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Our Greatest Fear by Marianne Williamson


I was introduced to Our Greatest Fear by fellow pilgrim Mony Dojeiji. It was oft stated that this poem was quoted by Nelson Mandela in his 1994 speeches. However, that may not be correct, after all. These words appear neither in the 9 May 1994 inaugural speech nor the 10 May 1994 inaugural speech, nor any of the other speeches, statements and writings by Mandela. The story about Mandela uttering these words is an urban myth.

This poem became an element of my personal manifesto that I read daily. I thank Marianne Williamson for her fabulous creation. My manifesto defines and declares my beliefs, values, opinions, motives, and intentions, and what ultimately is important to me. Thus my manifesto functions as a statement of principles and a call to action.

Our Greatest Fear

it is our light not our darkness that most frightens us

Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate, but that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us.

We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, handsome, talented and 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 were born to make manifest the glory of God within us.

It is not just in some; it is in everyone.

And, as we let our own light shine, we consciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

~Marianne Williamson


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