Today I have a guest post by Leah Pardee from Candid Confidence. She is sharing her top tips on increasing your confidence. Enjoy!
We all know her. She is the voice that greets you when you look in the mirror. She pipes up as soon as you glance at a selfie. She is lurking around every corner, using any excuse possible to remind you of your insecurities.
She is your inner mean girl, or Regina, as I often call her.
How My Inner Mean Girl Has Shown Up In My Life
Regina has shown up differently in each period of my life. In middle school, she told me everyone hated me. Then, in high school, she made me question whether I was good enough for the boys I liked. In college, she had me wondering if I was smart enough for certain career paths.
After college, in my first few jobs, she told me people respected male leadership more. She told me I was too young to be in management.
She always made me wonder how people really felt about me. As if I could ever really know! As if it even mattered.
Where Does This Voice Come From?
So who is this person, this thing? It is your inner critic, your “shadow” living in your subconscious mind. She has a built-up repertoire of your innermost insecurities, and she reminds you of them any chance she gets.
When we have a repetitive thought, often triggered by an event in our lives, backed up by an emotion – we create a belief. These beliefs are hard to identify all at once because they don’t live in our conscious mind. And far too often, they are negative.
These are what we refer to as limiting beliefs.
These limiting beliefs are what fuels our inner mean girl. She is a fiend for them. Why? Because when we have decided on a belief, the brain’s Reticular Activating System is constantly seeking to validate it.
This is for our own efficiency, but it also means we are always looking for confirmation of these negative beliefs.
This makes us believe them even more, of course. Why wouldn’t we? It is what our brain points out to us. It is constantly being confirmed.
Recognizing Your Inner Mean Girl
Regina is an evil dictator. How do you overthrow an evil dictator? You take away her resources. She would be nothing without her high-status man-candy, technically good physique, and evil band of loyal followers….
Okay – yes, that was a mean girls quote. But I’m only half kidding.
Regina only has the power over us that we allow her to have. The scariest thing, though, is that it is so hard to recognize when it is her talking or when it is you talking.
It is MUCH easier to identify Regina in a friend. Do you have a friend that talks negatively about herself? Calls herself fat, thinks she isn’t good enough to ask for a raise, is afraid of taking the next step in her career, makes decisions out of worrying what others will think of her…
So easy to identify, right? We know that our friend is smart, capable, beautiful and worth so much more than she gives herself credit for, right? But she can’t see it.
That’s because it is her Regina speaking things into her mind. Showing her only the validation for those limiting beliefs in her outer world.
Regina points it out to her that she is much younger than the other candidates for the job, so why try? She points out that guys have rejected her in the past, so why go to speed dating and try?
Regina also likes to show her face when you get a compliment. Start paying attention to the kind things people say to you. Does your gut reaction make you say “Really??? This old thing??”, or make you think “Yeah, right, she’s just being nice! I look like crap today”. THAT, my friends, is Regina herself.
Okay, so maybe you are seeing how Regina operates now. Maybe you even recognize some of the times when you listened to her more than you should have. Maybe you are realizing the ways in which she holds you back.
If so, great! We are ready to start overthrowing the evil dictator.
Overthrowing The Mean Girl
So how do we figure out what are the limiting beliefs, the lies, that Regina has been spewing into our minds? And how do we separate it from what is truly us??
If it feels limiting, restricting, or tells you that you can’t have what you want– it is a limiting belief.
That is it. Any belief that doesn’t empower you is a lie.
Meditation has helped me so much in overthrowing my Regina.
It also requires a daily commitment to your own happiness. I made a decision to stop picking myself apart in the mirror. I decided it was time to accept my flaws and start loving myself. And while it didn’t happen overnight, little by little I learned to separate her voice from my own.
It changed my life.
Now, I go throughout my day with a much clearer mind. When negative emotions come up, about me or someone else, I quickly analyze it and decide whether to listen or not. It all happens in a matter of seconds.
Analyzing Our Insecurities
When the negative self-talk happens, ask yourself: Is this absolutely true?
- Is it true that men “always” reject me, so I shouldn’t try speed dating?
- Is it true that I won’t be pretty with my natural hair color? (Digging deeper: Are there any attractive people with my natural hair color? Okay, so it isn’t true then, is it?)
- People will laugh at me if I ______. (How can you know for sure? If you can predict laughter, why aren’t you a stand-up comedian?)
See where we are going with this? Your limiting beliefs are lies.
Unless you have hardcore evidence that it is always true AND it feels good and right to hold onto the belief….let it go.
Ask yourself if a friend had the same belief as you do, what would you tell her? Try to look at it from a perspective other than your own.
Byron Katie describes this process beautifully in her book Loving What Is. She teaches a method of picking apart each belief in a way that makes you see the truth behind it.
The first step is awareness. Once we know how all of this works, we can be on the lookout for Regina. When she starts to spew her lies, right from her Burn Book – we’ll know it is her.
We can remind ourselves of any situation that opposes the “truth” she is trying to make us see. We can decide not to listen to our inner mean girl anymore.
Remember at the end of the movie, when everyone becomes nice? Let’s skip to that part. Kick your inner mean girl to the curb once and for all.