The 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.