How is it that we deal with our own fears and fallbacks? In a world that is often volatile, it is so easy to give in to self-doubt, to think that we are utterly inadequate to face the challenges in front of us. We may sometimes even think that we are too small to work through our problems.
On this topic, Marianne Williamson writes, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure… As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Williamson would later be quoted by Nelson Mandela, and in the modern film Coach Carter.
What is it about Williamson’s quote that makes it so powerful and notable? I first heard it recently while watching Coach Carter, and the fact that it was spoken by an inner-city kid who almost lost himself to violence and drugs increased its power ten-fold. The words came from him confidently and without doubt, and I felt myself growing in clarity and inspiration. Sitting in the dorm room with my friends after dinner went from a regular evening to a time of self-contemplation.
Who knows what tomorrow will bring? Or what the world will look like or how people will act? No one except God. But, there is something that I can control, that each and every person has power over: one’s self.
Some of the most joyful and inspired people I have ever met have been homeless. They experience sickness, loneliness, dehumanization, hunger, and a thousand more inhumane circumstances. And yet, so many smile after hearing one person say hello to them, or ask them how their day was. I find myself feeling more joyful myself after talking with a person sitting on some street corner near Park St., a person to whom I never thought I would stop to talk to before college. They shine their light even in the darkest storms, and I find that light to be a guide for me, a reminder of the power of perspective and response. Each of these people may not have many possessions, but they hold with them a key to liberation. They allow their light of happiness to shine, and that lets others feel liberated as well.
Williamson goes on to write, “You are a child of God.” This Truth is what gives us the “power beyond measure” that she writes about. This is what allows a person to be a light in the darkness, a source of joy and love. God’s presence within one’s self is all the light a person needs.
I like to think the reason this quote is so powerful and inspirational is because of its truth. When one realizes the presence of God within one’s self, it is much like coming home to a loving dog. You can ignore the dog all you want, but it is going to keep trying to lick and love you. It is only when you pay attention to the dog and its love that you can fully experience and appreciate its love. In the same way, God is always present within us. That is true no matter what. But it is when one takes the time to realize it and appreciate it, that love for one’s self rises and overtakes a person so much so that they cannot help but want to be his or her full self and shine fully!