Own Your Magnificence – Nelson Mandela’s Inaugural Speech?

This is an amazing quote, something to think and talk about often.  It’s particularly helpful when making tricky decisions.

‘What would you do if you owned your magnificence?’ I say and ponder on.  It can be life-changing, life affirming and take the heat out of any situation because it tells you what you really want to be doing.  It can help anyone at any time.

It is famously and usually attributed to Nelson Mandela, a man who became President of South Africa after 27 years in jails there, before international outcry and campaigning could secure his freedom.  Some say he used it in his inauguration ceremony.  Others say he didn’t and records don’t back it up!

Its original source, it is claimed, is a spiritual work book of sorts called A Course in Miracles but, if this is the case, it has certainly also been brought to wider public attention by Marianne Williamson who spells it out in her book A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles, and she is also commonly credited with it.  Apparently, the word ‘God’ is used purely for simplicity.

Add some power to your elbow with it anyhow:

“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, fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.

There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine, as children do.

We were 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.”

nelson mandela
Nelson Mandela – Anti-apartheid Revolutionary.



    • Anya says

      It’s amazing what we’re capable of – as we see when we’re pushed – but to ‘own our magnificence’ outright certainly helps!

  1. Grace says

    It’s a lovely quote. You’re right, it’s actually by Marianne Wilson. That quote is commonly mis-attributed to Madiba’s inauguration speeches. (In fact, he made two speeches, and neither of them quote Wilson’s poem.)
    If you read the transcripts, you’ll see that neither transcript contains this passage.

    • Anya says

      Thank you – and I thought so! It’s very confusing when trying to pin it down. I hope you find it as inspiring and helpful as I do, regardless :)

  2. says

    WHAT a spectacular blog post – thank you for tweeting it to me. Tonight I NEEDED to read that. Self-sabotage is what I do hourly/daily and I am VERY good at it! Oh the irony! Letting myself be good at something that stops me being good at ANYTHING. I have SUCH an issue with this.
    Thanks darling girl for the reminder xx

    • says

      This passage is something I think of regularly – especially when it comes to decisions. What would I do if I owned my magnificence I ask myself – and the way is clearer immediately – and not always an expected one! X

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