In my high school days (FGC Sokoto and USS Ilorin) and even in University (OAU, Ile-Ife), I used to be terribly shy of the limelight. I ran away from any activity that would put me in the forefront, especially extra-curricular activities like athletics and student groups. As recently as my time in GT Bank, I still suffered from some form of stage fright. Like many people in hiding, I knew I was talented, even in the areas I ran away from but my timidity got the better of me. I was content with letting my light shine in secret rather than the open.
Recently, before I left GT Bank and all through my time at McGill, I decided it was okay to be at the forefront and that I did not have to hide my light “under a bushel”. I decided it was okay to begin to emerge from hiding and that it was okay to be unpopular or to fail, in the open. I realized I was not sent here to exist in secret but to be a blessing, to shine, in the open.
I think there are many people presently in hiding, who are afraid of the intensity of their own light. It is time to come out of hiding. We impoverish ourselves and the world when we refuse to let our light shine.
The following oft cited poem by Marianne Williamson is apt:
“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 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 when 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.”