Wednesday Inspiration: Uplifting Nuggets of Wisdom From Maya Angelou

March 7, 2012  |  
5 of 7

Maya Angelou is a living legend and oracle of spirituality.  Many were introduced to the poet and author through her seminal work I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings. Since she emerged in the literary landscape in the 1960s, the  gutsy, eloquent, resilient, and uplifting  poet and author has continued to grace us with her wisdom and perspectives on life. Check out just a few of her inspirational nuggets.

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

This is one of Oprah’s favorite saying from her mentor, and with good reason. When it comes to people, many individuals are very honest with who they are even if they’re trying to show their best selves. People will always tell you about themselves, whether through words, stories or actions. Your responsibility is to pay attention and trust what they’re communicating to you. When it comes to romantic situations, this is especially true. Taking this advice would definitely save you a lot of drama and trauma when forging new friendships and relationships.

“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.”

This is pretty clear cut advice. It’s easy to get consumed by life’s demands but it’s all the more important to remember that we have a special and active relationship with our lives. We can enjoy it more by living with intent and passion. In turn, our experiences will further be enriched by our proactive approach to our own lives. It’s easier said than done but once you understand your own capacity to steer your experience, you’d understand that there’s no better way to live.

“One isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We cannot be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.”

It’s good to know that each of us has the capacity to be better people. Like anything, self-improvement takes work. Taking the high road in life takes discipline of character. There are many things that can turn us off and cause us to be less honest, less merciful and less generous but it does take courage to cultivate and maintain the greater qualities of life that Angelou mentions above.

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

Here’s one that applies so specifically to romantic relationships. Concise and so to the point, isn’t it?

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

As much as many people define success by income, material accumulations and other surface achievements, what truly matters at the end of the day is your true happiness and the quality of your life experience. It’s hard to remember that in this country when we’re inundated with empty depictions of what success looks like.


“I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.”

The toughest experience and challenges take a toll on us, no doubt, but it’s how you choose to handle those challenges that is critical. Many people, for example, will take one bad relationship and allow it to affect things like their sense of openness and trust  in future relationships. Obviously, it’s not a healthy trajectory and one that should be avoided.

Trending on MadameNoire

Comment Disclaimer: Comments that contain profane or derogatory language, video links or exceed 200 words will require approval by a moderator before appearing in the comment section. XOXO-MN