Saturday, February 6, 2010

Letting Your Light Shine or Playing Small?

I am reflecting on this quote today:

“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 is 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 are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

----from A Return to Love, by Marianne Williamson

So what does this mean to me? Why does it call to me, especially today?
  • I tend to be intimidated, at times, by the intensity of my own passions and interests, fearing that others might think that I am odd or even "crazy" when I share them. 
  • I am sometimes lonely in my pursuit of advocacy for kids, working with some people who have given up or who just "check in and out" each day, seeing teaching as a job, not a calling as I see it.
  • This quote reminds me of the responsibility I have in using my gifts to the fullest. I believe that we all have gifts that can make the world a better place. 
  • "We are all meant to shine" is a tough one for me as I was trained as a child to be humble, to play it safe, to not stand out. 
  • I am thinking about and evaluating possibilities for the future. Is the teaching environment I am in really the one that will allow me to do the most good?
As you ponder the quote, what calls to you? Are you putting your most talented and courageous self out there for the world to see? Do you struggle as I do between wanting to stay safe and please others versus being a voice for change?
I hope to learn how others conquer these challenges.


  1. For the past few years, I have been struggling with what to do my life. I knew I wanted to be in education, and I have a background in youth development programming. But, going back to the community just didn't appeal to me, which scared me because it was the reason I ended up in a doctoral program.

    So, I sat down and really thought about what I loved to do, what rejuvenated me. And the answers came flooding to me. I really enjoy sharing ideas, discussing, debating issues and theories, meeting new people, and advising. From there I began to look at places, former work environments, that inspired me. Then it hit me; I belong in the ivory tower.

  2. Thanks for sharing Will. You will be an excellent professor. I enjoy discussing and sharing ideas with you and our Twitter group.


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