In my life coaching practice I am quickly learning that I am not the only one with a mean girl living inside of me. We are ALL so incredibly mean to ourselves.
I work with mothers every day who crave clarity and strength. They want to have a clear idea of what their day will look like with their kids and they want to parent without always worrying what others will think of them.
Instead, they are constantly looking over their shoulders to see if anyone is watching when they yell at their kid (more worried about what people will think than what their kid thinks), live in doubt that they are a "good mother," and react to problems rather than respond to them from a calm place.
The problem with our constant self criticism is that it often leads to over scheduling because we want to "do and be it all." Sign our kids up for 3 after school activities, work out 4 days a week, have a date night once a week... Be the best mom, wife, friend, worker, daughter, sister...
As a result, our days get frantic and our minds get so full they feel like they'll explode at any moment. I have often been there. Heck, I was there last week when my car doubled as a living room because we drove from Las Vegas to Oakland in a day. I've also been known to make so many casual friends that I can barely keep up with the people I really care about.
Our lives and minds are soooo BUSY! How many people do you know who, when you ask them how they are, they say "busy!"?? As if being busy were a badge of honor!
But a busy mind has some serious downsides. It often means that we are failing to prioritize what really matters. That's why a big part of my coaching involves coming up with a list of values and then looking to see if my client's life actually reflects those values.
Some sure signs I get when I am too busy and not living up to my values are: I am extra short with my family, I can't sleep at night and my nails turn to little stubs (yes, I am a life long nail bitter- lovely habit isn't it?!) The good news is I am getting much better at zapping my unsupportive thinking at the first sight of it.
And help is on the way for you too!
Stopping a mind that is on busy overdrive or is stuck on a default setting of doom and gloom, takes awareness, and lots of practice, but it CAN be done.
5 Steps to turn that mean girl in your head into a friend:
- When you make a choice, make a rule to stick with it. When the mean girl wags her finger at you to the point where you are tempted to second guess yourself, remember that you are wise, intuitive, and that your first choice is usually the best choice. This will help keep you from being swayed by your mean girl and also by others.
- Let go of the pressure to do it all PERFECTLY. It's ok to be a "good enough mother."
- Consider why you feel overwhelmed (or however you feel.) It may not be just one thing- all of those little things can add up to a lot of chaos. What can you do to make a few small changes to bring relief?
- Go back to your core values and use those to drive your behaviors. (Working with a coach can really help you with this.)
- Put your mean girl thoughts down on paper. Here are some of my own mean girl thoughts:
[Aghhh- directed at the children] The traffic is terrible, these kids in the back seat are driving me crazy, we are never going to get home, our early dinner and bedtime is shot.
[Ugh] Bedtime is taking forever. I don't think she'll ever fall asleep. It's time for me to be alone, I'm done parenting for the day!
[Groan] I have no time to myself, there's no food in the fridge, the house is so cluttered, I'm fried and I don't even know why, this day has gone from bad to worse.
The success of this writing practice comes from acknowledging and feeling the tightness around my shoulders as I think these thoughts; noticing that my breathing is halting and shallow; feeling out of control, afraid to make a mistake, hungry and running on vapors because I haven't eaten all day and didn't get much sleep the night before. This awareness is where your power to chance lies. You cannot change what you do not acknowledge!
What unsupportive/mean thoughts can you acknowledge and zap today? Right this second?