Our Deepest Fear in Life Poem

Inspirational Poem by Marianne Williamson

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.

Some reference information on Marianne Williamson and the poem

  • The famous passage from her book is often erroneously attributed to the inaugural address of Nelson Mandela. About the misattribution Williamson said, “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.”
  • The poem was also included in the movie, “Invictus,” about Nelson Mandela and the South African Rugby team.
  • The film Akeelah and the Bee includes this quotation without citing its source. Some viewers have inferred that the source is W.E.B. Du Bois. There is a later scene in the movie in which Akeela reads a passage from The Souls of Black Folk written by Du Bois (“He began to have a dim feeling that, to attain his place in the world, he must be himself, and not another”).

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate

 

  • The film Coach Carter includes a variation of this quote: “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. 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. It’s not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

  • The Israeli bestseller “Badulina” by the author Gabi Nitzan opens with this quote, also attributing it to Nelson Mandela.

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