inner mean girl

How to Handle Your Inner Mean Girl

By | Body Love, Goddess Wisdom, Wisdom Blog | 2 Comments

Several years ago a good friend confronted me about my dirty little secret: I had an eating disorder, one I had been in denial about for over 2 decades. After a week of arguing with him, I finally admitted that I had a problem. It was time to face the facts: not only did I not love the woman in the mirror, I flat out loathed her. I felt betrayed by my body after decades of battling endometriosis and osteopenia (a side effect of one of the treatments for the endometriosis), and four failed rounds of fertility treatments. I had desperately wanted the “American dream” – 2 kids, a dog, a beautiful home with a white picket fence – but my infertility had put a severe damper on my plans. So I had been subconsciously punishing my body for her perceived betrayal by exercising too much and eating too little.

After finally admitting I had an eating disorder, I threw myself into healing with a fervent passion. I was determined to “beat” my eating disorder. And I did. But it wasn't easy and it didn't happen overnight. Why? I kept self-sabotaging. At some level, my inner mean girl (aka inner critic) didn't want me to get better. It served her to believe that I would never be good enough. After all, if you set your expectations really low, and you fail, you haven't lost much…

Yet, I was torn because I wanted to heal so I could help other women heal their relationships with food, their bodies, and themselves. I wanted to be a beacon of hope, not a beacon of failure. That meant I had to confront my inner mean girl and get to the bottom of why she: 1) didn't want to heal, and 2) believed I wasn't good enough to be worthy of my dreams. But I had no idea where to start.

One day as I was journaling, I had an epiphany: what if, instead of buying into her nonsense, I confronted her? What if I actually dialogued with her and tried to get to the bottom of her meanness? So I did. What I found surprised me:

In fact, the exact opposite was true: she wanted me to succeed. But she was so afraid of failure, she built walls “of protection” around herself – so many walls that success was highly unlikely. Furthermore, she didn't mean to self-sabotage; she just didn't want to get hurt … again. As the layers of memories and pain were revealed, she began to soften, to hope, to let go. I had to go through this process several times to really get it to stick, but the good news is that I rarely am confronted by my inner mean girl these days. Yes, I still get scared, but I allow myself to ask for help when I need it and have opened myself up enough to receive it that I rarely let fear of failure (or success or having what I want) stop me these days. 

In today's podcast, I walk you through this process. I hope it serves you:

Download this episode (right click and save)

And if you are ready to dive a little deeper with your inner mean girl and would like some support, I just re-opened enrollment for my 7-week group coaching program, The Nourished Temple. You can learn more about it here.

The Power of Positive Self-Talk

By | Goddess Wisdom, Wisdom Blog | 2 Comments

positivityI was talking to a client the other day about how to stop the constant criticism running through her head. The voice that tells her she's not smart enough, fun enough,  thin enough, and that her eyes are too close together. I know that voice well as it used to run my life too. It took consistent vigilance, but I was finally able to put a stop to most of what my Inner Mean Girl was saying. 

One of the key ingredients in making peace with my Inner Mean Girl was dialoguing with her when she popped up to figure out where her criticism was coming from. Hint: your Inner Mean Girl isn't mean, she's afraid and usually her reality is based in something that happened to you a long time ago. 

Another piece of the equation was that I had to start replacing her negative self-talk with positive self-talk. Easier said than done, I know, but here's the thing: we all have things that we don’t like about ourselves, but our brains are super sensitive to our negativity. In fact, it takes 5 positive statements to overcome the effect of 1 negative one. That’s right.

Kind of makes your Inner Mean Girl seem like a giant, doesn't it?

To make matters worse, a recent study found that women in their late 30s to early 60s are especially vulnerable to negative self-talk thanks to the hormonal changes associated with perimenopause and menopause. Yikes!

So what can you do to change this negative self-talk? What advice did I give my client who is trying to put a stop to the steady stream of negativity in her head. I told her I wanted her to take the Sticky Note Challenge. “What’s the Sticky Note Challenge?” you ask. Have you ever heard of Operation Beautiful? The mission of Operation Beautiful is to post anonymous notes in public places for other people to find – notes that would brighten their day. Something like “You are Beautiful.”

I want you to use this idea for to create sticky note for yourself. Ideally you would make several sticky notes that contain that phrase and put them places where you will see them. Places like your wallet, purse, office cubicle, bathroom, etc. As a psychologist, I know that the more we see certain messages, the more we start to believe them. This is why my office is literally filled with positive messages, inspirational quotes, and pictures of things that remind me that I am a Goddess – see above for a photo of where the magic happens! 😉

I'd love it if you would join my client in the Sticky Note Challenge. Let us know how you are faring. And as always, if you have a comment or question, leave me a note below.

What to Do When Your Comparison Queen is a Self-Comparison Queen

By | Body Love, Goddess Wisdom, Wisdom Blog | 4 Comments

We’ve been talking about our Inner Mean Girls for weeks and today’s reader question stems from our discussion of how our Inner Mean Girl shows up. One of the most common ways my clients (this includes me) see the Inner Mean Girl show up is in reference to playing the comparison game. I call her Comparison Queen Carla.

Comparison Queen Carla takes keeping up with the Jones’ literally. She compares herself – her looks, her possessions, her personality – to everyone else and when she feels she’s lacking, she dives head first into the next diet plan, buys the new car, decides to read 50 Shades of Grey and see the movie because everyone else is, etc.

Five years ago, this description fit me to a T. I was a Comparison Queen Carla. I was compared myself to any woman who crossed my path – in real life and in the media. I was constantly measuring myself with my invisible yardstick up against other women. And I usually came up lacking.

Why? Because I didn’t love myself. I lacked confidence in myself – I felt I wasn’t good enough as I was so I constantly strove to be better than everyone else. It wasn’t until I gained that self-love and self-confidence that I was able to get a handle on my Comparison Queen.

Or was I…?

Heather posed an interesting question: What if the person you are always comparing yourself to is yourself?

As a former distance runner (that's me running up a sand dune), I get this too. As an athlete, I was always trying to go further, faster, better. That was helpful, up to a point. Yes, I ran farther, faster. However, I also injured myself more often and ended up having to end my distance running after my second heel fracture. My inner motivator was really my inner critic in disguise…

So how do you tell? In today’s video, I walk you through the ins and outs of using the inner voice as a tool to motivate you to new heights v. a tool to self-deprecate, punish yourself, and make you feel bad about yourself.

It basically boils down to this: how does it make you feel? If you feel excited and expansive, then go for it. But if you feel icky, bad about yourself, restricted or contracted, then your Inner Mean Girl is running the show again…

Want to learn more about how to differentiate between the Inner Mean Girl and the Inner Motivator? I invite you to join me for my free call series. You can sign up here: http://DrMaryPritchard.com/body

How Does Your Inner Mean Girl Show Up?

By | Goddess Wisdom, Wisdom Blog | 2 Comments

I was talking with a client with other day about how she was doing with her Inner Mean Girl. She observed that her Inner Mean Girl really hasn’t been showing up lately. Before I could even congratulate her on her progress, she explained that she has been experiencing more self-doubt though. That, I told her, is just her Inner Mean Girl in another form.

Although I call her the Inner Critic or Inner Mean Girl, she doesn’t necessarily have to be mean. In fact, meanness is usually not her motive, regardless of how she shows up. It’s fear. So if she’s been making you doubt yourself, not trust in your decisions, or is keeping you up at night with anxiety or depression, that’s still your Inner Mean Girl.

See if any of these sound familiar:

  • Comparison Queen Carla – she takes keeping up with the Jones’ literally. She compares herself – her looks, her possessions, her personality, her finances, her success – to everyone else and when she feels she’s lacking she dives head first into self-improvement.
  • Nit Picking Nancy – is the Queen of nit-picking – physical (popping zits, plucking her eye brows) or emotionally (constantly picking apart at herself and everyone else).
  • Control Freak Cathy – As a Control Freak Cathy, you’ve got overachiever tattooed on your forehead. You’re driven, committed, and a hard worker, as evidenced by your meteoric rise in your industry. But you’re finding yourself a little frustrated because people seem to be taking advantage of your good nature. You never seem to have time to get everything done on your to-do list because things keep cropping up at work or at home to get in the way of your ideal life and success.
  • As a Perfectionist Polly, you’ve got it all. You exude confidence, always look put together, and everything seems to come easily and effortlessly to you. Unfortunately, looks can be deceiving. While you may ‘have it all’ on the outside, on the inside, you’re wilting.
  • You know a Negative Nelly when you hear her speak. Every word out of her mouth is a criticism – of herself or others. I look fat in these. I’m so stupid. Can you believe she’s wearing that? People are idiots! You’re going to regret that!
  • Gossip Girl Gigi is looking to feel better about herself by spreading rumors – true or false. Did you hear what happened to Sue? I can’t believe Ed is sleeping with that tramp Valerie and his wife doesn’t even know!
  • Blaming Betty blames herself for everything – whether she had anything to do with it or not. Betty is the ultimate inner mean girl in some ways because all of the blaming is directed inward. If you are constantly saying things to yourself like, “Why did you do that?” or “I can’t believe I did that?” or “What were you thinking?” you might be a Blaming Betty.
  • Do-Gooder Daisy – The key word here is “DO.” Daisy doesn’t know the meaning of the word rest. She’s out to prove herself by doing everything she can. So if you’re a Do-gooder Daisy, she probably won’t let you rest or sit still. Why are you wasting time? Think of all the things you could be do-ing!
  • Self-Doubting Susan – Susan riddled with self-doubt, which makes her very indecisive. When she does do something, the doubts immediately come in. She may ruminate for days over what might seem like a small decision to someone else.
  • Over-reacting Ophelia – Poor Ophelia takes everything personally. Every time someone says something that might be constructed as a criticism, she takes to heart. Every time things don’t go her way, she feels like she failed. She doesn’t realize that her boss is just having a bad day and that Ophelia did nothing to upset her boss.

So what do you do if one (or more) of these rings true for you? This week’s podcast is all about facing the Inner Mean Girl when she’s criticizing you, but the same steps apply no matter what kind of Inner Mean Girl is showing up for you right now.

If you need more support, we’ve been working on dealing with our Inner Mean Girls in the Sacred Circle. Come join us!

What to Do When Your Inner Mean Girl Tells You You’re Not Good Enough

By | Goddess Wisdom, Wisdom Blog | No Comments

Cover_OctNov15-01The first time I was on the cover of a magazine two years ago, I didn’t want to tell anyone. Despite the fact that many of my students not only saw, but picked up a copy of, the magazine, I was afraid to shine my light. Afraid people would notice. Afraid of the criticism.

I did receive some criticism and a lot of teasing – and offers for dates. But the hardest part of the whole experience was that instead of being happy about being on the cover of a magazine, I was worried. Worried that I wasn’t good enough to actually be on that magazine cover – I wasn’t pretty enough, I wasn’t skinny enough, I wasn’t famous enough, I wasn’t really that girl in the picture (after two hours of hair and makeup and photostop, I looked more like Sarah Jessica Parker than I did myself). In other words, my Inner Mean Girl had a field day and I found myself getting increasingly depressed.

Fast forward two years. I was just on the cover of another magazine. What did I do? I shared it everywhere. My picture has been shared so many times on Facebook that I’ve lost count. The magazine publisher sent me a framed copy of the magazine cover and I displayed it proudly on my coffee table. I gave a framed copy to my mother (who had mixed feelings about the first magazine cover). Did my Inner Mean Girl whisper in my ear this time? Nope. Not a word.

I work with clients every day on dealing with their inner critics. We are often our own worst enemies rather than our own best friends and cheerleaders. I used to fall into that category, but, in general, I don’t anymore.

How did I do it? Simple. I had a heart-to-heart (several actually) with my Inner Mean Girl. I let her vent, rant, accuse. I just took it all in and listened. Occasionally I’d ask her why she felt a certain way or thought a certain way.

Then I started calmly pushing back. Reminding her, subtly, of all the times that her reasoning failed. Of all the times things worked out, of all the times I was good enough. As her reasons and excuses started to fall away, the ‘not enoughness’ weight began to lift off my shoulders.

Do I still get triggered? Of course. But it‘s so much easier for me to get back on track now. If you still struggle with your inner critic, I’d love to set up a time to talk. Let’s see if I can help coach you through your own inner mean girl work. I healed my relationship with my inner mean girl; I accepted and integrated that broken off part of myself – that inner child that only wanted to be heard. You can too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Time for the Sticky Note Challenge!

By | Body Love, Wisdom Blog | No Comments

How many of you have already heard the voice of your inner mean girl or inner critic today? Me too. Good thing it's February: International Self-Love Month! (Don't worry if it's not February when you're reading this – you can do this anytime.)

Let me introduce to you the Sticky Note Challenge!

Here are the rules:
1) head over to my FB page and see what the sticky note of the day is
2) share the sticky notes on FB
3) write out your own sticky note and put it where you can see it during the day, and
4) write out sticky notes for others and let them be surprised when they find them!!!

I love sticky note month!