Influencer: Marianne Williamson
“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.”
Thank you for sharing these thoughts with the world. You have no idea how much this helped me in a time of deep need. Each line answered a question I was asking, and these words helped clarify my ideas about relationships, career, and how to show up in the world.
Every time I hear or happen upon this quote, I think of my Mom, who first shared this with me when I was in the middle of a big life transition. I was really seeking to figure out how best to move forward in the world, and was shining the light into the unexplored corners of my life to determine what career to pursue, what kind of parent to be, and how to re-tool some significant relationships. On the days when my courage was flagging, this was one of the quotes that kept me going.
To have permission to be powerful, to be in a place where we can let our light shine…we all should be so lucky. But it isn’t just luck that makes this happen, there only has to be the smallest seed, nicked, placed in soil and watered; germinated, this idea begins to grow. We begin to believe, and by believing, we can manifest courage to pursue the opportunities that present themselves and encourage others to do the same.
Many of us are taught at a young age not to boast or brag…and we take this to mean we can’t publicly acknowledge our significant and hard won accomplishments. Or, if someone else is feeling down, we have to be careful not to make them feel bad by something good in our lives. This type of thinking is a part of the crux of our current social confusion: We need a brand, but can’t toot our own horn. We want our kids to be responsible for themselves, but we “make” others feel bad by sharing something good that happens to us. Wait – if we are supposed to be responsible for ourselves, how can someone else make us feel bad? Obviously, there are mean-spirited comments intended to increase the discomfort of others, and we can be boastful in a negative way, but that is not what I mean here.
This to me represents a scarcity mentality. Why couldn’t our good news be a buoy for someone who’s feeling down? Why is owning what we are good at considered boastful? Why doesn’t that liberate more great ideas? The exponential power of this type of interaction is so powerful.
For years, Tim would tell me to let other people know about the fact that I had been a chef. I dumbed down my experience and schooling so as to not make other people feel uncomfortable or to seem boastful – this is a hangover from many years of trying to “take care” of others. I still have a hard time speaking my accomplishments out loud. I have been a Director of HR for over a year now, and have only recently gotten comfortable speaking those words aloud.
So, Marianne…these thoughts you strung together resonated on so many levels, for me and for others. Thank you for providing the soil for the seeds to grow. Ever grateful.
Resources: Quote from Marianne Williamson’s book A Return to Love.
Photo Credit: William Bout (Unsplash.com)