Have you heard this quote before? …

“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…. 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.”

If you have, it can’t hurt to read it again. In fact, many of us have it posted in a prominent place in our home or work area. It gives me goosebumps every time I read it.

It’s from A Return to Love, which although is not a children’s book, expands your heart and would certainly have a positive effect on those around you.

It would be fun to unpack it and talk about what it means to us.

Let’s not start with the idea of us being brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous. That’s a lot. Let’s start with being a child of God. This message at the heart of the quote is the key. This is not about us bragging and getting accolades and feeling exceptional. It is our opportunity to allow God’s love to flow through us. “We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.” It’s already there, it’s just been stifled by negative circumstances, fears, and failure narratives we tell ourselves. We’ve piled a bunch of junk on top of our channel to God.

The quote is daunting because it begs the question, ‘What is holding us back? What is blocking our channel to divine love?’ It could be a lot of things, but there’s a good chance that some of it is still left over from our childhoods. It may seem hard to believe that stuff that old can still be having an effect on us, but it is part of our ‘coding.’ It helped shape us. So, if we had a parent, teacher or even sibling who diminished us—even in subtle ways—that could still be messing with our ability to shine. The only way to clear that away is to go back and realize how it affected you. Some anger might come up. That’s good! It’s probably been festering down there quite a while! Let it up and let it out. Then let it go. We’ll broach the topic of forgiveness soon. That is a crucial piece to this puzzle too.

This was the first time I heard the concept of “shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure,” stated outright like that. Many of these interactions are subtle and go by without notice. Receiving a compliment, and reacting by trying to diminish it is just one example. This is an artform that women, in particular, are very adept at. I bet you could come up with an example from within the last week if you tried.

The best part of this quote is that after you’re quaking in your boots about what it would feel like to have this much potential light shining through you, Ms. Williamson comes through with the final piece. “As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” You won’t be the only light bulb in the room! Just watch as other people start to light up. It happens almost instantly. As dormant as this light channel could be, it is dying to come out. We ARE children of God. By shining the divine light towards others, they will get permission to open up too. The conversations and interactions will take on a new level. Wonderful things can happen.

I’d love to hear your reaction to this quote. What was your first thought, and also what does it feel like to put it into practice? Let’s share some stories!