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03/12/2013 08:10 am ET Updated May 12, 2013

Day 12: 31 Days of Daily Inspiration From Brilliant Women

Daily Inspiration: Day 12 of 31 Days

"You are your best thing." -- Toni Morrison (writer, 1931-)

This is such a simple but brilliant and much needed quotation. I've not yet met a person who doesn't underestimate themselves, who isn't shocked to realize what they're able to accomplish and what an incredible impact they can have on other people. My dear friend Leah Curney, who wrote and stared in her first off-Broadway show last week, was stunned by the amazing reception it got. Having read the script, and being moved to tears last time she sang to me, I wasn't surprised in the slightest. But when I got an email last week from a reader writing to thank me for Men, Money & Chocolate, "for the words that inspired me to become the me I always wanted to be," I soaked up startled tears of surprise.

It's usually that way. We don't see our own gifts, just as we don't see the self-sabotaging traits that hold us back from success. So it helps to employ the compassionate, honest eyes of friends or mentors -- people we can trust to see the truth and show it to us. But, even then, we're often more able to hear negative than positive feedback. To be told that we're lovely and amazing can, strangely, be a hard thing to hear. How easy is it, after all, to hold the gaze of someone who loves you for a long time? Most of us have a low threshold for such intimacy and adoration. And yet, if we can't let much love in, then life will never work out the way we want it to. It is then, something for us all to practice.

For more by Menna van Praag, click here.

For more inspirational quotes, click here.

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