When I was training teachers I read that at his Inaugural Speech Nelson Mandela had spoken some inspiring words about overcoming our fear of our greater natures. I used to quote from Mandela’s wonderful words as I thought them a useful thing to tell to young people.
I then found out that I had been misinformed and that Mandela had not written the words at all. In fact, he was quoting from ‘Our Deepest Fear’, a poem by Marianne Williamson from her book, ‘A Return to Love.’
Today, I had another shock. I found out that Mandela never quoted from the poem at his speech. His sentiments and message were similar but the words were not the same. I apologise for misleading people in the past. But I’m not too repentant; at least people heard the poem.
As a historical novelist I am intrigued by how facts can morph into supposed facts that are actually fiction. And how fiction can morph into what is perceived as fiction.
Nevertheless, both Mandela and Williamson’s words are worth remembering and worth quoting. I shall quote from the poem today. Marianne Williamson’s book, ‘A Return to Love’ can be found on Amazon and at other retailers.
Here’s the poem.
Our Deepest Fear
By Marianne Williamson
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’s nothing enlightened about shrinking
So that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine,
As children do.
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’re liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.