You probably remember Nelson Mandela’s famous speech in which he quoted Marianne Williamson: ‘Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. We ask ourselves ‘Who am I to be briilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?’
I was reminded of this in the course of a conversation with a client who was recalling the long-term effects of some of the messages she internalised as a child. ‘Don’t boast’ was one such message.
Have you read what Marianne Williamson goes on to say? I brought up the words on my computer screen and felt tears welling up as I read: ‘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.’
My client and I were both stopped in our tracks as we realised the significance of this for the way we bring up children. How wonderful it would be if we could teach them that ‘playing small does not serve the world’. We can encourage them (as well as ourselves) to:
- give a realistic account of their (and our) achievements, without false pride or undue modesty
- see the potential they (and we) have to help others
- volunteer their (and our) services without pushing others aside
- leave a positive trail in their (and our) world.