“The part of us that is free, wild, open, curious can get shut down by life,” Jolie told the magazine. “By pain or by harm. My children know my true self, and they have helped me to find it again and to embrace it.”
The actress, 44, has six children whom she shares with ex Brad Pitt: Maddox, 18; Pax, 15; Zahara, 14; Shiloh, 13; and twins Knox and Vivienne, 11.
“They have been through a lot,” Jolie said. “I learn from their strength. As parents, 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.”
Later that month, Jolie told PEOPLE she had a “tough time” returning to the role of Maleficent.
“I’d been coming off a few years of difficulty and I was not feeling very strong,” she said. “In fact, I was feeling pretty broken. It took me a moment to feel the strength of [Maleficent] again.”
As for looking ahead to the new year, Jolie told Harper’s Bazaar in its upcoming issue, “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,” she said. “That takes many forms, and it is going to be a different fight for everyone.”
She added, “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.”