This morning I looked into the mirror and realised something. I appear - and I realise this may sound weird - to have grown into my face. I didn't look at myself and think: "Eurgh." And believe me, that in itself is massive progress! I looked at myself and thought: "Yeah, that's me. This face sort of suits me in a funny old way."
It's not just my face, either. I've done a lot of soul-searching in the last few weeks. For one reason or another, I've been thinking about just who I am and why I am that way. What makes me tick, for want of a better expression.
I've always been quite self-analytical. I've always been able to pinpoint events from my past and use them to explain my subsequent development. I'm self-aware, but not self-obsessed, so I don't always take the time to appreciate my good qualities. Yesterday, however, I had a text message from one of my dearest (in fact, if I'm honest, one of my absolute best) friends. She had felt the need to list all the things she liked about me, to let me know why she views me as such a good friend. It came at a time when I really needed to hear that from someone, so it meant a great deal to me. Now, I'm not arrogant enough to repeat the text here, but I am becoming self-confident enough to admit that I agreed with most of it.
Why should we doubt who we are, after all? Why should we focus on our negative attributes and analyse every bad thing we've ever said or done? Obviously we need to learn from our mistakes. We need to know what our flaws are and try to work on them and we need to appreciate that there are all kinds of people living alongside us on this big old rock we inhabit and accept their differing views and opinions and treat them with respect. But that respect is a two-way street and self-respect is vital to anyone's survival.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that for the first time in years, I am truly, genuinely happy with who I am. There's no need for me to wish I didn't do this, that or the other. My flaws are as much a part of me as that lovely list of good points my friend sent me yesterday - they make me who I am. I just have to continue being aware of what those flaws are and not let them define me. I've always said that the people closest to you will always love and respect you the way you are and I still think it's true, but I also think that to gain that, you have to understand yourself and accept yourself just the way you are. And I'm thrilled to have reached a point - at long last - where I do understand what makes me tick. I do know what my good points are and what my bad points are.
I wanted to write this down so when I next have a little wobble and feel a bit low on self-confidence, I can look back and think: "Nope. No moping; you are, to quote another amazing person: "A fuckin' badass" and to hell with anyone who thinks otherwise."
So go on, everyone: Look at yourself honestly. Find your own flaws and work out how to deal with them. Accept yourself for who you are and believe in your good points. If it makes you feel half as good as I do right now, it'll be well worth it! :D