INNER MEAN GIRL
A portion of my job is to support people through mindset shifting. Admittedly, the irony is not lost on me that sometimes, I myself, need to simply LOOK IN A MIRROR and adopt this concept. Let’s talk about the things we say to ourselves. More specifically, our inner mean girl.
I read in my 100 Days to Brave book this morning an excerpt on speaking kindly to yourself. To be honest, this is like the fifth time the effect of our inner messaging has popped up for me in the last week. Clearly the Universe is trying to tell me something. Because of this, I sat on it for a while this morning. Then I started to write.
We likely could all use a little dose of putting the inner mean girl in her place. For instance, I recently had surgery on a herniated disc in my neck. (Yes, the cover pic which I’m SHOCKED I am letting out in public… yikes!) I promise the surgery not quite as dramatic as it may sound. Even so, my inner mean girl was ON FIRE after the fact.
MY INNER MEAN GIRL
Everyone has their own topics their inner mean girl can’t seem to let go of. Mine typically centers around weight and probably more specifically body image.
I can’t work out for at least 6 months, so as you can imagine, my inner mean girl topic for discussion…
She first started in on what surgery would mean for any progress made in the exercise realm recently. Second, she pointed out how she could literally FEEL my arms and belly getting bigger as I laid there in the hospital bed. (I told you, she’s not very nice!) Then the “little b***h” began attacking my business and questioning my foot off the throttle for new clients while in recovery.
“Rest? Get your butt going, you have clients to talk to,” she demanded.
Funny how quickly I forgot the SHE was in fact, ME. Ouch.
Nonetheless, I kept wondering what the “speaking kindly to yourself” message smacking me in the face over the last week meant. As a result, I think someone else out there needs to hear this:
YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
Your thoughts and feelings, as well as the little inner mean girl trying to tear you down, it’s normal. Furthermore, just like me, maybe you are needing a dose of medicine for your inner mean girl, too.
What does she like to point out to you? Motherhood shortcomings. Of course, she does! And probably in the weakest of moments too. Career woman issues and trying to climb the ladder, be a “good wife” (whatever that means), and be all the things we “should” be? Yep. Body image thoughts? This Girl Is On Fire! And no, not in an Alicia Keys song kind of way either. Ugh.
Mine? Oh yes. All of the above. She doesn’t like my arms, my toes, my thighs, she’s frustrated with my mid-section of late. Her messaging in the mirror even on days when I do wear make-up and put on something other than tights or yoga pants (hello quarantine?!?!) has not been kind. Additionally, she even attacks my motherhood skills or lack thereof. Check and check.
Is she right? Maybe at times. I bet you didn’t think I was going to say that!
I’m not going to lecture you on a message of “love yourself exactly as you are in every moment.” It should be noted, I don’t think this approach creates growth. Of course, you want to love yourself. However, SOMETIMES, we need to take a good hard look at the inner voice and see what she’s trying to tell us. The catch is, balancing the truth in the message as well as how we let it affect us versus challenge us.
The inner mean girl is just the mask. Under the mask of the mean message, maybe, just maybe, there is a more important message to unearth.
BALANCING THE INNER MEAN GIRL
I’m an instant gratification person. How about you?
Frustrated when the internet is slow? Check.
Triggered by kids and want them to behave IMMEDIATELY? Check.
Take the inner mean girl message at face value? Check.
How often do we face the mean girl message and think it through? I’m probably at a zero out of one hundred average in the last week alone. You too?
So, let’s chat about it. Body image messaging for me is typically not as loud when I MOVE my body. Ironically, it doesn’t have to be a long run or a really tough workout. In general, when I move (walk, work in the yard, busy day of errands and house chores, etc.) it equates to me feeling better.
With this in mind, it makes a lot of sense my inner mean girl was on fire as I lay in a hospital bed for about 24 hours straight. She’s trying to remind me, albeit in a not very kind way, body movement is key for my sense of well-being. When I don’t have this, my mental state is a slippery slope of pointing out ALL THE THINGS wrong with me physically.
And while my arms and belly likely weren’t growing at a rate where I could physically SEE this (um, gross), the thoughts in my head manifesting the physical feeling is understandable. Irrational on some level? Of course. However, thinking it through makes me understand my inner mean girl wants me to move because she knows I’m going to feel better.
With this rationale, are we then able to manifest positivity if we have the ability to manifest a negative feeling? I’m thinking YES.
Let’s start with this… What is the first thing you said to yourself this morning?
MANIFESTING POSITIVE FEELINGS
Who grabbed the phone first thing this morning and started scrolling? If you answered yes, I’m going to scream this through your screen:
Terrible idea. I don’t like to tell people what to do, (okay, my fraternity house would disagree) but I’m ripping off the band-aid… Not only is it a bad idea, it is a TERRIBLE idea.
COMPARISON, SHAME, WORRY
Why didn’t I get up and work out this morning?
What am I doing to wear THAT bikini to the beach?
When is the last time we took family pictures and all coordinated outfits?
What did my loved one post that I don’t want to be associated with?
Enter in the inner mean girl and BAM, our morning is shot before our feet even hit the floor.
Add in some kids rushing around for school and no coffee, well frankly, it’s not going to get any better.
Why don’t my kids listen to me?
I just yelled. Geez, I’m a terrible mother.
We have all this s**t to do tonight. I don’t know if I’m coming or going. I SHOULD be appreciative of all we have but I’m so freaking tired and annoyed!
This negative self-talk continues for the day and by the time you are home in the evening with your take-out and feeling guilty, the night continues to spiral. Um, hello- NO WONDER!
AFFECT OF SPEAKING KINDLY TO YOURSELF
Consequently, I have an idea for you to try.
Gratefulness exercise. I know, maybe you read this with a giant eye roll, but hear me out. Additionally, I PROMISE I’m not trying to add more s**t to your already full plate. Nope. Not only is this one easy, it also creates a shift in your mindset.
The minute you wake up in the morning, despite the habit, don’t grab your phone. You can either continue to lie in your bed or do this on your walk to the bathroom. Think of three things you are grateful for. That’s it. 3 things. To clarify, they don’t have to be big, crazy things either.
For example, here are mine from this morning:
First, finding the perfect spot in my bed and realizing it was only 4 am so I still had a couple more hours in THE PERFECT spot. You know what I’m talking about, right!?!? The perfect softness, firmness, temperature, all the things. Just right. Man, it’s great!
Next, my son, Jake, being so helpful and happy last night. (He is pre-teen and the emotional roller coaster is LEGIT!)
Finally, a day with fewer calls and obligations so I could do some writing and planning.
Ladies (and gents), I am telling you, THIS creates a shift in you. Maybe not day one or even week one. Nonetheless, when you know you are going to wake up in the morning and have to think of something you are grateful for, your mind automatically looks for things. You re-train your brain to be on the look-out for POSITIVE things. Simultaneously, you move your head from negative self-talk to speaking kindly to yourself.
Energy flows where attention goes.
– Tony Robbins
SUMMARY- INNER MEAN GIRL
We all have the inner mean girl. Even when you re-train your brain, she’s likely going to find something else to give you flack about.
However, what if you took a little time to shift? Acknowledge what the inner mean girl is trying to tell you. There may be a message under the mask of mean if only you break it down.
Then you shift. Moving to a place where our brain automatically LOOKS for the positives. A life of practicing gratefulness and empathy once we understand this inner voice maybe just wants to be heard.
Give it a try. I’d love to hear how this process or an evolution of this works for you. We can work with our inner mean girl and shift her from a bullying voice, to someone looking out for our well-being.
Finally, don’t forget the little voice is YOU. When you peel back your inner mean girl, what are YOU trying to tell yourself?
Step away from the mean girls… and say bye-bye to feeling bad about your looks. Are you ready to stop colluding with a culture that makes so many of us feel physically inadequate? Say goodbye to your inner critic, and take this pledge to be kinder to yourself and others.
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