Years ago, I was inspired with a quote then attributed to Nelson Mandela:
Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate, but that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, handsome, 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 around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us.
It is not just in some; it is in everyone.
And, as we let our own light shine, we consciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
The trouble is that Nelson Mandela didn’t write it. He didn’t say it. And it certainly wasn’t part of his inauguration address.
In the years since, I was quite happy to correct people on the origin of the quote, but you know, I actually hadn’t checked. I had read that it did appear in A Return to Love, but had never seen it there. Amid all the things that have happened in the past year, I picked up a copy of the book. But I hadn’t read it.
Last night I did. And the quote – “Our greatest fear…” is there. Page 165 of the First Edition hardback I have beside me.
Although the quote is actually a single paragraph in the book – not separated into individual lines as if it were poetry – it does read better on a poster when separated out.