“Our Greatest Fear” is the title of a poem by Marianne Williamson. Four years ago, I wrote a blog post with that poem as my theme. Lately, that poem has been on my mind, snippets of it coming to me throughout the day.
Earlier this week I watched a Dovico live presentation featuring three of my favourite people: Shelley Butler, Yves Doucet and Natalie Davison. They have each been an instrumental part of my journey and growth over the past several years. As usually happens when the three of them get together, the conversation is vigorous and entertaining. I invite you to watch it for yourself here.
Natalie shared how many people have the perception that she fearlessly stands up for her beliefs, when in fact it scares her. She even admitted that it was scary for her at the moment to question Yves on some of his statements, even though they had been friends for many years.
Natalie and Shelley shared similar stories of being addressed on the clothes they had worn early in their careers. The impetus for Natalie to take a stand was when her business partner and friend was dealing with the same issues. She was able to be brave when fighting for someone she cared about.
As humans, we are wired for connection, so of course, we want people to like us. Often, we base our worth on the opinions of others when we should be connected to the core of who we are. Even as we pretend to ‘not care what other people think”, one word or comment on social media can cut us to the core.
In her book Pastrix, Nadia Bolz-Weber says “Our identity has nothing to do with how we are perceived by others. But it’s still tempting to believe. I mean if Jesus was vulnerable to temptation, the rest of us certainly are…”
“A Return to Love”
“Our Greatest Fear” was first published by Marianne Williamson in 1992 and became well known after Nelson Mandela quoted it in his inauguration address. In fact, in two separate movies, the poem is attributed to Mandela. That does not make Marianne Williamson less worthy.
When I wrote that first blog post 4 years ago, I could not have foreseen the challenges that soon come. It destroyed my sense of self. In the years since, I have been able to reclaim my worth, just as I am.
If you are basing your “worthiness” on the opinions of others, you will always find reasons to doubt yourself. Thank you to Shelley, Natalie and Yves for showing us how we can find our true worth.