Angelina Jolie’s Advice For 2020 Is Something We All Need to Hear Today

Angelina Jolie looks like a million bucks in the December issue of Harper’s Bazaar, but her sage and inspiring advice for the future is worth even more. The Oscar winner and Maleficent: Mistress of Evil star has dedicated nearly 20 years of her life to global humanitarian work, fighting against extreme poverty and sexual violence and working with the UN Refugee Agency to ensure rights for displaced people worldwide.

In the interview, Angelina spoke candidly about motherhood, philanthropy, and the “visible and invisible scars” that have developed on her body and spirit over the last decade. She also dropped a few incredible words of wisdom for those who are also trying to change the world, as well as a reminder that our work is far from done, saying, “This is a time to fight. If there is a fight in this life, it must be for freedoms and rights. And if we have our freedom, we must fight for others who don’t.” Read on for Angelina’s quotes and stunning photos, then check out the full Harper’s Bazaar story for even more.

On finding and embracing her true self: “The part of us that is free, wild, open, curious can get shut down by life. By pain or by harm. My children know my true self, and they have helped me to find it again and to embrace it. They have been through a lot. I learn from their strength. As parents, we encourage our kids to embrace all that they are, and all that they know in their hearts to be right, and they look back at us and want the same for us.”

On how she handles being misunderstood: “I have a tattoo, ‘A prayer for the wild at heart kept in cages.’ I got it when I was 20. I was with my mom one evening, and I was feeling lost. I was restless – always. I still am. We were driving to dinner, and she talked about spending time with Tennessee Williams and how much she loved his words. She told me he wrote that, about the wild at heart. We drove to a tattoo parlor, and I got it inked on my left arm. What she did for me that night was to remind me that the wild within me is alright and a part of me.”

“If you feel you are not living your life fully, try to identify what it is or who it is that is blocking you from breathing.”

On her hopes for 2020: “My dream for everyone in 2020 is to remember who they are and to be who they are regardless of what might be disrupting their ability to be free. If you feel you are not living your life fully, try to identify what it is or who it is that is blocking you from breathing. Identify and fight past whatever is oppressing you. That takes many forms, and it is going to be a different fight for everyone. I say this with a deep understanding that for so many women, freedom is simply not an option. Their own system, community, family, government works against them and is part of what is shutting them down.”

On how the most dangerous place for some women today is in their own home: “There are still more than a dozen countries where violence against a wife or family member is legal. And more than 10 countries where perpetrators of rape can still escape prosecution if they marry the victim. And there are more than 70 million forcibly displaced people worldwide, including nearly 26 million refugees. None of this is just ‘the way the world is.’ It is something monstrously out of balance. And our response can’t be to shrug or to think only about our own countries, because we are all connected. This is a time to fight. If there is a fight in this life, it must be for freedoms and rights. And if we have our freedom, we must fight for others who don’t.”

On politics worldwide: “We’re seeing a retreat of values worldwide. Many governments are less willing to stand up for the kinds of values that previous generations fought and died to secure. When governments stand back, people have to lead the way.”