As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.
Nelson Mandela (1918-2013)
Former President of South Africa
and apartheid activist
For me the reason this quote is so important is because of the mental discipline that he had to engage in in order to be able to do what he did. That kind of mental discipline is not easily arrived at. I’m sure he had to go through a lot of deep inner research and understanding in order to be able to get to the place where he could really understand how hatred is a prison, how revenge is a prison, how the desire for vengeance is a prison. To be able to liberate himself from that prison through the decision to be free in every sense of the word is why this quote is so important to me. When I get to the place where there’s some reason I want to be mad at somebody and I [tell myself no] there is no reason to hold onto anger. Yes, maybe they’ve done something wrong. Maybe they’ve done some trespass. I have to look at the effect that that has had on me and I have to understand how I want to live with that. Do I want to cultivate the wound or do I want to heal it? I think that this quote really shows his determination to heal the wound rather than cultivate it.
Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D., author of Coming to Peace:
Resolving Conflict Within Ourselves and
With Others and founder of the process depth hypnosis