Alright ladies. Let’s go back. Back to a time when you were a happy preteen, and your whole life revolved around having fun. You got to spend your time enjoying school, playing with your friends and doing whatever brought your little heart joy.
Until that fateful day. I’m sure you all remember. The first time another girl made you feel self-conscious. You heard a comment that totally blindsided you. It felt like a real punch in the gut because up until that moment, whatever she made fun of you for wasn’t even on your radar. She might have said something like, “Why do you wear your hair like that?” or “why do you like to roller skate? It’s so lame.” Or even worse, a real low blow about your appearance that you have no control over.
We all have a different version of this, but most likely we ran home in tears to our moms hoping they’d make us feel better. Hoping she could erase that awful feeling of seeing ourselves as inadequate for the first time. Our poor moms, now holding us and desperately looking back through their own life experience to conjure up the right thing to say. Typically, the thing they come up with is something that protected them in their toughest moments. They say to us with the best of intentions, “Honey, it’s not your fault. Girls are mean.”
And so begins our life on the defense.
From then on, in an effort to protect ourselves from having that awful feeling of inadequacy we identify every reason anyone could criticize us and try to get ahead of it. This becomes our source of motivation. We now view ourselves through the eyes of others. Instead of freely doing what we love, we first make sure it’s socially acceptable. We can no longer do anything beyond mediocrity without feeling vulnerable.
The problems really begin when we’ve used the opinions of others to guide us for so long that we lose touch with our own inner guidance system. We feel lost and uncomfortable with ourselves because we forget how to navigate our lives from the inside out. We don’t trust our decisions, and we shy away from our intuition because we need validation from others before moving forward.
At this point our critical voice has become so amplified that we can’t hear the voice of our True Self. The voice of compassion and love that is at the core of all beings. Our constant inner criticism then provokes us to criticize others. Making us act like, you guessed it… mean girls.
What if we gave young girls (and ourselves) a different narrative? What if we never had to enter the competition of playing defense and offense, and feeling the need to win some non-existent game?
What if we gave them the tools to rise above acts of meanness, and stop the cycle right then and there.
What if instead of “girls are mean sweetie, get used it,” we told them something true like, “no one, no matter what they say or do, is inherently mean in their heart.” We can explain to them that there are only two types of behavior. Acting out of love, and crying out for love, and the girl who teased them simply chose the latter.
What if we told our girls that when someone tries to hurt you, or speaks poorly of others, it is a sure sign that they are hurting. Someone has hurt them in the past and the only way they know how to feel better is to take someone else down a peg or two. So instead of listening to their words, look into their story. Try to understand that their hurt does not need to become yours or anyone else’s.
Also, in this world we have created where girls are mean, judgment is something we feel constantly. Most of the time we feel it without the other person doing or saying anything. This is a major moment to realize that whatever judgmental thoughts you think the other person has about you are really judgmental thoughts you have about yourself. #truthbomb
So, if we’re going to try and read people’s minds (because it’s hard to resist), why not assume the best? Why not think about all the positive things she could possibly be thinking about you? That feels way better.
When you turn your fear-based mindset toward one of love, the world around you changes miraculously. We all deserve a chance to view the world as a happy place where we are free to be ourselves, so let’s stop taking this away from girls by telling them their peers are to be feared.
Let’s teach them there’s no need to fear judgment, criticism, or meanness from others when you remember that any act that doesn’t come from a loving place is simply a call for love. You don’t need to be the one to give it to them in that moment, but give them space and wish them the best. Most importantly, don’t let them take away the love you have for yourself.