Why are women so hard on themselves?
Heck, I know I am.
(Especially now that I’ve surpassed my 50th birthday and certain body parts aren’t quite where they were, even 5 short years ago. But I disgress…)
There are things I say to myself that I would never EVER dream of saying to someone else. Things that I would never allow anyone to say to any other woman.
You might want to hold your ears as I confess some of these insults I all-too-often hurl at myself:
“You’re so old….”
“What’s with the ‘baby bump’? Where did THAT come from?”
“You’re flat as a pancake. When are you gonna start looking like a woman?”
“You’re ugly/fat/stupid [etc.]”
“Who do you think you are? You can’t do [insert business or personal goal here]. Get real!”
(Yikes! These ‘mean girl’ taunts are vicious, arent’ they?)
Let’s be honest, ladies. Do you ever serve up similar ‘mean girl’ talk to yourself? (I suspect your answer is ‘I sure do’!)
Congrats for your honesty, girlfriend. No shame. No guilt.
I, for one, am tired of letting the ‘mean girl’ win. We deserve better.
I say it’s time to shut her up. Once and for all.
I see you shaking your head in agreement. But you’re thinking: “how can we do that? My inner ‘mean girl’ can be nasty. Is it really possible to shut her down for good?”
Let’s state the obvious: this will not be easy. Eliminating (or even lessening) our own negative self talk will require intentional action. And it will take time. (Your inner ‘mean girl’ has probably been in your head for years, so she won’t magically disappear in a day or a week or even a month.)
But if you’re committed to this laudable goal, you CAN do it!
So let’s get to one powerfully impactful exercise that will enable you to stand strong against the ‘mean girl’ rhetoric inside. And, ultimately, send her packin’.
One common situation where the ‘mean girl’ voice rears her ugly head is when we compare ourselves to another.
For example, has this ever happened to you? It’s late in the day and you see a story on Instagram showing a friend of a friend or maybe a competitor in your market, and she looks absolutely stunning. Hair well coiffed. Make up perfectly applied. Dressed to the nines in a gorgeous sequined gown. She’s on her way to an awards banquet, in her honor. You think: “Why does everything seem to go her way? Does she ever have a bad day?”
For you, that day may have been a particularly challenging one. You’ve already removed your makeup, changed into your PJs and are about to settle in to watch a movie with your cat & finish off the last of the Haagen-Dazs.
Now be honest: is it fair to compare yourself – in that moment – with anyone else? (Let alone someone who – in that same moment – is smack dab in the middle of a very special evening where she’s cast in the spotlight??)
Of course it’s not fair. (And that’s exactly what you’d tell your best friend if she went down that road, wouldn’t you?)
Well, sweet friend, it’s time you gave yourself the grace you so freely extend to your best friend. Because you deserve it!
So how do you learn to give yourself grace? You strengthen you grace muscle.
How do you strengthen your grace muscle? You give it a workout!
Let’s do that right now. Think about your strengths, gifts, talents and accomplishments. Write them all down. (That’s right, a total brain dump. And I recommend you go ‘old school’ using a pen and paper.)
This is not the time for modesty. Be honest, kind and generous with yourself. And identify every single thing you’re good at. Every little thing you’ve accomplished. Everything you’re proud of.
Don’t hold back!
Think also about what you love about yourself. For example, ‘I love how I’m a problem solver.’ Or maybe ‘I love the way I care for my kids.’ Be sure to write it all down. (If you’re having difficulty coming up with a response to this prompt, ask your best friend.)
Be warned: this exercise will feel strange. As women, it won’t feel ‘right’ to brag on ourselves. But understand this isn’t about being boastful or arrogant.
It’s about giving yourself the grace you deserve. It’s about recognizing your unique awesomeness. (If you don’t know you’re awesome, let me be the first to break the news: You. Are. Awesome. Your list proves it!)
Keep your list handy and, whenever your inner ‘mean girl’ speaks, read the list aloud. As you recite your own awesomeness, the ‘mean girl’ lies will begin to fade away, until one day that voice will no longer be audible.
May that day be soon.