This is part of the You Can Change Your Life Series.

5 Things To Learn From The Nelson Mandela Story

I was born in Cape Town, South Africa during the time of apartheid to a white South African family opposed to the racist regime. My parents took their 5 children and left their beloved South Africa when I was only 9 months old to escape the violence, inequality and grave violation of human rights.

In this article I want to pay tribute to the incredible soul Nelson Mandela for the immeasurable good he brought to my country and to the world.

A Soul Can Shine So Brightly

Nelson Mandela gave his life for his country and for humanity. He embraced who he was truly born to be and, in so doing, he brought enlightenment to the world.

He suffered beyond measure but he said at the end that if he had the choice to live his life again he would do it all just the same.

1. You Can Forgive

Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years, he lost so many that he loved dearly, and he watched as his people were violated, murdered and imprisoned because of the colour of their skin.

He had as much reason as anyone to harbour hatred, resentment and self-pity but he didn’t.

Mandela forgave and he taught his people, black and white, to forgive and move forward for a better future. He even held tribunals in which, the oppressors and the oppressed could tell their stories.

People who had been castrated, raped, and had loved ones murdered before their eyes, had the opportunity to hear their offender deeply repent and they had the opportunity to forgive.

No matter how much you have suffered, you too can forgive.

“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.” Mandela

2. Dream Of A Better Life

Mandela dedicated his life to a dream that his country would be saved from the horror of racism. It took some dreaming to imagine a life in which black people were not oppressed, but he dreamed it.

So many of us accept the status quo. We have forgotten what it means to seek the life that we really want.

Does the world around you have to be so bleak or horrific in order for you to dream of more?

You can dream of an amazing life for yourself – no dream is too big.

“It always seems impossible until its done.” Mandela

3. Don’t Give Up

When Mandela was imprisoned for so long in a cell of 8 by 7 ft, he did not lose hope and he did not let his light go out.

He continued to shine across oceans and seas to the rest of the world who began to awaken to his message.

Not in all his years of missing out on being with his family or his years of imprisonment did Mandela crack.

Not even when his people thought he had betrayed them, or when they began fighting amongst themselves.


Right until the end, he never took his eye off his dream.

“Any man or institution that tries to rob me of my dignity will lose.” Mandela

4. Do What You Were Born To Do

He had a calling to bring about monumental transformation in the world and he listened to it.

But we all have a calling.

We all have a purpose here. It may not be to revolutionise our nation, but we still have one that is special only to us.

Connect with who you are and the amazing gift you are meant to bring the world. In this way, you will thrive in your state of authenticity.

“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” Mandela

5. Accept Yourself And All Your Vices

Mandela said that he did not want to be seen as a demi-God. He professed that he was just a man and that he had virtues and vices just like everyone else.

He accepted himself completely as he was, and in so doing he was able to accept the virtues and vices of others.

Ultimately this is what allowed him to forgive.

No matter what, you can love and accept yourself completely as you are.

“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” Mandela

Thank you Mandela for the phenomenal work you have done on this planet. I have learnt so much from you. I send you infinite love and gratitude.

What can you learn from this amazing soul?

With love,


12 thoughts on “5 Things To Learn From The Nelson Mandela Story

  1. Idowu Ridwan

    True talk mandela has done alot to the service of humanity. I have also learnt alot from him as my role model. May his soul rest in peace. Tanx jess

  2. Ann

    I believe we all have a spirit inside us that gives us hope when we are not afraid to listen to our hearts. When we push through our fears, do the work of love and see that others who may hurt us are also driven by their own fears and that we all have 3 basic needs that most of us didn’t receive as children or realize we were taught by parents who did the best they could based on generations of these same 3 needs being unmet…..attention, affection and approval….and if I can help 1 person in this lifetime to see this very gift I’ve been given that I didn’t even realize was the answer to all my times of pain and suffering, the knowledge that all 3 of these basic human needs can be met by God alone (or a power greater than myself) and not by another person. And that solitude, being alone with ourselves to really see ourselves and listen to our soul tell us our purpose and passion in this one & only life we are given & to have the courage & faith to actually follow it without fear knowing others may not understand but, it doesn’t matter because it’s YOUR journey, your life and it’s your destiny to follow it. I believe that’s who Nelson Mandela was and I believe that’s who you are too, Jess…..and I believe we all have a gift and 1 person truly can make a difference in the world, and it’s not my job to judge or push my beliefs on others who may not perceive life the same way I do & if I do the next right thing & give help to others anytime I can then I have a chance at having blessed moments of peace and serenity I believe we were all meant to have while here on this earth. I’m writing a memoir of my story, I decided to title it “High Tolerance For Pain”, the book is my way of telling my truth and helping me continue to let go and my intent is that hopefully my story may help inspire 1 other person, and this is my passion, my gift and I pray every day for God to give me the strength to finish it and not be afraid to let others inside my soul….God bless you! And God bless Nelson Mandela who inspired me and so many to push through their fears and to continue the work of love that unites us all, the way it should be….

    1. Jess Post author

      Thank you so much for your comment Ana. Follow your passion and write your book. If it makes you feel good to write it then it will have been worth it. If it helps another that will be a magical bonus. Indeed, love does unite us all.

      With love,

  3. Steve

    I think the first point resonated with me the most. As I’ve learned about his life, I’ve come to realize just how forgiving he really was. When he became president, he could have turned things towards revenge. He could have tried to do some horrible things to white South Africans, but he didn’t. He reached out to them. He forgave them. That’s personally inspiring to me and I think it’s a lesson we could all learn from.

  4. Pingback: Why YOU Matter

  5. Pingback: 10 Best Guided Meditations on YouTube – Guided Meditation: How To

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *