Wednesday, May 17, 2006

"Our Greatest Fear" by Nelson Mandela


Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate,
but that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, handsome, talented and 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 were born to make manifest the glory of God within us.
It is not just in some; it is in everyone.

And, as we let our own light shine,
we consciously give other people permission
to do the same.As we are liberated from our fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.

4 comments:

atticus said...

i love this quote. my friend gave it to me after she saw the spelling bee movie with her son...i am trying not to shrink around others...and this quote helped me see that i was doing that

DF in Massachusetts said...

I hope some day people will correctly attribute this to the true author... Marianne Williamson. It's from her 1992 book "Return to Love".

"Return to Love" was published well before Nelson Mandela's inauguration at President of South Africa (usually the quote is attributed to him in the context of him having said it in his inaugural address).

I'm really surprised to see people still incorrectly attributing this quote to Nelson Mandela.

Here's a news article detailing the history of what Marianne Williamson calls an "urban myth":

http://www.newsobserver.com/667/story/436158.html

Catherine + said...

DF, thank you for the clarification. We learn something new every day! I am familiar with who Marianne Williamson is but I have not read all of her work. I bow to you with true thanks for sharing this with me and all of us. I will visit the site you suggest. Again, I thank you.

BK said...

This is one of the most inspiring poems by Marianne Williamson. Thanks for sharing this.