We all have one. This internal voice that is nasty, critical, judgmental and just a real bully. That voice is our inner mean girl. She's always there berating us with soul-crushing commentary. This voice tells us we look fat today - in our clothes/out of our clothes, we're too thin, we need to lose/gain weight, we're stupid, we need to change our hair, our boobs aren't big enough/they're too big, we need to do more in a day, eat less, we're not pretty….we're just not good enough. Sound familiar?
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Here's the thing. That voice - she's us. This is how we talk to ourselves daily. We would never dream of saying any of this stuff to our best friend, our daughters, our mothers. No way in hell! We encourage, accept, love unconditionally and offer compassion to the beautiful women in our lives. So then why, why, why, do we bombard ourselves with this negative, damaging self-talk? It breaks us down little by little, destroying our self-esteem and confidence.
Maybe it's because society and social media is worse than ever at pressuring us girls and women to look a certain way. We're constantly being told that thin is beautiful, we torture ourselves by looking at magazines of our favourite actresses and models that have been airbrushed and retouched to look "perfect" and flawless - we have this completely skewed outlook on how a woman should look.
Naturally, we fall short. I mean how could we possibly keep up? The majority of us don't wake up only to sit in hair and make-up for hours, we don't have personal trainers, our photos aren't airbrushed, our imperfections aren't retouched, we eat real food and have full, hectic lives.
Unfortunately, it's not just the famous we compare ourselves to. We compare ourselves to our friends, our colleagues, family members and this unattainable image in our minds.
Comparison is the thief of joy - Theodore Roosevelt
We are so focused on how we look on the outside, so caught up in what people will think of us, how we're perceived, what we drive, how much money we make, where we live or vacation - ugh! It's exhausting and it's fluff. It does not matter. We know that true happiness stems from within, so then why are we looking for validation outside of ourselves?
I will out myself right now. My inner mean girl is not yet completely silenced. It's a process and something I work on each and everyday. I've been thinking about this topic a lot lately. I'm so grateful for how far I've come. As I approach my 30th birthday this week I'm most grateful for how comfortable I am in my own skin. I've always had a strong sense of self and always liked the person I was and am but I haven't always honoured and respected my body. Like so many of my clients and so many of you I struggle with my internal dialogue every single day. The reason I write this post is because it literally breaks my heart to see my friends, my family, my clients and women in general hate on themselves. Too often we focus on such silly things - the size of our nose, our ears, all the things we said or didn't say yesterday, that last pound or two.
I want to give you the tools that have helped me find some level of peace with who I am on the inside and out and ultimately, how I have learned to quiet my inner mean girl.
To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance - Oscar Wilde
- Stop Comparing Yourself! Wishing that you could be someone else or look the way that they look is such a colossal waste of your time and energy. Learn to look in the mirror. Really look at yourself. Accept what you see. Tell yourself at least 3 things you like most about the way you look. Appreciate yourself because there is literally no one else like you. You are unique. Replace any negative self talk with positive affirmations (see below). Eventually you will not only accept and respect who you are but you will be grateful for all the unique qualities that make you and you will love and honour yourself. Happiness starts here! Homework: Spend a few minutes everyday looking into the mirror. Tell yourself what you like most about the way you look and repeat an affirmation. Grab a sticky note, write that affirmation out and place the note onto the mirror. Repeat that affirmation each time you look at yourself during the day.
- Nutrition is paramount. Part of honouring yourself is fuelling your body in the right ways. This does not mean dieting. Diets are temporary, they are dangerous and they don't work. I'm encouraging a lifestyle change. Start by choosing real, whole foods to nourish yourself with. This would look like vegetables, fruit, lean sources of protein, beans/legumes, whole grains and healthy fats. Hydrate with 2-3 L of clean, filtered water daily. Consider things like green smoothies and fresh raw juices. Lessen your intake of meat and dairy products. Replace white sugar with natural sweeteners such as maple syrup, raw honey, stevia and coconut sugar. When you eat clean and healthfully, your body will respond. You will see improvements in the health of your skin, hair and nails. The point is not deprivation. Focus on the things you can be including into your daily diet. How can you expect to radiate outer beauty if you are not nourishing yourself with healing foods on the inside?
- Exercise. When we exercise, we release "feel-good" hormones. This is a fantastic way to develop a more positive inner dialogue with ourselves. When we feel good, we're more positive overall. Daily physical activity is crucial for our health and well-being but particularly important for mental health. Ensuring that we move our body in some way or another at least 3-4 times a week is essential in developing a positive body image.
- Meditation. Taking 5 minutes out of your day to quiet your mind will not only help to quiet your inner mean girl but it will also help you release stress, tension and worry which can all lead to negative self-talk.
- Gratitude. It's important to practice gratitude. Consider journalling your gratitudes. This can be whatever you're most grateful for in life. Sometimes I'm grateful for a delicious and nourishing meal my boyfriend made me, other times I'm grateful for the amazing and supportive people in my life and each day I tell myself at least 3 things I'm most grateful for about myself. Again, the point of this is not about being conceited. It's about developing a positive relationship with yourself. We want to foster encouraging and loving thoughts.
- Laughter. It truly is the best medicine. I have found that the best way to silence my inner mean girl is to lose myself in humour. We take it all too seriously sometimes - life that is.
- Dry Skin Brush. If you have no idea what this is then read my previous article all about dry skin brushing here. This technique forces you to get up close and personal with all the bits you try so hard to avoid! You have to look closely at your body, examine it and care for it.
- Natural/Organic Skincare. Switching from traditional skin care products that are chemical-laden and harmful to our bodies and moving towards more natural/organic skincare products is a fantastic way to improve our skin health. You will notice your acne improve, eczema disappear, your skin will glow and you will radiate beauty. When we feel good about our appearance we will have a more positive outlook.
- Learn To Switch It Off. This is a big one for me. When I start to feel overwhelmed or bombarded with images that breed negativity or make me question myself in any way, shape or form I turn it off - my computer, my iPhone and if I had an iPad, I'd turn that off too! Get off the technology, stop comparing and torturing yourself. Instead, listen to YOU. Meditate, do yoga, watch a comedy, journal, take a bath or repeat your affirmations.
- Give Yourself Time, Compassion, Acceptance, Respect and Self-love. Quieting your inner mean girl is a journey. One that you will most likely be working on for life. Learn compassion for yourself. Be your own best friend and voice of reason. Accept yourself as you are now. Through compassion and acceptance, you'll find respect. Respect yourself enough to take care of your body inside and out. This is the ultimate journey to self-love.
- I honour and accept myself as the unique human being I am. I am content, alive and worthy. I give and receive love unconditionally.
- I release all criticism.
- I love and approve of myself.
- I am secure in my own skin. I love and approve of myself and I accept my own individuality.
- I accept my uniqueness.
- Loving others is easy when I love and accept myself.
- My body works tirelessly to protect me. I nourish it by making healthy choices and I support it with the goodness, love and respect it deserves.
- I feel compassion towards myself and others.
- I am proud to be a woman.
If you're reading this post, then start quieting your inner mean girl today! Start by commenting below. Tell me 3 things you love most about yourself.
I'll start us off. 1. I love the colour of my eyes. 2. I love my smile and 3. I love being a shorty :)
- Valerie XO