Our Deepest Fear

For many years, I was wrongly convinced that the following words of encouragement and self-love were delivered by Nelson Mandela, in his 1994 inaugural address from Pretoria, South Africa. Boy, was I wrong! I handed out this quote to my friends, and even my boyfriend at the time, propagating this misconception. These are some of the most beautiful words ever written, about having the courage to be ourselves, all of ourselves, all of the time. I thank Ms. Williamson for having written them and if you wish to know more about this exception woman, go to Marianne Williamson’s website. For more on the real inaugural speech by Mr. Nelson Mandela, go to the South African Government Archives link.

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 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, from “A Return to Love”

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