‘Our Deepest Fear’ by Marianne Williamson

“Our Deepest Fear” by Marianne Williamson: Success and Being Afraid to Be Great

Our Deepest Fear by Marianne Williamson can be considered as a ‘spirituality’ verse which revolves around the aspect of success and fear. According to the author of this poem, our greatest fear is not based on our inadequacy, but rather our powerfulness beyond measure. This poem can be perceived as a thought-provoking piece of literary work that sounds like an anthem of the modern generation of seekers. The title of this poem is rather shocking and cultivates a sense of enthusiasm in the reader to search for the understanding of ‘our deepest fear’ and what essentially the author is talking about. Williamson’s creativity in this piece of work remains outstanding, as it leaves the reader anxious to hear what comprises human beings (Williamson, 2005). The central idea in the poem revolves around understanding human nature and what we are meant for, our weaknesses and potentials.

Being an inspirational poem aimed at healing and empowering people in their daily lives, the poet was knowledgeable in choosing a title which matches her message. The title of the poem is a reflection of the human nature in the sense that it reflects the weaknesses of people of failing to explore their potentials (Williamson, 2005). Based on the poet, the deepest fear within humans is not a problem or a situation by a group of people, but rather a situation faced by all people. This fear is unconscious and is demonstrated when people fail to maximise on their strengths. As shown in the 6th stanza, people are able to overcome this fear by maximising their potentials. By so doing, they are not only able to liberate themselves, but also liberate others (Williamson, 2005).

The poem is written in the most inspiring and empowering manner. The 1st two stanzas of the poem have great wisdom and inspiration regarding human life. The poem gives an incredible depth of wisdom which may be unavailable elsewhere. The poem is powerful and insightful in its totality. The poem explores deeply the two sides polarizing human nature. In this case, the poet is astonished by the fact that humans are entirely powerful beyond measure, brilliant, talented, gorgeous, and fabulous; yet they do not exploit their full capabilities (Williamson, 2005). She shares her wisdom by saying that humankind’s deepest fear is that they are powerful beyond measure.

The third stanza is inspiring in the sense that it calls upon people to work with diligence and utilize their power. She says that playing small has no service to the world and also that shrinking is far from enlightenment. These are powerful words which provokes people to think and act big for the service of the world and others. In the fourth stanza, the poet reminds people on what they are meant for (Williamson, 2005). She says that people are meant to shine and manifest since the glory of God is within them. This is inspiring and it reminds people of their purpose in the world (Williamson, 1996).

The speaker’s voice is invisible throughout the poem, whereby she acts as an imaginary speaker. Marianne Williamson does not share her life experiences throughout the poem, but rather uses an invisible voice by acting as an imaginary speaker. Despite that she has used the first person throughout the poem, her voice is invisible. This is a powerful approach, which helps in drawing the audience’s attention (Utley, 2013).


Williamson, M. (2005). ‘Our Deepest Fear’ Poem, Positive Approach Stories Inspirations. Retrieved on 8th May, 2013, from: http://www.inspiringcommunity.org/inspiringstories0504
Utley, O. (2013). Voice in Poetry: Dream a World With Langston Hughes. Retrieved on 8th May, 2013, from: http://www.teachers.yale.edu/curriculum/viewer/initiative_08.02.01_u
Williamson, M. (1996). A Return to Love: Reflections on Principles of “A Course in Miracles”. New York: Harper Paperbacks.

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