“Your playing small does not serve the world.”

Deb brought up a Nelson Mandela quote, that I vaguely remembered. So I looked for it. Turns out he didn’t say it, it’s actually Marianne Williamson. But thank you for reminding me of it, it’s great.

“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 unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Marianne Williamson

With that quote in mind I’m going to put together a list for my 50’s. Lists are so comforting. They’re also very practical, because I tend to follow them and actually do things. Not that I accomplish everything, it’s not all within my control of course, but I try, which staves off the loser feeling!

Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

View all posts by Stacy Horn →

2 thoughts on ““Your playing small does not serve the world.”

  1. I feel like such a knucklehead! In searched through my journals looking for the source that attributed the quote to Mandela. Didn’t find it, but found a list I made in Nov. 2003 which included “Go to New York and hear Stacy play drums.”

  2. Ha! I only play sporadically these days!

    Apparently that quote is famously misattributed to Mandela. When I found it the website said, “Everyone thinks Mandela said this, but …”

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