Sunday, August 12, 2007

Achiever's Guilt

There's a nice quote from Marianne Williamson:
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.

Last year, an undergraduate friend of mine received an scholarship to Princeton University. Oddly, he seemed almost embarrassed by it. (In fact, it was a mutual friend who informed me of his success.) I was bemused by his reaction at the time, but now find echoes of it in myself. (Sometimes, when talking to a random person who asks where in America I'm going, I answer with an evasive 'New Jersey'. Silly, eh?)

On reflection, I think this kind of misguided modesty is not a good thing. In the case of my friend, I was happy for him and wanted to share this. But you can't celebrate with someone who refuses to acknowledge that something good has happened! So that's unfortunate. And I've been a little slow to internalize this lesson in my own case, I think.

Rather than pointlessly beating myself down, I should probably just relax and let myself feel grateful for my good fortune. So, on that note, a couple of photos of the beautiful campus from my March visit:

Just three weeks till I move in! Quite exciting, really... I imagine the Graduate College will be full of students - from all sorts of disciplines - who are intelligent and academically motivated. And dammit, that's a good thing!


  1. How funny, I've done exactly the same thing (that is, replied 'New Jersey'). Also, when people who I've met recently have asked me what I do, I've replied, 'Assistant Policy Analyst,' which technically was true until a few days ago, but...

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