She often tells me that I am nothing special and lets me know, in her subtle way, that most of what I do is NOT “good enough”. She’s skinnier than me, beautiful, and seemingly incredibly confident. When I am faced with a challenge, she tells me that I can’t succeed and encourages me to quit. When walking down a street together, she constantly compares me to others. She’ll tell me that I am fatter, or not as attractive, or plainer than other women. And, sometimes, when I think Catty Patty’s being nice, she points out someone else’s flaws, decides that I am “better”, and I almost like her. Other times, she simply compares me to my past self. When I decide to try to lose weight, or eat healthier, or change a bad habit, she reminds me of all the times I have failed in the past. And worst of all, she is a big-time “should-er”. Constantly telling me I should be thinner and healthier, and I should run farther, be faster, exercise more and I should be a better mom, friend, wife, and sister, and I should do and know more, and I should…(the list seems infinite).
I don’t really like her, yet she almost always with me. When I tell her to leave, she goes away, for a little while. But, before I know it she has crept back into my life, sharing her mean thoughts, eroding my confidence, and getting in the way of my dreams.
Although she has been around, seemingly, forever, I was just introduced to her, this week, at Reform School…Inner Mean Girl Reform School…and, yep, Catty Patty is my Inner Mean Girl.
Inner Mean Girl Reform School; Where Women Come to Transform Inner Critics Into Inner Superheroines, created by Amy Ahlers* and Christine Arylo* is a 10 week self-directed course filled with audio classes, worksheets, introspective activities, and self-discovery. This is my first week of class, and I am so excited about this experience. During the first week I was instructed to get to know my Inner Mean Girl.
And, I feel like I am starting getting to know her. I have identified that Catty Patty is a perfectionist and loves comparisons. She rears her ugly head when I am trying on clothes in the department store dressing room, and when I need to look good for an event. When I am trying to something new, like training for a half marathon, she appears just when I at the cusp of being successful. Catty Patty even arrives when I am successfully accomplishing a goal, telling me that my triumph wasn’t that special and ruining my celebrations. And, of course, she is sure to be around when life isn’t going well, often encouraging me to isolate myself.
Catty Patty is the one inside my head who beats me up and brings me down. But, surprisingly, it is nice to meet her. Giving that voice a name and separating her from me is incredibly powerful!
Suddenly, her thoughts do not have to be my thoughts and her words do not have to be truths!
I know that this is just the beginning of this journey of transforming my relationship with my inner critic and I am looking forward to the rest of the experience.
Who's your inner mean girl?
*It is important to note that I have not been asked to share my experiences with Inner Mean Girl Reform School nor am I receiving any compensation. In fact, I have never met or talked to Amy or Christine. I am simply having a great experience and wanted to share.