Make Room For The Stuttering

Let Our Light Shine

Posted on: July 23, 2009

One of my favorite motivational pieces is one written by Maryann Williams, and spoken by the great Nelson Mandella at his 1994 inaugural address. I have used a snippet of this piece at graduation ceremonies I have helped to facilitate for students and  Honor induction ceremonies.

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? Your playing small does not serve the World.

There is nothing enlightening about shrinking so that other people won’t feel unsure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. 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.

That last line is so powerful – “As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”  I have felt this happen in my own life. There have been moments when I have felt so liberated, so empowered to stutter freely, and when I do that, it signals to others that it is acceptable. I let my light shine.

Yet, that has not always been easy. I have been stuck in the feelings of shame and inadequacy, just like everyone feels from time and time, and it is at those times where it is so difficult to let the light shine.

People who stutter often fear letting their light shine, feeling they are not good enough, that they don’t have anything of worth to say, that they won’t be understood. Feeling misunderstood is terribly lonely, and requires courage to push past that and take a chance anyway.

We have to take chances – with our stuttering, our voices, our dreams and hopes. Or else we will never know what we can achieve. I have finally realized how much I have to say and want to give to the world. And freely and fully share with another person, who wants to do the same. Its been inside all of this time, just waiting to come out. I think all of us possess inner strengths and gifts that must be nurtured and set free.

When we allow ourselves to shine, others see that and dare to think that maybe they can too. Young people especially need to see adults take risks and reap the rewards of self discovery, hope and pride. Every time we feel the fear and do something anyway, we are one step closer to achieving our goals and living our dreams, living fully, embracing life, and accepting. When we open the door, the light comes in. We have to be ready to let it in and go back out to the world, letting our own unique light shine.

Stuttering makes me unique and special. It is part of my inner beauty and captures the nature of my soul. How about you?

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© Pamela A Mertz and Make Room For The Stuttering, 2009 - 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pamela A Mertz and Make Room For The Stuttering with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Same protection applies to the podcasts linked to this blog, "Women Who Stutter: Our Stories" and "He Stutters: She Asks Him." Please give credit to owner/author Pamela A Mertz 2017.