"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 you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't 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 are 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." --Marianne WilliamsonSomewhere along the line, I developed the habit of responding to compliments with, "Thank you, but..." followed by a list of all the flaws in my accomplishment, or claims that I was just lucky, or my surprise that it turned out so well. One time a friend complimented me on something during a phone call, and I brushed it off. After I hung up the phone, I realized that I had so thoroughly dismissed his praise that I couldn't even remember what he had said!
Enough! I made up my mind to answer all future compliments with a smile and a simple Thank You.
For the most part, I remember.
What started me on this self-destructive path? Simply, I wanted to be accepted by my school friends. I wanted to be one of them, and out-shining them did not seem to be a good way to accomplish that. As the author says, I was "playing small" so others wouldn't "feel insecure" around me. The trouble is, after a few years of concerted self-deprecation, I believed what I was saying.
This business of displaying our artistic "children" to the world is a complicated one. Too many artists have stacks of paintings, stories, sculptures, musical compositions, etc., hidden away somewhere, because they're "not good enough" to show publicly. It's not false modesty; it's genuine fear. Fear of rejection. Fear of ridicule. Fear of criticism. And, yes, fear of inadequacy. Hiding our light under the proverbial basket is our fragile Ego's way of trying to protect us.
The trouble is, I believe we are here "to make manifest the glory of God that is within us." Hiding our talents, no matter how small we believe them to be, cannot be what God had in mind.