Leslie Snyder is a long-time friend and life transformation coach. She is a health and fitness expert. (See her bio below) Leslie’s blog as well as outstanding fitness and health advice can be found at www.lesliemsnyder.com.
The Mean Girl in the Mirror
I’m not going to lie. This blog is risky. Why? For starters, it’s the first blog on my new site and secondly, because there’s nothing I can say in the world of health, fitness, and wellness that either hasn’t already been said or has been said in a much more creative way than I can communicate. So this blog represents a turn. A turn toward some brutal honesty. I crave this. My guess is, you do too. So today I’d like to introduce you to someone I don’t really like…at all.
I call her ‘Mean Girl’ and she lives in my mirror.
Mean Girl lives in my bathroom mirror.
She has lived there for as long as I can remember and is easily the meanest, angriest, most vicious and vile person I have ever known. She looks innocent enough, sometimes she’s even cute. But her words are sticky and sweet like poison and when I listen to them, take them in, and receive them like a daily drink they change me.
Oh sure, she has an alter ego. That’s ‘Nice Girl’ who works diligently to push back the venom that trickles like a cool water spring. But Nice Girl is also the tired one whose positive energy is given to everyone else around her. Nice Girl pours out life to others, lifts them up, believes in them and gives everything to those around her. She’s me. She’s you.
By the time Nice Girl looks in the mirror, she’s worn out.
Mean Girl knows this.
Mean Girl has learned this secret over the years and from this knowledge she holds out on Nice Girl and waits. And the waiting brings power; Power that slowly but surely erodes the courage and confidence of Nice Girl and gets her to believe things that sound a lot like this:
“Wow! Are you really 40-something?”
“Is that a wrinkle? A gray hair? Muffin top?”
“Do you even SEE yourself? You’re starting to look like your mother.”
“You’re hair will never look like ____________ (fill in the blank with whoever you’ve admired that day). Why do you even bother?”
“Yeah, I see those extra 5 (10, 15) pounds. Thank God for Lycra! But I can’t wear Lycra. Why? Because Jillian Michaels once said in an interview that if when she was 40 and had to wear spandex or Lycra, she’d probably kill herself. Really? Do I really look that bad?”
Throw those memories back to high school and Mean Girl’s words were so powerful she got me to stop eating. Really. And I wasn’t the only one. Back then my breakfast was water, my lunch was peanut butter, honey and crackers and then I went off to whatever sporting practice I had after school. Dinner was a binge because I was STARVING. Yes, literally starving. Mean Girl was winning. She put my friends in the hospital.
I hate Mean Girl. And Mean Girl hates me.
You might have a different name for the person who lives and lies in your mirror, but I’m guessing I’m not alone in the world of self-loathing. It’s a struggle to live in a society that constantly tells you you’re not enough. You’re not strong enough, pretty enough, tall enough, thin enough, rich enough, smart enough, talented enough…
But enough for what?
Enough for who?
The truth is, I have a pretty wonderful life and I bet you do to. I really am ‘living the dream.’ I am healthy. I am loved. I have a deep and sustaining faith. Some people even like me and choose to spend time with me. Sometimes I’m funny. I have a great laugh. I believe in people and my energy is infectious.
Unfortunately, many people will see these statements as self-elevation. But why is it OK for me to tell you all that I’m not instead of what and who I am? Self-loathing is socially acceptable and it’s silently killing our souls, especially of the women and girls in our lives.
Did you know that according to the DOVE campaign for Real Beauty that “women sent 5.3 million negative beauty/body image tweets in 2014.” And it starts early. Girls are bombarded with images of what it means to be beautiful and statistically a girl’s self-worth plummets as she goes through puberty.
True health includes a healthy mind, spirit and body. Beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, inches and pounds. o how do we defeat Mean Girl? This is a tough one because she’s been around a very long time.
First of all, acknowledge the fact that she exists. Then understand that she is a liar.
You aren’t ugly.
Those stretch marks? They represent a significant part of your story that brought a beautiful life into this world.
That scar? It tells the story of courage, healing, and maybe even a miracle.
The gray hair? You’ve earned the right to share your life story with someone younger than you and you’ve been given the gift of many journeys around the sun. It is a ‘crown of glory.’
Ultimately, your body, my body tells our stories. Each story is unique and needs to be shared with the world. So the next time you look in the mirror and begin hearing the negative mantra Mean Girl wants you to embrace, look her square in the eye and say out loud, “I don’t believe this and I don’t receive this.” Then state the truth. Out loud.
I am enough.
I might not be where I want to be but today I choose to show up in life, to be present to those around me and to live in such a way that lives out the truth.
Choose to be whatever you want to be, because you are enough.