There is an inner peace and well-being that comes with letting go. It starts with being able to accept and forgive yourself.
Response to the Lewinsky Allegations (January 26, 1998) Bill Clinton
At the end of a speech about education policy proposals, President Clinton responds to the allegations that he had an inappropriate relationship with a White House intern, Monica Lewinsky, saying: “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.
Statement on His Testimony Before the Grand Jury (August 17, 1998) Bill Clinton
Good evening. This afternoon in this room, from this chair, I testified before the Office of Independent Counsel and the grand jury. I answered their questions truthfully, including questions about my private life, questions no American citizen would ever want to answer.
Still I must take complete responsibility for all my actions, both public and private. And that is why I am speaking to you tonight.
As you know, in a deposition in January I was asked questions about my relationship with Monica Lewinsky. While my answers were legally accurate, I did not volunteer information. Indeed, I did have a relationship with Ms. Lewinsky that was not appropriate. In fact, it was wrong. It constituted a critical lapse in judgment and a personal failure on my part for which I am solely and completely responsible.
But I told the grand jury today, and I say to you now, that at no time did I ask anyone to lie, to hide or destroy evidence, or to take any other unlawful action.
I know that my public comments and my silence about this matter gave a false impression. I misled people, including even my wife. I deeply regret that. I can only tell you I was motivated by many factors: first, by a desire to protect myself from the embarrassment of my own conduct. I was also very concerned about protecting my family. The fact that these questions were being asked in a politically inspired lawsuit which has since been dismissed was a consideration, too.
In addition, I had real and serious concerns about an Independent Counsel investigation that began with private business dealings 20 years ago, dealings, I might add, about which an independent Federal agency found no evidence of any wrongdoing by me or my wife over 2 years ago. The Independent Counsel investigation moved on to my staff and friends, then into my private life. And now the investigation itself is under investigation. This has gone on too long, cost too much, and hurt too many innocent people.
Now this matter is between me, the two people I love most, my wife and our daughter, and our God. I must put it right, and I am prepared to do whatever it takes to do so. Nothing is more important to me personally. But it is private. And I intend to reclaim my family life for my family. It’s nobody’s business but ours. Even Presidents have private lives.
It is time to stop the pursuit of personal destruction and the prying into private lives and get on with our national life. Our country has been distracted by this matter for too long. And I take my responsibility for my part in all of this; this is all I can do. Now it is time—in fact, it is past time—to move on. We have important work to do, real opportunities to seize, real problems to solve, real security matters to face.
And so, tonight I ask you to turn away from the spectacle of the past 7 months, to repair the fabric of our national discourse, and to return our attention to all the challenges and all the promise of the next American century.
Thank you for watching, and good night.
As a very ambitious, intelligent, charismatic, innovative, highly-driven, and energetic person Bill Clinton was bound to be confronted with desires of excess and to face a constant battle against trials and strong temptations. What we can all learn from his reported lapses in character is to always be on our guard against crippling temptations in our lives.
No one in this world is so perfect or holy as not to have temptations sometimes. We can never be entirely free of them. [At other times]… they can be very severe and troublesome (Thomas Kempis, The Imitation of Christ).
Becoming better prepared in fighting off future temptations requires a period of introspection in an effort to recognize what, when, where, and why our previous defenses failed us. After this has been done—not before—a person can start to "gradually— with patience, endurance, and self-regulation increasingly empower themselves to overcome continuing ever present temptations.
Also, it is wise to seek the advice of a counselor, establish a more effective stop gap measure earlier in the decision-making process, and guard yourself against being harsh with persons who are tempted; rather be happy to console them as you would wish to be consoled by others.
One should not hesitate to seek out others who may have traversed similarly trying trails to learn how they were able to successfully identify a venue for restorative work.
For example, "In 2002, President Jimmy Carter won the Nobel Peace Prize, largely for his work after leaving the White House in fighting to eradicate guinea worm and river blindness in Africa, helping poor nations to become self-sufficient in food production, promoting human rights, building homes with Habitat for Humanity, and monitoring elections in troubled democracies to make sure that all eligible citizens can vote and that their votes are counted (Clinton, 2007)."
After Bill Clinton left the White House, he moved to Chappaqua, New York, the home-base of that state’s junior member of the United States Senate, Hillary Clinton.
Moreover, as one of the youngest men ever to depart the presidency, he is still actively involved in issues of public concern, especially through the work of the Clinton Presidential Foundation. The Foundation’s agenda includes combating HIV/AIDS, fostering racial and ethnic reconciliation, and promoting the economic empowerment of poor people. Clinton also retains a reputation as one of the most astute political analysts within the Democratic Party.
He wrote his autobiography, My Life, in 2004. Clinton has developed a friendship with former rival President George H. W. Bush that has led to their collaboration on several humanitarian endeavors. Most visibly, the pair has led national campaigns to raise money for victims of the 2004 tsunami in Indonesia and for Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the Gulf Coast in 2005.
Through the William J. Clinton Foundation (which he founded in 1997), Clinton created the Clinton Climate Initiative, dedicated to fostering research to combat climate change; the Clinton Global Initiative, an annual meeting of world leaders to discuss global issues; and the Clinton Foundation Haiti Fund, dedicated to rebuilding Haiti in the aftermath of its devastating 2010 earthquake.
These meaningful initiatives along with a number of progressive changes made in Bill Clinton’s personal habits and practices (e.g., public speaking engagements, memoir writing, a change to a vegan diet, and practice of meditation) have provided him with constancy of mind and purpose which serves as a strong rudder in keeping his vessel stable and on course in the face of any known or unexpected storms that he might face in his life. With all of this comes “a new sense of possibility, a new appreciation of life, and a heightened attention to ones’ spiritual development (Cryder et al., 2006).”
Former President Bill Clinton did not hold on to anger-or pride-or shame; instead he let go, and reached out in service to others. In his 2007 book, “Giving” Bill Clinton expresses himself about a new purpose in life as follows:
When I left the White House, I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life giving my time, money, and skills to worthwhile endeavors where I could make a difference. I didn’t know exactly what I would do, but I wanted to help save lives, solve important problems, and give more young people the chance to live there dreams. I felt obligated to do it because of the wonderful, improbable life I’d been given by the American people and because politics, which consumed so much of my life, is a “getting” business you have to get support, contributions, and votes, over and over again.
Clinton has given dozens of paid speeches each year, mostly to corporations and philanthropic groups in North America and Europe, often earning $100,000 to $300,000 per speech. According to his wife’s Senate ethics reports, he earned more than $30 million in speaking from 2001 to 2005. In 2007, it is estimated he amassed around $40 million from speaking.
Clinton made his first visit to new United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in April 2007. The 45-minute meeting, called at Clinton’s request, touched on a host of topics, including disease, war, famine and poverty in Africa, especially in the Darfur region. The Middle East, the conflict in Iraq, and Iran’s nuclear standoff with the U.N. were on the agenda, as well as HIV/AIDS.
He was the opening speaker at the Ontario Economic Summit held on November 13, 2007 in which he addressed people on various subjects including Canada’s role in Afghanistan, environmentalism and access to healthcare.
Clinton served as one of the organizers for the New Baptist Covenant alongside former President Jimmy Carter and other Baptist leaders. This effort sought to bring various Baptists in America together, especially across racial lines, to discuss issues that unite them. Clinton spoke at the January 2008 celebration in Atlanta, GA.