Mental Mean Girls: 15 Ways To Reframe Your Negative Self-Talk Flare-Ups
That voice in your head is an asshole.
Don’t let your thoughts bully you around.
Inner monologue? More like inner bitch. Don’t give her the power.
“Empowerment” is trending, but somehow we’re still here telling our negative self talk it can go screw itself and F off.
Tell me again how is this supposed to be helping?
For what I’m guessing is some sort of evolutionary advantage, we’re programmed to interpret the world in very black and white terms. There can be no middle ground when it comes to right and wrong, and when we disagree with something, we typically villainize it rather than try to understand where it comes from (or what the real solution should be).
Good Versus Evil. Us Against Them. It’s a formula that’s easy to understand and easy to master. It’s primal.
So it’s only natural that with this sort of mentality, we’d choose sides with our self-talk and try to bully one of them into submission.
Brené Brown says to give your inner voice a name – she calls hers Gremlin. For some people, providing that separation is useful, and allows them to distance themselves from the harsh, usually-untrue things their inner voice likes to say.
I, however, have never been able to separate my inner voice from myself.
Because the thing is, it’s all a part of who I am.
Maybe my brain is playing tricks on my heart, maybe my inner voice is misguided at times, but at the end of the day – it’s all just me, telling myself what to believe.
Some people might say to snap out of it – to tell your inner critic to shut up. And hey, that might work for some people. But it NEVER works for me. Identifying my negative self-talk as someone other than myself – an ass, a bitch, a bully – only puts me on the defensive and gives me yet another thing about myself to dislike (on top of whatever it is I’m negative self-talking about).
Empowerment, for the record, is defined as “the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one’s life and claiming one’s rights.” Yet I cannot see how throwing insults at insults does anything to make us feel anything but more aggressive and afraid. They’re just harsh words to combat harsh thoughts. Abuse masked as “empowerment.” Which, to me, is anything but empowering.
Instead of fighting against what is, why not try fighting for what could be? Instead of taking sides, why not confront the perceived enemy? Instead of viewing your inner monologue as separate from your “true” self, why not try to understand what it’s actually trying to tell you?
Calling a very real part of who you are a “bitch” just reinforces and strengthens those negative-talk muscles that have been trained over the years to come to your defense in their negative-talk way – and focuses on the problem, not the solution. Berating a part of who you are is not the answer. Tapping into a new reserve of power to retrain that voice – that voice that so longs to be helpful – IS.
Next time you’re tempted to call your inner voice a harsh name, sideline the smack-talk and reframe it as something MORE.
Here are a few ideas of what your negative self-talk really is all about. Could it be that your negative self talk is…
1) An invitation to explore?
2) An opportunity to rise?
3) A clue to an imbalance?
4) A way to practice moving forward through fear?
5) A wound to be nurtured?
6) A signal for help?
7) A cautionary tale of what it looks like to not be self-actualized?
8) A sign of neglect?
9) A cry for attention?
10) A distraction from the truth?
11) A language that’s been inherited and internalized?
12) A sign of burnout?
13) A call to action?
14) An empathetic pathway?
15) A clue as to what needs some extra love?
When I first started working on WANT, I would get pitches from people with books or websites with names like “Bitch On The Inside,” “Mental Mean Girl,” or “#StopHatingYourself Life Coaching.” We’re so aligned, they would say. We’re all about empowering women.
I respectfully declined every single one of these pitches.
Again, to each her own. I guess I can understand how some people need a metaphorical smack upside the head to catapult change into motion…
…But I don’t think that’s what makes the change LAST.
Because here’s the clincher: the quicker we are to call our inner monologue a bitch, the quicker we are to find fault outside ourselves. The quicker we are to clique up and take sides and tell our friends to “get over it” or “snap out of it” when they’re feeling down on themselves, the easier it is to do it to ourselves. Life becomes arduous and unfair. It’s a negativity loop that goes on and on and on – all in the name of self-love.
Teaching yourself a new language, whether it’s Spanish or Self- Respect, is a process. Sometimes it’s as simple as going word by word. Phrase by phrase.
Today, pledge to stop calling your inner voice a “mean girl” or your “inner bitch.” Your mind and heart are smart, and they’re most likely just trying to protect you from disappointment, shield you from loneliness, or numb that Ghost Worry pain that’s predicting what other people might “find out” about you so that when they do “find it out” it won’t hurt as bad.
Your inner voice is just used to using this warped defense mechanism – a defense mechanism you don’t need.
It’s not You vs. Your Mind.
Not Good vs. Evil.
They’re all on the same side.
Think back to the times when your negative self-talk starts to act up. What is it usually trying to tell you? What does it signal? How can you reframe your most common self-critiques…without resorting to name-calling? Tell me in the comments below.
And know someone who needs this? Share it with them today to help them shift their negative self-talk.
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