by Christine Arylo and Amy Ahlers
We’ll never forget the day when we realized that we had a mean girl living inside our heads. Just like a mean girl on the playground, she could make us feel left out, lonely, and like we didn’t belong. Or like the mean girls we had encountered in our corporate jobs, manipulative and competitive, our Inner Mean Girls loved to drive us to work really hard (to the point of exhaustion), compare us to people who were ‘farther ahead,’ and make us keep adding more to our already full plates.
All women have an Inner Mean Girl that makes her feel like she is never doing enough, being a good enough mom/daughter/writer/entrepreneur/artist/you-name-it, or getting far enough ahead. The result? We women have become bullies, to ourselves.
Your Inner Mean Girl is the pushy, sometimes critical, force within that fills your head with negative or obsessive thoughts. She drives you to make choices that sabotage you, instead of support you, using some harsh, but very effective, tactics to do so. Toxic habits like: over-working, over-thinking, over-giving, comparison, perfectionism, procrastination, busyness (the list goes on….).
...you can stop the self-bullying, depending on how your Inner Mean Girl likes to torment you.
Since discovering our Inner Mean Girls, we’ve worked with over 30,000 women around the world, and found 13 different types of Inner Mean Girls specific to women and girls, including Doing Addicts, Good Girls, Perfectionists, Worry Warts, and more. And while you can’t stop them from showing up – especially in times of high stress, uncertainty, and vulnerability – you can reform them so they stop sabotaging you and start supporting you. Yes, there is actually a 7-step program for reforming Inner Mean Girls!
There are also some simple but mighty ways you can stop the self-bullying, depending on how your Inner Mean Girl (IMG for short) likes to torment and sabotage you. Try these out.
Transform comparison into inspiration. What you see in others also exists within you, it’s just not fully expressed, yet. When your IMG compares you, making you feel inferior, instead get inspired. First, see want you want to express. Then reach out and tell that person they inspire you!
Don’t strive for perfection, just do enough. When you can’t stop yourself from doing more, stop and ask, “What would enough look like?” and just do enough. Then enjoy all the extra space, and peace, you created for yourself.
Instead of pushing yourself forward, love yourself forward. Your IMG thinks being critical will motivate you. Guess what? She's wrong. Compassion motivates. Next time you judge or pressure yourself, imagine a child just learning to do something new, what would you say to them? Then tell yourself those compassionate words.
Stop piling more onto your plate. Practice saying NO. When you feel pressured to say “Yes,” like you ‘should’ or ‘have to’ – breathe, and respond “No.” Then tell your IMG that saying No leaves space for someone else to shine.
Find evidence of how much you’ve done and how awesome you are. Kick your Achievers Amnesia by making a list of 10 things you’ve accomplished in your life, and 10 things you love about yourself. Read these over and over and soak them in.
Find the desire under the pressure. Usually when you are pressuring yourself to be farther ahead, it’s because you desire something and so your IMG is pushing you to get ‘there.’ Find the desire and then ask, “What is the next simple step?” Just do that.
Learn what triggers your Inner Mean Girl and be prepared for her attack. Know what your top IMG “hot spot” is – does she show up in your career, relationships, with your body or money? When you get afraid or stressed in this area, remember it’s your IMG attacking, it’s not your truth.
Let your Inner Mean Girl rant. Stop repressing the self-bullying and say aloud or write out what your IMG is filling your head with, so you can see just how crazy the thoughts are. Then, next time you have that thought, you’ll know you are having an Inner Mean Girl Attack.
Create a stronger relationship with your Inner Wisdom. In moments of fear or uncertainty, take a breath, put your hand on your heart, and ask yourself, “What does my Inner Wisdom know?” This is your truth.
Out your Inner Mean Girl to a friend, and get support during IMG attacks. When you are in the grips of your IMG and her fear, stress, and criticism, it’s hard to shake her off – you need a “LOVE LINE.” Call a friend, tell her you are under Inner Mean Girl attack, let your IMG rant, and then ask your friend to tell you what her Inner Wisdom knows.
Most of all, know you aren’t alone with this struggle. And also know that you are at choice as to whether you bully or befriend yourself.
Christine Arylo and Amy Ahlers are the best-selling co-authors of Reform Your Inner Mean Girl: 7 Steps to Stop Bullying Yourself & Start Loving Yourself. (www.InnerMeanGirlBook.com) To find out what kind of Inner Mean Girl is sabotaging you – Doing Addict, Good Girl, Perfectionist, or…, take the free and fun Inner Mean Girl quiz at www.InnerMeanGirl.com