The following is often quoted as an extract from Nelson Mandela's inaugural speech in South Africa in 1994 (see footnote). In it, he reflects on the nature of our understanding of ourselves. It is so powerful that it requires no further introduction:
'Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light and not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask 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 doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We were 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 are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.'
Whilst the above is widely quoted as having been used in a speech by Mandela, it would appear that this may be a misrepresentation. The original author seems to have been Marianne Williamson. The passage is a paragraph in her book Return to Love, published in 1992.
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