It's Nelson Mandela Day and boy, do we need it. To help you celebrate, I have 10 Nelson Mandela quotes for Instagram that should spread exactly the love our country needs right now through your feed. The Nobel Peace Prize winner's accomplishments in ending apartheid, becoming the country's first black president, and championing human rights around the globe is an inspiration. Perhaps today the world can benefit from his insight on political engagement and most importantly, personal responsibility.
Established by the United Nations in 2009, the holiday falls each year on July 18 for the international organization to shine a light on Mandela's legacy of service to humanity in the areas of conflict negotiations, human rights, race relations, gender equality, poverty, and much more. Five years after his death in 2013, world leaders still look to him as a hero to democracy and peace. At a speech yesterday at the 2018 Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture in Johannesburg, President Barack Obama said, as quoted in The Independent, "Through his sacrifice and unwavering leadership and, perhaps most of all, through his moral example, Mandela and the movement he led would come to signify something larger. He came to embody the universal aspirations of dispossessed people all around the world, their hopes for a better life, the possibility of a moral transformation in the conduct of human affairs."
Perhaps we can all take a little wisdom from a man so highly regarded for his service to humanity.
1. "There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way in which it treats its children."
Hoo, boy. He's not wrong, is he? How does our country treat its most vulnerable populations? How do you?
2. "And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same."
It's so easy to get beaten down by the minutia that eats up the day, but leading with your best self encourages others to present the same to you. Imagine how awesome the world would be if we allowed each other to unleash our most unique, generous qualities.
3. "I never lose. I either win or learn."
As your mother used to say, anything worth doing is worth doing well, but it doesn't come easy. Turn every effort into a win until you reach your goal. Take the initiative, be optimistic, and push forward until it's in your sights.
4. "If you want the cooperation of humans around you, you must make them feel they are important — and you do that by being genuine and humble."
Getting what you want from people starts with how you treat them. No one is motivated to help themselves, and definitely not you, when they feel small and insignificant. To be productive, be kind, be responsive, and be responsible to others.
5. "There is no passion to be found in playing small, in settling for a life that is less than you are capable of living."
6. "Give our children love, laughter, and peace, not AIDS."
Said at a 2000 World AIDS Day event, Mandela's directive to provide an upbringing with all the good stuff and free of the bad stuff seems simple, but isn't always so easy. Our kids deserve those ingredients to become compassionate, motivated adults — and we're going to need more of those than ever.
7. "I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die."
8. "A fundamental concern for others in our individual and community lives would go a long way in making the world the better place we so passionately dreamt of."
Taking care of each other is taking care of ourselves. Enough said.
9. "I like friends who have independent minds because they tend to make you see problems from all angles."
When you have a problem, get out of your own head and pick the minds of others. You'll be able to tackle it more efficiently than alone.
10. "Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward."
Maintaining a sunny disposition is the result of hope and work. When things start coming up roses, the effort will be worth it.