Maya Angelou (real name Marguerite Annie Johnson ) would have been 88 years old on Monday, April 4. The celebrated poet, author and civil rights activist, who died in May 2014, dedicated her life to spreading messages of courage, strength and love.
Angelou became known as one of the most influential voices of our time thanks to her works such as the 1969 memoir “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” the 1978 book “And Still I Rise” and her 1995 book of poems “Phenomenal Woman.” The St. Louis, Missouri, native also received numerous awards and honors for her work, including the presidential medal of freedom award — the highest civilian award of the United States — from Barack Obama in 2010.
Even though Angelou is no longer around to continue sharing her words of wisdom, many of her famous quotes continue to resonate with the world. To celebrate the late poet’s birthday, here are 14 of her most inspirational sayings (gathered from her official Facebook page and Oprah.com).
- “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.”
- “Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”
- “When you learn, teach. When you get, give.”
- “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”
- “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.”
- “If you have only one smile in you give it to the people you love.”
- “In diversity there is beauty and there is strength.”
- “We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.”
- “Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.”
- “If I am not good to myself, how can I expect anyone else to be good to me?”
- “A friend may be waiting behind a stranger’s face.”
- “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.”
- “Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.”
- “Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.”