Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fattest of them all?
You’ve done this, right? We’ve all done it. We’re mean girls – to ourselves. Our arms are too flabby. Our ankles too thick. Our noses too big. Our boobs too small. Our hips too wide. Our crows feet too pronounced. The left eyebrow is two centimeters lower than the right. Our pinky toe has an ugly corn and our middle fingers are crooked. The list is endless.
I know countless beautiful, smart women, who are amazing mothers and professional rockstars. Yet, few of them seem to own the confidence commensurate with who they are and what they’ve accomplished.
One of my beautiful, smart friends told me the other day that she has two best features. I asked her what they were. “My earlobes,” she deadpanned.
I was equally perplexed a few days later when I was in a dressing room and overheard the woman next to me ask the sales person, “Do you offer liposuction if I buy this dress?” The salesperson replied with a giggle, “So you need the dress in a bigger size? Shall I get you a 4?”
True story. Not that I should talk though, I’ve been known to return a handbag because it made my butt look big.
This all sounds ridiculous, right? That’s because it is ridiculous! The scrutiny that goes on in our minds plays like a broken record. We’re constantly comparing ourselves to others and beating ourselves up.
Why are we so darn mean? Are our standards too high? Have we fallen prey to the illusory, photoshopped world that is pop culture? And why aren’t men doing the same thing? Most men I know look at themselves in the mirror and think they are sexy as hell.
Did we not get the memo that we, too, are sexy as hell?
There are quite a few theories out there about why women are so hard on themselves. One that resonates with me is from Amy Ahlers, author and life coach. Ahlers espouses that women are fed a mixed message. On one hand they are told that they can do anything, but on the other hand they’re told that they’re not enough because they don’t measure up to the glossy magazine image of female perfection. So, the theory goes that women are incessantly striving for a goal that we cannot reach because perfection, as a state of being, is not attainable.
But we already know this, don’t we? Logically we know that we can’t ever look like Kate Upton or Halle Barry or whoever our girl crush is. But, we still live in our make believe “my thighs are too fat” world.
So what can we do? I’m proposing that instead of striving for the state of perfection that we can’t ever reach, we instead start simply by being nice.
Here’s our Self=Love Challenge: for one week, we are going to be nice to ourselves. No more mean girls. Got it? For one whole week, we will say only nice things about ourselves. I know, that’s easier said than done, that’s why I’m joining the challenge too. And, this isn’t called a challenge for nothing. We’ll need a little help to make sure we put our inner mean girl in her place.
Here’s our Smart, Sexy, Spiritual Homework that will help us silence our inner mean girl:
Pretend you’re talking to a stranger or a friend. Most of us wouldn’t dream of saying the mean things we say to ourselves to someone else. Can you imagine walking up to a stranger and saying, “OMG, your ass looks huge in that skirt! You really should give up carbs.” Would you invite your friend to lunch and then berate her by telling her that her complexion looks ruddy, her hair is over highlighted, and she needs Botox?
Now flip it over and consider this – would you stay friends with someone who talked to you like your inner mean girl talks to you? I don’t think so. You’d be appalled and think she had a screw loose. It’s time to get our minds in check, which brings me to our next homework assignment.
Meditate. We have to get out of our heads and into our souls. One of the best ways to do this is to silence our minds, not an easy task, but one of the most importance. The key to meditation is to become a witness to the thoughts that pop up in your head.
Imagine yourself watching a movie and your thoughts are playing out on the screen. When you do this enough you begin to learn that you are not your thoughts. Your thoughts are not reality. They are nothing more than your brain pulling on a past experience for a frame of reference and projecting that same message over and over.
When you can be the witness long enough, the mind will begin to silence itself and you can enjoy the message that is resonating from your soul. The first time you feel that message – that you are beautiful, that you are a child of God, that in you is a light that resonates for all the world to see – your inner mean girl will run and hide.
She’s nothing, if not feeble, in the presence of your inner greatness.
Practice Affirmations. Let’s begin this assignment by making a list of your unique traits. Write down every physical, mental, emotional, spiritual nuance that makes you, you. The freckle on the tip of your nose, the fact that you’ve read every presidential biography that you could get your hands on, that you speak fluent French. You get the idea.
Then, when you’re feeling negative, pull out your list and read it. “I am beautiful because…” “I am smart because…” “I am interesting because…” You can also use affirmations to rewire your thought patterns. I like Louise Hay’s book Love Your Body when I need affirmations about my physical body. When you’re calling out an SOS from your heart or soul, try Deepak Chopra’s The Soul of Healing – Affirmations, which can be downloaded from iTunes. You’ll love the sexy vibe.
Go to yoga. Yoga is so much more than a form of exercise. It physically grounds you, while spiritually freeing you. Yoga has taught me about my limitations and strengths. When I’m on the mat, I willfully kick my own ass. Yes, I do it so I look better naked, but I also do it because it’s an amazing way to teach myself how to be nice, especially when I don’t feel like it.
The reflection in the mirror isn’t always flattering and the sweat dripping from my brow while I’m trying to support my entire body on the back of my arms in crow pose only reminds me of my weaknesses. Through yoga I’ve learned to be kind to myself and smile at my reflection. Oh, and that sweat dripping from my brow? It’s not sweat anymore. It’s liquid awesome. Get to the mat. The magic that happens there will leave you amazed.
The Self=Love Challenge. So starting right now for one week, no more mean girl. I’ll be right here with you being nicer, being kinder, and kicking my mean girl’s ass. I’ll leave you with another thought just in case your inner mean girl comes out in full force, and you’re stumped for something nice to say about yourself.
It’s true, so take that mean girl! There’s an African proverb that says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” We have a way to go, so get on board. There’s strength, beauty, and love in our numbers!