Image: ScreencrushBeing in recovery from an Eating Disorder requires a whole lot of introspection. Most of us have gotten to know the ego state of “ED”, aka the Eating Disorder, really well. We have to do this in order to understand when ED is talking, versus when we are using our wise mind to make choices.
The “mean girl”
I have found that there is another part of our inner world, another ‘ego state’ as psychology calls it, that must be identified as well in order to continue our path out of self hatred and criticism into self love and respect. I’m talking about the Mean Girl.
Most everyone knows the cultural reference to the “mean girl”. There was even a movie made about it. Mean Girls, the movie, portrays a story about that group of girls in high school who were cutthroat, snarky, image-obsessed and cruel. They were the pack of popular girls who roamed the halls, demeaning those who they deemed less-than, and making their lives a living hell.
Are you a mean girl?
I imagine after that description, your reaction to the question, “Are you a mean girl?” is, “NO! Of course not!”
But I invite you to think deeply about this one.
- Are you snarky and critical of yourself?
- Do you ooze with sarcasm and never allow yourself to accept genuine compliments?
- Ever compare yourself to other women?
- Find yourself into competition with other women?
- Do you feel threatened when other women have success?
- Do you feel threatened by women you feel are beautiful?
If you are answering yes to some of these questions, then you are identifying your own personal mean girl.
She lives in your mind, following you around everywhere you go, criticizing, judging and essentially making fun of you.
The effects of the inner mean girl
And maybe, just maybe, she influences the way you feel about other women as well. This is a hard one to come to terms with. Nobody wants to see themselves in a negative light. But for the sake of healing what is at the root of this, I encourage you to keep an open mind.
It is not uncommon for women to compete with one another. It is also fairly recognized that women do gossip about other women, and criticize one another for perceived shortcomings. This is a set up; a part of our cultural norm that we don’t want, nor ask for. Nevertheless, many of us end up unconsciously taking part in the mean girl epidemic.
Why do we do this? Are we just superficial and catty?
Why do we have an inner mean girl?
I say no. I believe it is quite the contrary.
When we are catty, we are really afraid. When we judge another, we are ourselves insecure. We are taught that we aren’t good enough, and so we are reaching outside of ourselves to make sure that we aren’t alone in our perceived inadequacy.
We are striving to feel powerful by knocking someone else down so we can temporarily feel bigger, better, or somehow superior to the person in question. The sad irony in this scenario is that our power is diminished every time we judge and compare. Every time we engage in this way, we are confirming our own insecurities. We are essentially turning to our inner mean girl and saying, “Everything you tell me about how unworthy I am is right.”
If we allow our inner mean girl to run the show, then competition and comparison will always muddy our relationships with others.
When we ourselves feel empowered, we are no longer afraid of empowering one another. Try adding these thoughts to your day,
I don’t have to knock you down to feel good about who I am. I feel free to allow you to be who you are, knowing that your success and happiness does not in any way diminish my own.
Recently, I stumbled across a quote that jumped off the page for me. It reads:
Girls compete with each other. Women empower one another.
None of you reading this are girls; we are all women. But many of us carry inside of us that mean girl who is nothing more than a wounded part of us that believes she is not enough. When we are acting from this wounded place, our actions are nothing more than a projection of our own insecurity.
How to lose the mean girl for good
We can choose to act from a higher self. You can embrace a more authentic self who no longer allow the mean girl to call the shots. You can choose to heal that part of ourselves and lean into the journey of self-love and respect. All of us can be free of the tyranny of comparison and competition. But it must start with the relationship you have with yourself, and it comes down to awareness.
Awareness of our inner dialogue and self-talk gives us insight into WHO is running the show. If you become aware of your inner mean girl, you can choose to reframe and redirect your self-talk.
You can create the wise, authentic woman who chooses to be kind, loving and compassionate to herself.
By increasing our awareness of the inner mean girl, we are given the amazing gift of recognizing that we have a choice. In your new-found awareness, focus on:
- Choosing to no longer criticize yourself, or other women.
- No longer competing with other women
- Giving up comparisons
- Embracing and rejoicing in the success of other women, for it will free you to embrace and rejoice in your own.