Fledgling Birds

I have enjoyed my new hobby of feeding birds and watching them closely.  One early summer day, I was surprised to see one bird seemed to have trouble landing on a perch.  He would flutter around in mid air and eventually come to rest somewhere other than the bird feeder.  I had just read about ways you can tell fledgling birds from the mature birds, so I deduced that I was witnessing a young bird getting his flying skills polished. Fledglings don’t look smaller than the adults so it isn’t immediately apparent.

It occurred to me that we are just like the birds when we are beginning to do something new.  We don’t “fly” as precisely and have as much confidence when we are first learning something. It takes a lot of practice before something feels smooth and second nature.  We shouldn’t judge ourselves by others who have had more practice.  It comes more easily the more we do something.

I’ve found that people who have not gotten encouragement as children often are very judgmental of themselves as adults. When they are learning a new skill, often they expect themselves to be good at it right away. They may have gotten messages that encouraged them to think that if they aren’t perfect at something, it isn’t good enough. Since there really is no such thing as perfection, this is a set up for feeling lousy.

Our bird friends would be greatly hampered if they had to stay on their branches when they couldn’t fly perfectly right away. Let’s take a lesson from nature and be gentle with ourselves. What counts is the process – the growth we experience every day!

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