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 and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s 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.
This inspiring quote has been commonly misattributed to South African civil rights leader Nelson Mandela. It is actually from Marianne Williamson‘s classic 1992 book, A Return To Love. You can find it on pages 190-191.
Mandela reportedly included this quote, or a portion of it, in his inauguration speech when he assumed the presidency of South Africa in 1994. But as you can see from the text of his speech in Cape Town on May 9 as well as the text of his address in Pretoria on May 10, this is not the case. Mandela’s supposed usage of Williamson’s quote is nothing more than an urban myth, albeit a persistent one.
Some years back, I heard Marianne speak at an expo and asked her about this after her talk. She acknowledged that she was a bit mystified as to why Mandela was so often cited as the source.
Here (reportedly) is additional reaction from Marianne, which I found while Googling:
Several years ago, this paragraph from A Return to Love began popping up everywhere, attributed to Nelson Mandela’s 1994 inaugural address. As honored as I would be had President Mandela quoted my words, indeed he did not. I have no idea where that story came from, but I am gratified that the paragraph has come to mean so much to so many people.
ABOUT PHIL BOLSTA
Through God’s Eyes: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Troubled World, is a road map for living a more peaceful, beautiful life. It’s the one book that explains how dozens of spiritual principles interact, how to weave them together into a cohesive worldview, and how to practically apply this spiritual wisdom to daily life.
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• What is the cornerstone of a spiritual life, and why?
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Those who worship logic instead of God are only half right. Not only is it logical to believe in God and to live a faith-based life, the existence of a loving, benevolent God that governs all creation is perhaps the only systematic worldview that explains every aspect of life.
Phil is also the author of Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything, a collection of 45 inspiring, life-changing stories from prominent authors and thought leaders he interviewed. The roster of storytellers includes Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, Neale Donald Walsch, Caroline Myss, Larry Dossey, Rachel Naomi Remen, Bernie Siegel, Dean Ornish, and Christiane Northrup. Sixty Seconds has been translated into four languages: Italian, German, Spanish, and Portuguese. Reading this book is like spending a few minutes face to face with each of the contributors and listening to their personal stories.
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Tags: it is our light not our darkness, Marianne Williamson, Nelson Mandela, Our deepest fear, our presence automatically liberates others, powerful beyond measure, we are all meant to shine, you are a child of God