LOVE.

“Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.” 

“To those who have given up on love: I say, “Trust life a little bit.”

8. Ask and you shall receive.

“Ask for what you want and be prepared to get it!” 

“Love life. Engage in it. Give it all you’ve got. Love it with a passion because life truly does give back, many times over, what you put into it.” ~ Maya Angelou

9. You alone are enough.

“You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.”

10. Challenges are opportunities for growth.

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”

“You may shoot me with your words, you may cut me with your eyes, you may kill me with your hatefulness, but still, like air, I’ll rise!”

11. There’s a difference between merely aging and growing up.

“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.”

12. Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.

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

21 Life-Changing Lessons to Learn from Maya Angelou

13. Your parents will always be your parents.

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

14. Nothing lasts forever. Appreciate everything while you still have it.

“There were people who went to sleep last night, poor and rich and white and black, but they will never wake again. And those dead folks would give anything at all for just five minutes of this weather or ten minutes of plowing. So you watch yourself about complaining. What you’re supposed to do when you don’t like a thing is change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.”

15. You weren’t born to blend in, you were born to stand out.

“If you are always trying to be normal you will never know how amazing you can be.” ~ Maya Angelou

16. Making a living is not the same as making a life.

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

17. Dreams won’t work unless you do.

“Nothing will work unless you do.”

18. Great things take time.

“All great achievements require time.”

19. Diversity is a beautiful thing.

“It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.” ~ Maya Angelou

20. Fear is a waste of time.

21 Life-Changing Lessons to Learn from Maya Angelou

“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.”

21. Each of us has the power to change lives.

“Each of us, famous or infamous, is a role model for somebody, and if we aren’t, we should behave as though we are — cheerful, kind, loving, courteous. Because you can be sure someone is watching and taking deliberate and diligent notes.”

BONUS: Maya Angelou Quotes

“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love.” ~ Maya Angelou

“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.” 

“The desire to reach for the stars is ambitious. The desire to reach hearts is wise.”

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

“Without courage we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.”

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

“I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one.”

“Nothing can dim the light which shines from within.”

“A wise woman wishes to be no one’s enemy; a wise woman refuses to be anyone’s victim.”

21 Life-Changing Lessons to Learn from Maya Angelou

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

“If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform one million realities.”

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

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

“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”

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

“If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded.”

“We are only as blind as we want to be. “

“I got my own back. “

R.I.P. Maya Angelou. Thank you for sharing your love, your knowledge, and your wisdom with all of us. The world was, is and will be a better place just because you have lived. You will be missed.

~love, Luminita 💫

** What is your favorite quote from Maya Angelou? What is one lesson you have learned from this amazing woman? You can share your comment in the comment section below 🙂


Luminita D. Saviuc

Luminita is the Founder and Editor in Chief of PurposeFairy.com and also the author of 15 Things You Should Give Up to Be Happy: An Inspiring Guide to Discovering Effortless Joy. For more details check out the 15 Things You Should Give Up To Be Happy Book Page.

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