Maya Angelou Shares Advice With Her Teenage Self

Maya Angelou Shares Advice With Her Teenage Self

The 83-year-old poet advises to appreciate the senses and find the humanity behind talent.

Published February 22, 2012

CBS This Morning has started a new segment titled "Note to Self" and Dr. Maya Angelou has kicked off the series by imparting some sage advice to her younger self. The writer and civil rights activist wrote a letter to a 15-year-old Maya and encouraged the teenager to appreciate her senses and find beauty and humanity in art.

"Dear me, myself then... first I know that you know how to listen. When I was 8 years old I became a mute and was a mute until I was 13, and I thought of my whole body as an ear, so I can go into a crowd and sit still and absorb all sound. That talent or ability has lasted and served me until today," Dr. Angelou says. "Once you appreciate one of your blessings, one of your senses, your sense of hearing, then you begin to respect the sense of seeing and touching and tasting, you learn to respect all the senses."

She then suggests falling in love with a beautiful piece of artwork or music, realizing that it was created by other human beings, and carrying that knowledge as you travel the world.

"The person may have keener eyesight, a better ear, the person might have a more live body and can dance, but the person cannot be more human than you. That is very important because that ensures you that you are a human being and nothing human can be alien to you," she says. "You will be able to go around the world, learning languages, speaking to everybody, because no one can be more human than you or be less human. They can be meaner or crueler, or sweeter or prettier, younger, richer, but they can't be more human than you. Remember that."

What do you think about Dr. Angelou's words of advice? Are these things you'd tell your teenage self?


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Written by Dorkys Ramos

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