I was told by my therapist that I am mean to myself. She’s right. I am incredibly hard on myself. Why do we do that? Why do we hold ourselves to such unreachable standards, sainthood practically, and then berate ourselves when we inevitably fall short because we’re human? I’ve been working through some stuff these past few weeks and today was the first time I’d had a chance to voice out loud how I was feeling. My feels about me went something like this:
- You’ve failed to meet the standard you have in your head.
- You’ve participated in what you consider to be one of your most-loathed weaknesses.
- You’re angry that you let yourself go there.
- You’re not strong. You’re not perfect. That’s bad.
Why, as women, are we so cruel to ourselves? Why do we allow ourselves to believe that our meanest internal dialogue, our mean girl, is how other sees us? If I feel this way, surely others must feel the same way about me. They probably don’t. Yet we can’t ignore the mean girl. Instead, we keep the mean girl bottled up as she pokes at us from the inside. She is LOUD, belligerent, and constantly working to drown out any possible voice we have that tells us that we are worthy of praise, that’s it’s okay to be imperfect, and that screwing up is part of becoming our best selves.
What did we do to deserve such a shitty sidekick? Nothing. Here’s a reality check. We are constantly screwing up. Some of us are just better at it than others. I consider myself a pro. My mean girl has set the bar of perfection so unattainably high that of COURSE I feel like, I failed. I failed to be a perfect mother, a perfect wife, a perfect employee, or a perfect friend…a perfect griever. I’m not worthy of my own praise because I can’t seem to get anything right.
And then I stop. And I remember.
That chick with the mean comments needs to take a seat, preferably with tape over her mouth.
I remember all the hard work. I remember where I came from and where I am now. I remember that my life could have turned out very differently and I have worked. so. stinking. hard to survive some of the shittest things life has to offer. And I remember…I am worthy of praise. I am allowed to be imperfect. I am allowed to be human. I am loved.
We were not put on this earth to be perfect. We are imperfect by design. We make choices based on the tools we are given and the work we put into making ourselves better. You cannot go back and rewrite history. You cannot fix the unfixable. You cannot allow yourself to be consumed by every bad choice and every little thing you couldn’t control along the way. These are part of who you are. But they can also motivate you to do better today, tomorrow, and the next day. The truth is we are survivors. We endure the darkest corners of our existence and they help us grow even stronger. We are constantly learning. We are constantly striving for good. We are going to continue to screw up. And our inner mean girl is always going to be there to cheer on our failures.
But we are better than allowing that sassy bitch more of a spotlight than she deserves. We have to learn and re-learn that she is a small part of us, not the sum of who we are. Our past is only part of our story. Every day when we wake up, we have an opportunity to do better, to make better choices, and to live a happier, more fulfilling life full of supportive people. So for now, my inner mean girl can just sit there, quietly, while I go rule the world. I hope you find a way to sit her in the corner today, too.