So, there I am, sitting in Burlington Coat Factory’s dressing room. Bad lighting. End of the day. Full-length mirror. Suddenly there are wrinkles around my eyes that weren’t there before. Lots of them.
Lean forward. Look a little closer.
Is this really my face?
Index finger, pulling skin. It’s like Michelle Pfieffer looking in the mirror at the end of “One Fine Day” — only I am not looking so fine.
When did Burlington Coat Factory put circus mirrors in? You know, the kind that distort everything that you see.
Or, maybe it wasn’t the mirror. Maybe it was me.
There are times when we all look in the mirror and see something that we don’t like. It’s not necessarily that moment that makes or breaks our day – it is what we do with that moment.
Do you hang onto that thought?
Do you start obsessing about those things that you don’t like?
Do you compare yourself to the women around you?
Do you put yourself down?
Do you realize that those wrinkles, that bit of unwanted fat, the cellulite or stretch marks do not define who you are.
What do you do with your mirror moments?
Today, I will give you five quick tips to challenge your own inner mean girl. You know what I am talking about. It is that inner voice that says things about your body that you typically wouldn’t ever say out loud to anyone else.
1. Stop the body shaming.
There are certain words we use with ourselves that are cruel and mean. They hurt us. We need to start banning these words. We do it with our children, they are usually the four-letter kind and crude and/or cruel language are banned. We can do the same thing with ourselves. You know what kind of words I am talking about.
Ugly. Fat. Old. Worthless. Big. Gross. Disgusting.
These aren’t healthy or helpful. These are shaming.
Guilt is feeling bad for something that you have done. Shame is feeling bad for something that you are. Don’t allow yourself to shame your body. A recent study showed that many women admitted to having 50, 100 or more body shaming thoughts a day. And, the same study showed that 97% of those women studied admitted they had an “I hate my body” moment.
When you find yourself using those words regarding yourself and/or others (yes, the way we view and think about others affects our own body image), apply the following.
Don’t say, “Stop it! You are so dumb! Why do you keep doing that?” If you do it in this manner, you are only continuing the shaming cycle. Instead, just stop. Say it out loud if necessary. Take a deep breath, or get an ice cold drink of water, but stop. Don’t allow your inner mean girl continue the shame.
You deserve to be treated with respect, by others and by yourself. Make sure that you demand it — kindly, clearly, and immediately.
2. Don’t believe everything that you think.
I feel so fat!!
In reality, you may feel fat, but fat is not a feeling. Feelings are happy, sad, hopeless, excited, overwhelmed, frustrated, and angry. You use the words, “I feel fat” to describe these other feelings.
We have the opportunity to challenge our negative thoughts by shifting our persepective. Widen your outlook. Take on a more balanced view. Practice counteracting your negative thoughts.
Challenge your inner mean girl. The research shows that these negative thoughts are just that: negative. They aren’t necessarily accurate or true. But, they do have an impact on you –a negative one.
Instead of “I feel so fat.” or “Why can’t I look like her?” find ways to focus on what is really happening.
I feel stressed today and I am taking it out negatively on my body.
I don’t look like her. My body isn’t built the same way, and that is o.k. I am going to try to focus on the positive things my body does for me today.
I have a lot of positive qualities that I am ignoring right now. Let me shift my thoughts to those things.
3. You are not all or nothing.
A lot of times the inner mean girl is very black or white, all or nothing. Good or bad. Fat or thin. She offers very little sense of the in-between.
Let’s look at common all or nothing thoughts:
I ate too much today, so I am a failure!
Nothing looks good on me!
I missed exercise today. I am terrible.
Using the two points we have already addressed, you have some ideas for how to approach these kind of thoughts. If you noticed, these thoughts are not totally accurate, and are very shaming.
Instead, try this:
I ate a too much today. I can be more mindful of what I eat starting now.
This outfit is not flattering, but I know I have some clothes that I feel better in.
I missed exercising today! Bummer. I will work to fit it in tomorrow.
Remember, none of us all completely good or bad. None of us are perfect. We have a lot of in-between. Some days we do great things, and still make mistakes. Some days are filled with a few more mistakes than others. But, we wake up the next day and try again.
4. Your body is more than the sum of its parts.
You know exactly what I am talking about. The media does it constantly to us as women. Very seldom do we get an entire picture of a woman. Often, it is only part.
Her rear end.
If you haven’t noticed, pay attention. You will quickly see what I am talking about.
Sadly, we often do this to ourselves. Just as I did in the first part of this post. It was all about those wrinkles. Thousands of wrinkles. I must be old. (Do you see how I already broke some rules there?)
Honestly, how often do you do this to yourself?
I have saddlebags!
My arms are flabby!
I hate those stretchmarks on my belly!
Let me ask you one question:
Do you define your worth by one piece of you?
We are more than our legs, our hips, our stomachs, our breasts. We are more than the sum. When you find yourself compartmentalizing and criticizing one piece of you, think this:
What would I do without my legs?
How would I feel without my breasts?
Because frankly, there are many people out there who don’t have legs or arms.Think about those women who go through breast cancer. I have a dear blogging buddy who has been there, and she stands proudly, scars and all. Suddenly, my wrinkles don’t seem that important.
I have laugh lines. At least, like two of my kind besties pointed out, I don’t have frown lines!
5. Practice, practice, practice.
These things take time. If you inner mean girl has been around a while, you probably won’t silence her in one day, or one week. But, you can do it!
Because I care and truly want to help in the battle against our inner mean girls, here is a little reminder. Feel free to download and use it as a gentle reminder to take care of your thoughts. For thoughts become actions, and actions become habits. Habits…well, they quickly and easily define us. Choose your habits wisely.
Take it one day, one hour at a time. And, let that inner mean girl know that she doesn’t get to win this one. You know better now!
Take the challenge with me. Let’s say goodbye to mean girls!
If you enjoyed this and have missed the other posts in this series, be sure to check them out below!