For years when people asked me who I most admired I could never think of anyone to name. But recently I did a little more
deep reflection and looked through my Rolodex of inspirational people and only one name popped up. Maya Angelou.
When I read her book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, I was touched, awed, and inspired by her bravery. Her story was so powerful, not so much because she overcame childhood trauma, abusive relationship, or single motherhood; all of which I experienced, but it was because she tried again and again and again.
This woman never gave up! She always reinvented herself and showed up with quiet confidence. I really resonated with her essence. She is the woman I realized I modeled my life after. That quiet force. That resolve to become my best self. The natural teacher, mentor, and motivator that she was I see in me.Wow! This lady. This force is who I admire the most.She is who inspires me.
Below I have a few quotes from her that I’m sure many have read but I will add my reasons why I live by them and how they have become mantras for me to live by.
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.
Caring about people is at the heart of who I am. I have the gift of encouragement so you can count on me to see and bring out the best in you even when you can’t see it. Making people feel like they matter and can live up to their fullest potential is my purpose on this planet.
There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.
It was truly agony to have a story and not be able to tell it. So I changed that and decided to tell my story through my book, my blogs, and my videos. I tell my story with I speak to people one on one or on the stage. It has truly been liberating.
If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.
Problem-solving is in my DNA. I will think long and hard about how I can change the things I can and I ask for courage to accept the things I can’t. That last part is a struggle but as I get older I’m learning that some things are best left alone.
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.
The mission of my life is to thrive and teach others, especially single mothers, how to do the same. Discovering my passion, compassion, humor, and style has been an interesting journey. How do I do those things when all I’ve known is survival? When I decided I wanted to thrive it was easier to find and embrace those parts of myself.
Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.
Loving people is not hard for me, but for a long time it was hard to express that love. Expression meant being vulnerable and felt like weakness, but I learned that it is the strongest force in the universe. Becoming a mother helped me to see that love will make you do what seems impossible because it, and the people you love, is so worth it!
When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time
I think this is the hardest lesson for me to learn because I automatically believe people have the same kind of heart that I do. My natural instinct is to believe and look for the best in people. I’m still learning to believe what people show me and finding the courage to let them stay right where they are if they are unhealthy for me.
I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.
I was and am that girl. There was no risk I wasn’t willing to take if it meant getting what I wanted. Showing up in the world authentically, pushing past the fear others project on me, and going for the brass is how I roll :-p.
If you have only one smile in you give it to the people you love.
Someone told me that my smile lights up a room so I began smiling at people. Often that is the only thing I have to give. It wasn’t always that way because of conditioning, but when I learned the power of a smile to change someone’s day I did it more.
We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.
Change is hard. I know this because I’ve been through too many changes to count. When people look at me they may see confidence, calm, strength, and resilience. What they don’t see is the struggle I had to go through to be who I am now.
I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.
Another lesson I learned in life is you have to give back. The first time I understood this concept is when I learned about conversations. Someone said it was like throwing a ball to another person and catching it. To keep the game going both people have to throw the ball back. If you don’t; game over. The same is true with giving and receiving in life. We can’t take, want, and grab without giving something back in return. The more you give the more you get.
There are many more quotes from Maya Angelou. She was a tower of wisdom born from experience. My prayer is that I can leave such a legacy in the world and change just one person’s life.
What is your favorite quote from Maya Angelo or your favorite inspirational person?