Rule #20: Don’t Play Small

If I could improve upon the words of Marianne Williamson, I would. But I can’t. (And I don’t think I’m “playing small” in saying so.) This famous excerpt from her book A Return to Love – often incorrectly attributed to Nelson Mandela* – pretty much covers Rule #20.

Our Greatest Fear

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 and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other
people won’t feel insecure around you.

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.

* I like what Williamson reportedly said about the incorrect Mandela attribution. It’s a good example of humility without playing small: “As honored as I would be had President Mandela quoted my words, indeed he did not. I have no idea where that story came from, but I am gratified that the paragraph has come to mean so much to so many people.”

Onward,  Malcolm Gauld