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Soaring on Wings of Confidence
By Sue Augustine

In the tender, nurturing atmosphere of the chrysalis, the butterfly matures into its natural splendor and beauty. So, too, can we flourish when we discover our own protective covering, one that will shelter us from the myriad of influences we face daily that can sap our confidence. When we learn to cherish and esteem ourselves, we will soon experience a personal metamorphosis. Eventually we'll emerge with exquisite and powerful wings that will carry us above lifes obstacles.

There are so many variables contributing to our wings. Inner confidence, including having faith in ourselves and belief in our abilities, is essential if we are to create the full, rich, rewarding flight we want. In fact, the one thing that can hold us back more than anything else from the triumphant life we say we desire is that we don't truly believe we are worthy of it.

When we take a good look at the way women have been conditioned regarding what it takes to be a worthy person, with unrealistic expectations and nearly impossible standards, its no wonder our self-confidence suffers. Add to that some of the messages we've received through the media or society encouraging us to strive to be the intellectual, prudent, good-looking, sexy, successful super-mom and it's easy to understand why more and more women are on a frustrating, never-ending quest for self-improvement. It seems that to be a "happy, prosperous" woman today one must climb the corporate ladder during the week, work out at the gym every morning, go for a walk during the lunch hour, help the kids with science fair projects, keep an immaculate house, entertain in the evenings, spend weekends making huge kettles of vegetarian soup and baking multi-grain muffins, model part-time and shingle the roof on her day off! This is to say nothing of the false images of feminine beauty and the ideal body myth that continue to nag us. In reality, most of us will never have the bodies of the super models we compare ourselves with, nor would we want to pay the price, including anorexia and bulimia, to gain acceptance and approval.

So many of us have developed the habit of being our own worst critic, believing that we're not as good as we should be, that we don't measure up. We undermine our self-confidence by falling into the comparison trap. It's time we created our own measuring stick. Try redefining success in your own terms. Run your own race and leave the status quo behind. Focus on your unique talents. Concentrate on your individual goals and aspirations. And recognize your limitations as well. If you've been attempting to be in control of everyone and everything, let yourself off the hook. Although you hold the key to your happiness and success, you are not fully responsible for the condition of your world.

Self-acceptance is an art. You can master it by emotionally nurturing yourself as you would any friend who was suffering. Encouraging others seems to be our natural territory. Women are gifted at boosting the confidence of others yet we reprimand ourselves for being less than perfect.

To sustain a sense of enduring self-confidence, regularly nurture yourself. Every day, remind yourself you are a valuable person. Write your accomplishments in a private victory journal. Treat yourself to a cup of tea in your very best china, or a massage or a candlelight bubble bath. Feelings of self-esteem and worthiness ultimately strengthen confidence. Lovingly caring for yourself empowers you to soar up and over life's barriers.

Adapted from the book, With Wings, There Are No Barriers ©1997, by Sue Augustine (Pelican Publishing)  Sue Augustine is an internationally-recognized keynote speaker and a contributing author to the #1 New York Times bestseller, "Chicken Soup for the Woman's Soul."



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