I was in fourth grade when I was first told, “Melissa, you are way too hard on yourself.”
I’ll never forget the shoulder squeeze and the warm smile from Mrs. Knox as I smiled back somewhat confused. Was Mrs. Knox immune to her inner mean girl? I figured we were all plagued with it at some point, right?
In case you’re confused, here are some of the signs and symptoms to watch out for: feeling fat, ugly, awkward looking, stupid, unsuccessful, boring and like a loser. You feel you lack “umph,” style, sass. You think you have a big nose, huge hips, thighs, butt, or a spare tire. Simply put, you’re just not good enough.
But here’s the question… compared to who?
So if your inner mean girl or boy has ever attacked you, in other words, if you live on the same planet as I do and you’re human, then listen up.
Here are three vital lessons to learn from the self-hatred that plays on repeat:
The comparison game.
Sometimes we feel tricked into thinking we’re just not good enough, but the thing is, it’s only because we compare ourselves with an illusion of another person who simply has no drawbacks.
So in that moment that we have to begin listing all the amazing things about the person we’re comparing ourselves to, we must list the potential drawbacks they might be facing as a result.
If you’re reading this and thinking that there are none, allow me to tell you that it’s impossible. In fact, you can’t have pleasure without pain, or pain without pleasure. It’s simply the universal law of yin and yang balance, baby.
Filters filter out reality.
It’s pretty easy to feel inferior these days on social media as your inner mean girl swings her head and snaps her fingers at you.
After all, people will always post smiling faces, vacation photos and have filters applied to just about every “selfie” they take. But remember, filters filter out reality. So when I get into that moment of feeling like a cat’s bum, I’m able to snap out of it and be grateful because it reminds me of what’s real and what’s not.
When in doubt, question your own values.
As a nutritionist and acupuncturist who happens to be quite active on social media, it becomes challenging when you feel like you’re not keeping up with your competition. Now I’m sure that others out there in the industry may tell you that they’ve never felt this way, but I would beg to disagree. I think at some point, we have all felt inferior, like we’re not moving fast enough or simply not keeping up with others.
The lesson I’ve learned here: go back to your core values. You see, I began as a practitioner and left my old corporate job not because I wanted to become a celebrity, but because I wanted to help as many people as possible. I wanted to study my tail off, know this medicine inside out and be the best damn practitioner I could be.
Think about it, Bill Gates didn’t say, “I want to get rich and become a celebrity.” Instead wanted to “help people and businesses throughout the world to realize their full potential.”He concentrated on what he did best and how he could serve others in the world. From there with sheer business acumen and dedication, the rest of it fell into place.
So the next time your inner mean girl or boy creeps up, sit with those negative feelings and take a moment to lick your wounds before you feel capable to snap yourself out of it. Once you dust yourself off, remember that you’re human and it must happen to everyone.
Even Mrs. Knox.
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Asst. Ed.: Moira Madden/Ed: Bryonie Wise