Our Deepest Fear

Marianne Williamson (1952-)

Not simply aimed towards black people, but towards all of humanity, Our Deepest Fear emphasizes the greatness of people as individuals. It may not be the most historic poem on this list, but it is included because it introduces two underrated approaches to triumph: inner change and confidence building. Many of us blame our failures on the idea that outside circumstances trump all. This may be the case sometimes, but Williamson believes that it is up to the individual to “change the case” and to take control of circumstance. Black History was filled with people that changed the circumstances of unfortunate situations. This poem references that very well.

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 and fabulous?
Actually who are we not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn’t 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 when 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.