A lot of the time, I make self-deprecating jokes. And most of that time, I don't even see it as a joke; I see it as truth. I point out the size of my nose and the size of my wrist. I compare myself to those around me in terms of how much I've accomplished and grades and who's smarter than who. I belittle myself, labeling everyone as smarter than me, more likable than me, more successful than me.
I practically walked around with a sticker on my forehead, reading "failure." I'm too hard on myself. If I get a 95 on a test, I'll compare myself to the girl next to me who got 100, even though I know it's wrong. The devil inside my head picks at my flaws and it mocks all my failed attempts to silence it.
It wasn't until a couple months ago that I realized how toxic my actions were towards myself and those around me. Every time I praised myself, I felt as if I was seeking support or that I came off as narcissistic. However, I do have to admit I'm proud of myself. I'm proud of how far I've come and how much I've changed over the years. I've worked towards a "new me," a healthier me, a nicer me, a moral me.
Of course, I'm still not where I want to be. In all honesty, I have no idea where I want to be. But I'm getting closer and closer to a goal every day. I've made mistakes, but I've made accomplishments. I've screwed up, but I've redeemed myself. I'm more accepting of pictures of myself. I'm more comfortable with myself in social settings. I appreciate the person staring back at me in the mirror, flaws and imperfections included.
I may not have a 4.0 GPA or have been nominated for numerous awards, but school aside, I've accomplished so much more than I ever thought was possible. I've made myself and those close to me proud, and that's my version of success. Realizing that I'm not perfect and that I'm not trying to be perfect has helped me grow in innumerable ways.