“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.”
I first read this quote about 8 years ago when I was in undergrad. The first part summed up exactly what I was feeling at the time– scared not of failing, but of how successful I might be. Failure is safety. It’s a known quantity, it’s predictable, and best of all, it lowers expectations. Success, however, is the opposite of safe and predictable. Nevermind the increased expectations, success opens the possibility for everything to change, in a way that failure just doesn’t. No one says “wow, you’re just so terrible at this, you should go do it for a living!” or, “you’re awful, will you work for me?” or, “come study at our school, you’re the worst we’ve ever seen!”
The second thing I’m noticing about this is: it’s interesting how we can revisit something that we’ve read years earlier, and we see different things in it than we did before, because we’re a different person than we were then. I don’t know that I feel that fear as strongly as I did back then. It’s definitely in a different place than before.
Have you ever felt as Marianne describes?