On what would have been Maya Angelou’s 91st birthday (April 4), people around the world are celebrating her life, which coincidentally begins at the start of U.S. National Poetry Month. Angelou was a new age Renaissance woman with enough titles to make her undefinable. She was a cook, waitress, sex-worker, dancer, actor, playwright, editor for an English-language Egyptian newspaper and Calypso singer. She’s widely known for her divine wisdom that would ooze from every word she speaks, cemented in book pages.
While Dr. Angelou has so many quotes that can be applied to even today’s social media obsessed world, VIBE created a list of 10 that offered the best insight on life and love. Check them out below.
1.“Love liberates; it doesn’t bind. Love says ‘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.”
2. “Live your life in a way that you will not regret years of useless virtue and inertia and timidity. Take up the battle. Take it up. It’s yours, it’s your life. This is your world.”
3. “I never trust anybody who tells me he or she loves me if the person doesn’t love herself, or himself … self-love is very important that it comes from within, that you have a sense of yourself so that when you walk into an office, you don’t go alone. Bring your people with you. Bring everybody who has loved you.”
4. “If you don’t laugh, you will die.”
5. “Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can’t be consistently kind, or fair, or humane, or generous. Not without courage because if you don’t have it, sooner or later you’ll stop and say, ‘Eh, the threat is too much, the difficulty is too high, the challenge is too great.’”
6. “It is very dangerous to make a person larger than life because then young men and women are tempted to believe he’s inaccessible and I can never try to be that or emulate that or achieve that.”
7. “Bitterness is like cancer; it eats upon the host. It doesn’t do anything to the object of its displeasure. Use that anger. You write it, you paint it, you dance it, you march it, you vote it. You do everything about it.”
8. “If you don’t like a situation, you try to change it. Do whatever you can to change it. And if everything you do falls flat and you can’t change it, then change the way you think about it. Move to another position to look at it. In doing so, you may find a new way to change it.”
9. “Love heals.”
10. “Exercise patience with yourself first so you can forgive yourself for all the dumb things you do. Once you do, you can learn from that so you don’t have to repeat them.”