It was the end of lunch time, my freshman year of high school. Girls were gathered in the bathroom talking, fixing hair, applying make up, and getting ready for the bell to ring. About 20 of us girls were gathered in the “vanity room” which had three walls of mirrors and metal counters. One girl made a comment “I hate my nose” out loud, to the mirror. The next girl followed, “I hate my acne.” she declared to her reflection. The next “I hate my eyebrows”, and on it went around the room, each girl declaring her self-hatred. When it got to me I didn’t know what to say. I had never heard my Mom, or any other female pick apart their appearance in this way. I didn’t know this was a thing people did, but I sure as heck wasn’t going to be the one girl who announces “I love everything about my appearance!” I chose to hate my hair, it felt less personal than hating my body that would be with me forever.
Negative self-talk is a learned behavior, just like any other kind of hate. No baby is born hating on anybody, including themselves, (probably why we love em so much.) Adolescence seems to be the time we learn to start judging ourselves harshly. To be a girl in our girl culture, it’s almost unavoidable. We can’t change what we don’t acknowledge so NOTICING we are doing it is the first step to changing. People beat themselves up for all sorts of things, being stupid, being late, being lazy, being forgetful, making mistakes, etc. If we want to change the culture, we need to look at our own self judgement and recognize HOW FRICKIN’ MEAN WE ARE BEING TO OURSELVES! Ask yourself, “Would I ever say that to anyone else I cared about?” Try and imagine your best friend having a bad day where nothing was going right and you tell her, “Don’t be so stupid, what’s wrong with you!? Get your fat ass off the couch and DO something!”
Once we’ve identified the voice of our inner mean girl, we bring in the much more reasonable voice of the best friend. What would YOU say to a friend who is looking in the mirror? “You look fine, it doesn’t matter, you have beautiful eyes and a beautiful smile. Let’s stop the pity party and go have some fun.” or “You had a hard day, take it easy on yourself, put on your pjs and let’s watch The Bachelor.”
Changing the culture of negative self talk starts within all of us. Look in the mirror and say nice things to yourself, about yourself. Cultivate your inner BFF by having your own back after getting beat up by your inner mean girl. If you have a daughter between 12 -14, send her to my summer camp where she will learn to tune INTO her body instead of hating on it. We will listen to our intuition, emotions, inner wisdom and all the wonderful things that reside inside the body.
Priority Registration has begun for my Getting What You Want Girls Leadership Summer Camp. Help your daughter switch her focus from “Where am I not measuring up?” to “Who am I meant to be?”, “What lights me up?” and “What do I want?”