“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others”
– Marianne Williamson, “A Return to Love”
I return regularly to this fabulous quote from Marianne Williamson. There is something of freedom, something liberating, something that unlocks a secret hidden in plain sight.
The story of the quote is quite remarkable in itself – a rumour began that it was part of Nelson Mandela’s inaugural address, and so the relatively unknown author was suddenly propelled into the public eye. As far as anyone knows, Mandela has never used the quote… yet I for one am glad for the error, which has enabled Marianne to reach a far wider audience than she might have otherwise. And I would certainly recommend ‘A Return to Love’ if you’re searching for wisdom – it’s one of the books that has had the greatest influence on my life.
At the heart of this is the certainty that we are amazing, incredible, beautiful, wonderful human beings. The gifts we have are phenomenal: encoded within each one of us is the ability to change the world. There are things that only you can do – dances only you can dance, songs only you can sing, wisdom only you can bring, truth that only you can tell. Inside each one of us is a gift to the world – some of us have found that gift and are busy expressing it – and others have yet to find it. Yet it’s there… and pretending that we have nothing to give doesn’t serve any of us.
Even if I didn’t believe in ‘God’, I would still know that this is true – that when we choose to shrink down and hide then we are robbing the world of something beautiful, something precious, something important. As each of us stand up and step into our own glory, then something of beauty is released that makes the world a more wonderful place. And every time one of us does, every time we shake off the fear that holds us down, the humility that has no real basis in reality… then we become an example to others who say ‘if they can, then so can I’. It’s almost as if we become more solid, somehow – more true, more real – rather than seeing a shadow of who we are, when we stand up and say ‘this is who I am’ then people actually begin to see us as we really are.
And suddenly, our very presence becomes something different. Our energy changes. People react to those who declare freedom in a different way. Even without knowing their story, there is something about those who have chosen to live from the promise. They may not be able to put it into words… but they can feel it.
It’s time for each of us to know how powerful we truly are….