“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.”
These are the opening lines from my favourite quotation by Marianne Williamson. It’s quite long so I’ll just give you the website link where you can find it (http://skdesigns.com/internet/articles/quotes/williamson/our_deepest_fear) but it’s worth looking up. I’ve been thinking about it quite a lot recently after some conversations with big daughter. Fortunately, she’s a talkative teenager, not one who suffers in silence when she’s got something on her mind.
Her issue recently has been to do with dealing with other girls at school. Having been a teenager myself once, I can see now that their behaviour is all about hiding their own fear. We’re all afraid of something – life changes, losing loved ones, standing out from the crowd – and it’s part of what makes us who we are. When you’re a teenager, not only have you got schoolwork, physical body changes and more hormones than you can shake a stick at making you unpredictable, but you also have to cope with everybody else’s unpredictable hormones and learn to negotiate the social minefield as well. I’m very glad I’ve got past that bit now!
But having said that, getting older doesn’t mean that our fears go away. We find more fears, bigger fears. We worry about our children, our partners, our jobs, our homes. We still don’t like standing out from the crowd (apart from those who can’t resist the X Factor auditions). We take our fears out on other people, blaming them for the things that are holding us back when really the problem, and the answer, lies inside us. The quotation goes on to say:
“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.”
That’s when I look at small daughter, fearless, joyful and convinced that the world is here for her to make her mark upon. When do we lose that fearlessness? Sometimes, watching her attempting death-defying stunts on the swings in the park I wish she would be a little less fearless, but then I remind myself that the world will be a brighter place for her if she holds onto it. Her confidence is a bright light and she shines, just as the quotation says. She makes big daughter brave. And that fits with the very last line of the quotation, and that’s what I’ll leave you with:
“As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”