I am a kind person, on the whole.
I am kind to people I care about.
If I love you, I will do anything for you. If anyone criticises you, I will defend you with the ferocity of a mother defending its newborn. If you confide a weakness or a mistake to me, I will understand and I will not judge. I don’t have to try – it just comes naturally.
I am kind to animals. I kneel down to talk to every dog I meet, because it seems rude not to. I adopt stray cats that arrive on my doorstep, even when I don’t really want them. I don’t eat meat because I think farming is akin to slavery (only worse because it always involves murder).
I am kind.
But when it comes to myself? When it comes to myself, I am brutal.
I cut myself no slack. I insult myself a hundred times a day without even knowing I’m doing it. I call myself things that I would never call another human being. If I display even the slightest weakness, or make a mistake however small, well …. all I can say is it’s not pretty inside my head.
But this year of self-portraits is all about growth. I don’t want to keep on doing the same things that have made me unhappy. And the biggest thing I want to change is this: I want to be kind to myself. I want to treat myself the way I treat my closest friends. I want to be as understanding as I would be with them. I want to be gentle with myself, the way I am with them. And I would like to be able to appreciate myself the way I appreciate them.
What if I looked at myself with the kindness and understanding I save for everyone else?