Have you ever woke up and immediately she starts nattering? You know, that girl that lives inside your head, the one who tells you are aren’t good enough, smart enough or skinny enough? She comes and goes, but when she’s appears, she's generally pissed off and has nothing nice to say.
My inner mean girl usually pops up early in the morning, often during my drive to the gym. It doesn’t seem to matter how inspired, creative or motivated I felt the night before, out of nowhere, she arrives, sits on my shoulder, and says really horrible things.
Any of this sound familiar?
I've had the opportunity to learn more about this voice, this inner mean girl, or as Confidence Coach, Kelsey Abbott calls it, our gremlin. It turns out, according to Kelsey, we create these girls/guys/creatures to protect ourselves from perceived shame, failure or embarrassment. Their main goal isn't to intentionally make us feel bad, they simply want to keep us protected so nothing can hurt us. Their persistent chattering can often lead to self-doubt, fear and even self-sabotage.
Self-sabotage can show up in a variety of ways. Staying up too late, hitting snooze when you should be at the gym, eating "just one more" cookie when you committed to eating healthier, or putting off applying for that promotion because you're convinced you’re not qualified. Guys!!! This is her/him/the gremlin at work!! Dealing with our inner mean girl is possible. Here’s how.
1. Get curious
The first step in facing your inner mean girl is to pay attention. Notice when she shows up. Is it at a certain time of the day? What happened the day before? What does she say? Writing down these observations will help you see patterns and better understand her triggers. Once you become aware she's come out to play, calmly listen as though you are watching from outside. Be curious and do your best not to judge.
2. Remember what her #1 job is
Your inner critic's main job is to keep you safe. Remember when your mom told you not to eat raw cookie dough or you'd get worms? That was because she didn't want you to get food poisoning. Making us scared was a way to keep us safe. So when she appears, look at her and know she's protecting you the only way she knows how.
3. Expect epic tantrums
As Kelsey Abbot explained, "At some point during our journey, we realize that we want to grow more than we want to be safe. That's when we realize our gremlins are holding us back. It's also when our gremlins often throw epic tantrums." This is what I've experienced after personal growth, a promotion or a day of pure creative flow. Without fail she shows up yelling really loudly.
4. Replace your thoughts, change your state
Replacing the negative thoughts as they arise, with love and gratitude is a great way to move quickly into a better state of mind. Words of affirmation such as, "I am worthy", "I love you", "I am wealthy and wise" can help to decrease reactionary behavior.
It's important to know that NO ONE is without an inner critic. Tony Robbins, Oprah, and men, yes men have them too. The difference between those that have mastered their inner critic, and those that haven't is their ability to recognize, acknowledge and change their state quickly. Tony and Oprah don't hang out in mean girl/guy land for long and your don't have to either.