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 manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is 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
I tend to shy away from quotes that are used often. Even when I initially, really connected to it. This one is different. As I read those words above, even as part of me is thinking… oh, that quote again… it’s impossible to not be struck over and over again by the truth in it.
There’s a woman that works at the same spa that I do, and I love when I run into her between massages, or on breaks, because even when it’s a six sentence exchange during the 3 ½ minutes that we share in passing… the words that transpire there tend to stick with me for a while. She reads like a maniac and is attracted to the same kinds of books I am (she’s the only other person I’ve met who also knows who David Whyte is). And she questions a lot of things herself. Always thinking about the way the world works and the dynamics of human interaction. I adore her.
The other thing that I realized just this weekend, that has become absolutely fascinating to me… is that she seems to see the best version of me.
Now we’ve both talked about our various past fuck-ups, and I’m not saying she thinks I have a charmed life. But she’ll sometimes make statements, amidst conversation, like, “You strike me as someone who…” or “I see you as someone who doesn’t…” And they’re finished up with statements that describe the person that I strive to be, or the characteristics that I value, and aim to cultivate. And I always have to stop for a moment and think about it… because I have that same knee jerk reaction that I often do to compliments, where I want to list my faults and lay them out as proof of how far I still have to go.
But somehow when she says these things, I stop first to think. Maybe it’s because of the person I see her as too? Someone who doesn’t just take things, or people, for how they first appear, and label them from a shallow interpretation. She takes things in, chews on them, questions them and holds an ever-evolving conversation with them, readjusting as she gathers new information or insight.
Whatever the reason, when I stop to think on the things she says, the more I try and find examples of my own contradictions… the more I find that the observations she offers up about me are often true.
And it just left me thinking for such a long time…
I think we often measure ourselves up against the worst version we can find. Recollecting how many times we nitpick our spouses, or are impatient with those around us, choose to eat poorly, or how long we let the clutter pile up until we can’t stand it anymore. I think too often we hold that struggle we have with wishing we were better than we are up to the light for dissection, and convince ourselves that that is who we are. That is how we handle things and that is how far we have to go.
But how far we have to go for what? To reach perfection? HAH! Can I hear just one big collective HAH! at the idea that we must somehow measure ourselves against our distance from perfection?! When in the history of humanity was that idea implanted?!
This is not an idea, a habit, that is beneficial to our growth. Not acknowledging the good in ourselves, the things we can be proud of, is only inhibiting. To us all. ”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.” The truth of it really… hits me time and again. Because the logical conclusion is that when we do not acknowledge all the staggeringly beautiful and praiseworthy qualities in ourselves, we unconsciously send out the message that it’s not okay to be proud of yourself. That our faults and mistakes are what define us. That it’s best to try and make these parts of ourselves as unobtrusive as possible so that these ways in which we fall short aren’t noticed too often.
And is that really what we want to build a community out of? Is that the message we want to send out to our friends? Our loved ones? Our children?
I sure as hell hope not!
Anyways, as I step down from my soapbox… I’ll just say that I appreciated the flicker of recognition I was able to feel when looking at someone else’s description of me. That the highest version of myself, the one I hope to be, does in fact live in my own skin more often than I give myself credit for.
Now to remember this day in and day out… here’s the real key to it all.