These words by Marianne Williamson, part of a wonderful essay on how we should let our own lights shine, and be brilliant, were quoted by Nelson Mandela in a speech. They are now falsely attributed to him. I do not imagine that Marianne minds as I believe that she would rather her message reach the world. It’s an important message – that it is our duty to develop and share our gifts with the world. Not because the world needs more, it probably needs less, but because of the energy and good feeling generated by people finding their own brilliance is contagious and adds to the collective good.
Marianne realises, however that we are we are held back by humility, fear of looking arrogant, fear of surpassing and outgrowing our loved ones, and making others feel insecure around us.
Primarily we miss out on greatness and we hide our talents under a rock because of our fear of what other people think of us. If I could instil anything at all into my children, it would be this lesson – to not contemplate or stress about what we believe others think of us. I have had many a futile conversation in my head and caused many a forehead wrinkle in this endeavour, for absolutely no positive outcome that I can think of. Others will think what they like and it does not ultimately have to affect us, except in the contemplation of it. Plus I am also often so wrong, to my own detriment.
Why would we fear being powerful beyond measure? For me it’s a fear of inadvertently doing ill with that power. We would have to take responsibility for our now more powerful actions; actions that might have further reaching implications than anything we do now, in our little, sleepy life.
As we exhibit our talents, we are more likely to attract the attention of others – people who will see our actions and judge us. We project onto our observers every thought we have about our own capabilities. It is like a magnification of our own beliefs and fears about ourselves. If there is any self doubt at all it would be torture. But imagine if, when the naysayers came out of the woodwork as they surely will, that what they say does not touch you? You observe, accept and even learn from it, thanking them in the process, because you are strong inside.
So what I have learned just now by exploring this is that your fear of unearthing your talents will evaporate once you have self acceptance and let go of worrying about others. You are not that powerful anyway. Any power you have, they have given you. It is their choice. Identify and take back your own power in the same way. You ultimately choose your thoughts.
As you develop your confidence, you will erase the self doubts. There will be no inner fears to magnify by being ‘brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous’ and thereby attracting attention. You are already powerful beyond measure and that kind of power is not to be feared at all. Fame and success if that’s what you seek come afterwards, as a manifestation of your confidence. You just know that you enjoy developing what comes naturally. Life flows. You can gradually accept the acclaim if you believe you deserve it and know you have worked for it.
As you mature, events in your life are seen for what they are – just neutral events; neither good nor bad. You can accept them with grace. You need not fear others’ reactions because you realise it’s just their opinion and you don’t have to give it any power. If those you love react to you suddenly changing, growing and shining, know that it is their reaction, independent of you. Hopefully your presence will liberate them and they will uncover their talents and join you. If they shrink away, give them love for they need it most. It is their own journey.