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An excerpt from A Return to Love by Mar­i­an­ne Williamson, from the chap­ter “Per­son­al Pow­er”

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.

Cover of A Return to LoveWe 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 is noth­ing enlight­ened about shrink­ing so that oth­er peo­ple won’t feel inse­cure about you. We were born to 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.

This piece is often erro­neous­ly cred­it­ed as being from Nel­son Mandela’s 1994 Inau­gu­ral Speech. This text does not, how­ev­er, appear in that speech, and Mar­i­an­ne Williamson’s book was pub­lished in 1992.