It is this one:
“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.”–Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love
In fairness, it’s not an entirely useless quote. I wouldn’t really want to argue that we aren’t children of God or that we shouldn’t make manifest the glory of God that is within us, but I disagree specifically with the assertion that our greatest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. Maybe it’s Ms. Williamson’s greatest fear. Maybe it’s the greatest fear of a handful of human beings who have struggled their entire lives to contain their considerable stores of self-love, but I don’t believe that the vast majority of us wait timidly on the sidelines because we fear the inevitable eruption of awesomeness. I think that is a load of crap.
That is exactly what I’d tell anyone who told me that the reason he never accomplished anything was that he feared his own greatness. Actually, what I’d say is, “What kind of lame-ass excuse is that? You must be some kind of douchebag. P.S. [Go fly a kite].”
Let me tell you what I fear: I fear my own inadequacy. Do you know how long I’ve been writing this blog? Six years. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a nice little blog. As blogs go, I think I have every reason to be proud of it. What I don’t have reason to be proud of is my failure to write anything else over the last six years. I used to think that it was because I didn’t have time to write anything else, because the demands on my time and attention were such that it was impossible for me to accomplish anything more than random, extemporaneous blog posts. But I can admit now that this is not really the case. The truth is that I lack discipline, and overwhelming evidence suggests that the reason I lack discipline is that I’m afraid that if I really applied myself, I might find that there is no untapped greatness lurking within me. What I see right here is exactly all there is. I’m a good writer, but I’m not a great writer. Why would I want to face that? Writing is all that I’ve ever wanted to do. It is painful to imagine that this is as good as it gets, and at this point, that hypothesis does not take a lot of imagination. Which is good, because mediocre writers don’t have a lot of imagination!
Believe me, if any part of me thought there was some power-beyond-measure in here just waiting to be unleashed, I would not fear it. I would hunt it down, wrestle it to the ground and make it eat dirt. I’ll show you who’s boss, Greatness Within! Don’t mess with me, I will cut you! But it ain’t happening, kids. I’m not looking for the Greatness Within because I don’t want to know that it’s not there. Does that make me a coward? Yes. But it’s honest, authentic cowardice–not that imaginary cowardice that only douchebags have. “Oh, I’m powerful beyond measure and it makes me sooooooo scared.” Shut up, douchebags. Some of us have real problems.
And that is why I don’t like that Marianne Williamson quote. I’m sorry, Marianne Williamson, but congratulations on writing a book, which is more than I’ll probably ever do. Au revoir, mes enfants. Adieu, adieu.