I have been thinking about a popular quote by Marianne Williamson the past few days.
“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.”
I am a huge fan of Marianne Williamson, so I have heard this quote many times. And honestly, it has never been my favorite. I have always found it counter-intuitive. Who would not want to be powerful beyond measure? Of course, when I ask this question, I am defining “powerful” using our standard societal norms. Powerful means money. Powerful means importance. Powerful means influence.
Even though I spent my childhood in a power void, I have had some of this societal power in my adult life. I have run large projects. I have supervised many people. I have managed large corporate budgets, while being paid a substantial salary for my work. I have had the power that we strive for in this culture. I wasn’t a millionaire, but I was doing ok.
Now that I am in recovery, I do realize this is not the power Marianne is referring to. This kind of power is not scary. This kind of power doesn’t require courage. It suppresses the insecurities and pain that must be addressed to become powerful beyond measure. Most importantly, this kind of power is temporary … even fleeting.
But I still don’t believe that being powerful beyond measure is our greatest fear. I think it is the path to that powerful existence that is so terrifying. In order to find our power, we must work through the real fears … the fear of death, the fear of our darkness, the fear of complete and utter failure. If we work through these ultimate fears, we find our power, but that takes a lot of courage.
As I work toward my own power, I have pushed myself further than I have pushed myself before. I have found courage I never knew existed. I have faced the possibility of my own torture or death as retaliation for telling my story. I have faced my own deep shame when hearing the labels and judgment associated with sex trafficking. I have faced my deep rage and grief related to my victimization. With each step, I get a little closer to that power Marianne is referring to.
I can feel the power as it builds. I can stand in it. Each day, I can stand in it for a little longer before I need to shrink back down to a more comfortable energetic existence. I know this power can manifest every dream I have imagined … and many that I haven’t. But it is scary. It is scary to be that alive.
But this power is scary in another way. As I realize that I have it, I am forced to admit that I have lived without it for 41 years. That is hard. It is hard to consider that so much of my life has been wasted living in the shadow of my perpetrators. But I wasn’t ready until now. I have to accept that. I have to accept that this new chapter of my life will start now.
As I search out and uncover this power, I have been scared. I have been discouraged. I have certainly been impatient. And I don’t know that these feelings will come to an end while I am in human form. But I also see the beauty in this power. It is not temporary or fleeting. It is not selfish or indulgent. It is not afraid. It is not judgmental. It is mine. And it can never be taken from me.