Faye Arcand

Inspirational Lessons from Maya Angelou

Born as Marguerite Johnson in 1928 in St. Louis, Missouri, Maya Angelou went on to become a renowned poet, singer, essayist, and civil rights activist. For over fifty years she wrote to be heard and to share her voice, her ideas, and her dreams. She died in 2014 at the age of 86 but her words will live on forever. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maya_Angelou

In light of what’s happening in the world today I wanted to share my three favorites Angelou quotes with you. The quotes are timeless. They apply to yesterday, today, and tomorrow. They’re for the world and they’re for the individual. They’re worthy of thought.

Turmoil in our world seems to be constant. Violence, racism, and fear seem to always top the agenda. We often go through our daily routines with little thought of others around us as we’re mired down in our own thoughts, prejudices, and seemingly endless anger. I’m hoping that these powerful words of Maya Angelou will have you take pause.

Cutting remarks, scowls, slurs, posts, affiliations–they all reflect on the individual but they also cast a shadow of tactility that can leave a bruise or scar that never recedes. We don’t live in a bubble so when you share that racist joke on social media, for example, it carries with it all the hatred and hurt of the past. Be willing to learn.

People do forget specifics. They’ll even forgive the name calling or glare but it’s the way you can make someone feel–that’s what truly resonates with them. Don’t ever forget that. Be cognizant of the truth you hold for yourself and how you pass it to others.

The same goes for a smile, a kind word, or a soft touch–the positive power of which are dynamic and amazing.

Your words and actions can make someone feel good about themselves or their accomplishments.

Lesson: your words and actions affect people deeply without you even realizing it. Don’t ever doubt that what you say or do has impact–good or bad– for it is felt in the heart.

With the Black Life Matters movement we are seeing a shift in energy towards not only acknowledgment and clarity but also toward change and growth. The marches held over the last weeks shows the black and marginalized communities using their voice to rise above the defeat. This takes a lot of strength in character and fortitude of spirit.

Beyond the marches and fights for equality we know life is difficult and it is uneven. Individuals from all walks of life trudge through circumstances we know nothing about. Some can feel like they’re constantly being beaten back–whether literally or metaphorically. If the turmoil is within you and defeat is at your doorstep take heart in Angelou’s words and remain strong.

See my post on Anger. Frustration. Hatred. http://fayearcand.com/2020/06/01/auntie-says-anger-frustration-hatred/

Maya Angelou was a civil rights activist in the United States. She encountered walls and barriers along the way but she never gave up. If you believe in something you may need to dig deep and find that inner strength. The history is there for all to see but there are different lenses for everyone.

Angelou’s words are that of learning from our experiences and growing as individuals. Don’t compare your defeats with others because they’re your own. Embrace the lessons and the strength it took to come out of it.

Like Maya Angelou says it’s not about the defeat but what you learn about yourself and how you rise above to survive and maybe even flourish.

Lesson: though your struggles may be difficult you need to fight through to the other side so you can recognize the courage and strength within yourself–embrace it. Let it empower you. You may fall off that bicycle but you win every time you get back on.

This is probably my favorite Maya Angelou quote. To me, it means there’s always hope. There’s always forgiveness. There’s always understanding.

Have you ever said or done something really stupid. You’re mortified by your lack of knowledge or sophistication in a given situation?

Perhaps you share something on social media you think of as funny but a friend comes to you and explains the history of oppression behind the post. You had no idea. Right then and there you learned a life lesson. You now “know” better. And as a result, you remove the post, apologize, and explain what you learned because when you know better–you “do” better.

It’s a simple concept and one to embrace and keep close to your heart. Be willing to forgive yourself and be open to learning. This is self-empowerment at the base level. It allows you to step up your game and grow as a caring, compassionate individual.

Lesson: Learn from you mistakes and make better choices when you know better. Along with that you need to forgive the ignorance–even your own.


I sincerely believe we know better


now we need to do better.


***all quotes from goalcast.com***

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