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What Maya Angelou taught us about love and relationships

On May 28, 2014 renowned poet, author, songstress, dancer, civil rights activist, and philanthropist Maya Angelou, died. The world mourns the loss of a legend, but the lessons and legacy she left behind comfort friends, fans, and admirers near and far. Angelou was known for her meaningful and profound quotes. Oftentimes they were seemingly simple and common sense things, but they were the things we struggle with the most. And the weight behind her words continues to resonate with us all.

Maya Angelou died May 28, 2014
Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images

Here are a few things Dr. Maya Angelou taught us about love and relationships.

"When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time."

When you love someone it can become difficult to leave a destructive or unhealthy relationship. We keep giving people chance after chance, expecting them to change. But the truth is, the things they do that destroy the relationship did not just come out of nowhere. There were signs that you ignored. Big red flags that you just wrote off. Your friends tried to tell you. Your family noticed. Even strangers pointed it out. And deep down in your inner voice, you knew it as well. They showed you who they were. They showed you how they were going to treat you. But you didn't want to believe it. Save yourself some time and a lot of heartache. Don't ignore red flags. Believe them the first time.

"No sun outlasts its sunset but will rise again and bring the dawn."

This too shall pass. Nothing is forever. When you're in a situation, sometimes you are just so overwhelmed with it that you can't see past it. But you will rise. You can move through it and past it. There too many people who stay in relationships out of comfort and convenience and just because that's the person they've been with the longest. The thing is, no matter how old you (think you) are, you still have the rest of your life to live. And you deserve to be happy for the rest of your life. You can get out of any negative situation and still come out on top. You can move past this.

"Does my sexiness upset you? Does it come as a surprise That I dance like I've got diamonds At the meeting of my thighs?"

Own your sexuality. Be proud of who you are. Be confident in the skin you're in and be proud to be just who God made you to be. This body shaming culture has brought on internal and external conversations that do nothing but degrade who we are. Too fat. Too skinny. Too tall. Too short. Too pale. Too dark. And so on and so forth. We're so busy pointing out our flaws, that we forget to truly embrace our many, many assets. There are so many physical and non-physical traits that you have that so many other people envy. But chances are, you ignore them and forget that they even exist. Don't forget to honestly love yourself and celebrate how beautiful you are. Now that's sexy!

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

You are worth so much more than to be there just in case someone feels like being with you. People will put you on a shelf just to be able to pick you up if and when they need you. That is so unacceptable. If something else doesn't work out. If they get lonely. If they can't find someone else. If they finally reach their goals. Blah blah blah... Who has time for that??!! Nobody! Don't sit around and be on standby for someone else. All that does is prevent you from being available for the person God truly has for you. It is better to be single and happy than to be someone else's option.

"Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope."

Love conquers all. It really does. It really can. Sometimes we forget how powerful love really is. Everyone is on this whole "Love is not enough" kick and "What's love got to do with it?", but the truth is, love is so much more powerful than we realize. When you experience true love, it is capable of so much more than you could even imagine.

"Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time."

Don't give up on love. If you have had your heart broken or think you failed at a relationship or marriage, that doesn't mean you have to give up on love altogether. You don't necessarily have to give that same person another chance, but you should always give love one more chance. Everyone deserves to be happy so don't give up on your chance for love and happiness just because you think you've ruined your chance or other people will judge you. Who cares if other people judge you? Some people will judge you. But I guarantee you they will move on and get back to their own life (in which they will love whoever they want regardless of your opinion by the way). People talk about Liz Taylor and Kim K and J. Lo for having multiple marriages/relationships, but the truth is, it takes a very brave person to give love another chance and to try to get it right. Never give up on love.

What's your favorite Maya Angelou quote? What is her greatest legacy?

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©Tara Carr 2014, All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced without prior written permission and consent from the author or Clarity Digital Group LLC, DBA

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