“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, Return to Love
I love this quote. I first saw it in a clip from the movie, Akeelah and the Bee. I love it, and I struggle with it. I feel inadequate and less than fabulous much of the time. I often wonder when I’ll be “found out,” that my life will be recognized as a fake it ’til you make it kind of rouse. I think I want to be brave. I wear a necklace now that reminds me every morning when I clasp it around my neck that I’ve declared my intention for my life – Be Brave. I think I want to let my light shine. I certainly want to help others feel permission to do the same. But, then I start overthinking things and my inner critic gets louder and louder, reminding me of my inadequacies and imperfections. Then playing small seems like a good idea, because at least then I’m not drawing attention to those parts that really don’t seem so fabulous.
I’m guessing I’m not the only person who feels this way. I’m guessing inside each of us is both a desire to let our lights shine brightly for the world and a paralyzing fear that if we do, we’ll regret it. We’ve fostered a culture of such judgment and criticism, comparison and shame that it’s no wonder we’re afraid to put ourselves out there. Offering our gifts to the world at the risk of them being rejected is terrifying. AND, I can’t help but wonder at what cost we hide our gifts from the world and play small.
Do you ever have the feeling that you’re meant to do something or say something or write something or create something or change something? Do you ever feel like if you keep your light, your gift, inside a minute longer that you’ll explode?
Here’s the thing, I’ve never given birth to another human being. But, part of my ‘midlife awakening’ has been this incredible urge to birth something – some unique offering that is part of me and of which I am a part – a gift that only I have to give this world. I haven’t quite put my finger on it or defined it completely. But, perhaps what I’m birthing is this new, brave me, this Marjorie who wants to live authentically and wholeheartedly and full of courage. Perhaps my unique contribution is Me… (I honestly haven’t thought of that until this very moment.)
So, I’ve made a commitment to myself and have set my intention to be brave with my life. More than that, I’ve made a commitment to help others do the same. Life is too short to hide. Life is too fleeting to live in fear of how we’ll be received, of what others think, of whether or not we’re meeting certain expectations. We all have gifts. Of that I am sure. We all have something unique to offer this world, and the world will miss out if we allow our fear to hold us back. Perhaps our most unique offering, our best gift to the world is ourselves: our imperfect, sometimes messy, brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous selves.
There’s so much talk in our culture about what we’re producing. What if the conversation were about who we’re creating? What if we all got in touch with who we are meant to be and who it is we can offer this world instead of what? I don’t know, but it’s worth considering, don’t you think?
Who we are is gift, and whatever we manifest in life is a direct reflection of who we are choosing to be at any given moment. When we allow our authentic selves to shine we gift others with the courage and permission to shine as well. Imagine a world in which we all owned our sparkle. Oh what a world it would be.