In 1993, Nelson Mandela and Frederik Willem de Klerk won the Nobel Peace Prize for their tireless work ending apartheid in South Africa. Mandela had recently spent 27 years behind bars for his political views.
Just a year later, he achieved an enormous victory for racial equality, becoming the first black president of South Africa as well as the first official elected there in multiracial polling.
His inauguration speech became a point of worldwide pride, and people started quoting it — incorrectly. Now most people believe he said the following:
“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.”
You see, I admit it… I have played small in my life. I have not fulfilled my true potential. I have not always shone my light for all to see. I have kept quiet when I should have spoken out. I have dumbed down so others will not feel threatened by me. I have even dressed down so I won’t attract jealousy from other women.
But when I read A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson things started to change. Because for the first time I KNEW what I was doing and more importantly WHY I was doing it. I was playing small because I wanted to be liked. I wanted to be loved. I wanted to be appreciated. I did not want to be a threat to anyone else. Or be attacked for being different. Posh. A snob. Too smart. Too opinionated. Too this or too that. Which all means too much for other people to cope with…
It was safer to say less and be less. To not confront the bully or the abuser. To let my own hopes gather dust while I helped others achieve their dreams. I stopped shining my true light because other people were not shining theirs. They did not like to see my light, because it made them feel small. So I stayed small to help them out. I’m a kind person…
And now? I am choosing to shine every day. To be authentically me. To speak my truth even though it may seem blunt and confrontational to some people. To stand my ground. To hold my boundaries. To choose more wisely who I spend my time with – because my time is a precious resource.
Maybe you have been playing small in your life too? Maybe out of kindness? Maybe out of fear? So this is the day to stop.
If you want to stop playing small and to step into your own authentic power, then don’t delay a moment longer. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org now. I can help you write a whole new chapter of your life…
PS: For a shot of inspiration, order your own copy of my YOU CAN SHINE (MP3) for just £5.00 – click here now.