Nelson Mandela is a very smart man – however I just found out that the above quote is NOT his. It is actually from Marianne Williamson’s book A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles (I have not read this book). In the quote above it states it is our personal power, our capacity for success, our own light that we are afraid of. I agree.
I remember when I first looked at going back to school (many moons ago). What I remember most about it was this overwhelming fear of success. I also remember being slammed for voicing that fear. Being told that was the most ridiculous thing ever. “How can you be afraid of succeeding?” at the time I could not rationalize the fear. I did not understand it. I thought “maybe I am ridiculous?” “maybe I just can’t face the idea of failing and so I am making this up?”
Years later I came to understand the fear. I truly was afraid of success. But why? Because with success comes a certain level of responsibility. Because there are now expectations based upon my proven ability – I would now have to live up to that standard, a standard I myself would have created. Because certain people were going to judge me based on that success rather than on who I am. And the biggest one for me at the time was that I was in a relationship based on need and dependency and if I found success I feared I would outgrow the relationship, and where did that leave me? It brought up a whole lot of what if’s and now what’s.
Success signified change. Simple as that. I also knew that failure was not an option. So if I went ahead with my plan then I was stuck with it, even if I hated it, because failure, dropping out, changing my mind was not in the cards, this was my one shot. So instead I sat on my hands for seven years. How sad is that. I was not ready to face the change that I knew was part of the deal. I was not ready to face the reality of where my life was at the time. I was refusing to accept responsibility for who I was, and for who I knew I could be. Who I knew I was capable of being. Because with it came facing my demons.
So am I some great and amazing successful person today. NO. But I do succeed at what I put my mind to. And I often catch myself growing stagnant in a comfort zone, while a part of my heart and soul are longing to reach beyond it. But personal growth takes personal effort. Real growth takes a lot of effort. You cannot effectively change where you are, who you are, what you do without massive amounts of effort. And effort entails commitment. And commitment requires dedication. Which in turn demands discipline… I am seeing a lot of words that I try to hide from in that list. By nature I am lazy. But I want, need, to be more. More than I am… more than where I am… just MORE. And I KNOW I am capable. And that if I apply myself and put my best foot forward I. WILL. SUCCEED.
I also know that if I succeed I pull others forward with me. Not because I am so great, but because it the way things seem to work. It may not be physically, or deliberately, but they will follow. They will see and rise up also. One small change, one step forward, creates a ripple. And that ripple touches those around you, sometimes in ways you could never imagine.
How amazing would this world be if we all used our potential for helping those around us? If we all strove to succeed at being better, kinder, brighter versions of ourselves? If we all created ripples that encouraged those around us to shine?
We were born to make manifest the glory of God. And when we let our own light shine, we give other people permission to do the same… Marianne Williamson