My 5 year old is stunningly beautiful. She has striking deep blue eyes, and the darkest lashes you've ever seen without mascara. Her skin is golden brown, even the the dark of winter. I swear she came out of the womb tan. I'd like to take credit for her beauty. but honestly she favors her dad quite a bit. The only credit I can take in regards to this child is her tough as nails personality. This girl is a world changer. She is a leader, and can at times be quite bossy. She has the most kind and thoughtful heart, more times than I can count she is thinking of others needs before her own. But almost daily, someone says to me, "Ooooh you will have to lock her up when she is older." and even last night someone close to me said "You better hope she's not the mean girl." Now this person meant no harm whatsoever, but I responded with "Why, would she be the mean girl? Because she's beautiful?" She is often judged on her looks before anyone gives her the chance to show them her heart. Isn't that the truth...we are so quick to judge.
But that got me thinking... What is a mean girl? From my own experience it is someone who just feels the need to make others feel less than on purpose. It is that girl or woman who judges the other woman with little thought to the other person's feelings. Mean girls don't really care who they hurt, as long as it's not themselves. It is someone that jumps to conclusions instead of taking the time to determine the truth. And more often than not, they find it absolutely necessary to share these opinions with the rest of the world. Mean girls cannot keep their mouth's shut.
I've been on both sides of the mean girl's syndrome. I have been the mean girl, and I have been on the receiving end of a group of mean girl's wrath. When I was 100 pounds over weight I was super insecure, and was triggered easily by my own feelings of inadequacy. I was very quick to judge other women because my interpretation of who that person was, was measured against my own sense of failure. Ooohh, that's good. Re-read that line. Here, I'll say it again! I was very quick to judge other women because my interpretation of who that person was, was measured against my own sense of failure. I was the failure, and if I could just find some fault with them, well then..I wouldn't be such a worthless person. It is easier to find fault in others, than it is to acknowledge the truth about yourself . If you acknowledge the truth about yourself, you just might have to do something about it. Now who has time for that?
It is easier to walk around and judge others based on their looks, the way they mother their kids, they choices they make as a wife, how they spend money, whether or not they are a full time working mom, or a stay at home, home-school-the-kids-mom, the size of their house, the model car they drive, the success of their career. It is easy to say to yourself, "Well I would never...XY or Z" about another person. Trust me, I've done it! I know it is EASY, EASY, EASY to look at other's decisions and to judge them. But what does that get you? 30 seconds of "AH! I'm a better person!" Like, you've outted them or something. And then to tell everyone how horrible the isolated person is. It's like they can't just be an alone mean girl, they have to bring a whole crew with them.
I think a mean girl's true intention is to bring shame on soemone, as if almost to point and say "Ha! you don't belong. You are WEIRD and deserve to be alone in your weirdness." Bringing shame is the worst thing someone could do to me. There is nothing worse in the "feelings" realm, then the feeling of shame. Shame isolates a person. Shame has life and if not dealt with grows. And it's growth requires it to devour the other feelings that we actually want..like joy, and peace and love for others. Shame almost always leads to the comparison game. I picture a PAC-MAN ball of shame eating the other little healthy feeling dots. Shame is deadly. Bringing shame on someone else is mean and heartless, and it can be hard to recover from because the wound of shame cuts DEEP. Unfortunately bringing shame on someone is not always on purpose. Have you ever said to someone.."well, I would never.." That in itself is bringing someone shame. I did it to a complete stranger the other day at the gym *Sigh, as I hang my head down.* I told her I would never let my husband do XYZ, except duh I did do exactly that in my 10 year super dysfunctional and abusive first marriage. Instead of empathizing with her and telling her my own history, I brought her shame and judgment. I could have held her hand and said "I know how that feels too." But I didn't.
I should know better because recently I've been on the receiving end of some (in my opinion intentional) mean girl situations. I am 35 years old, you would think WAY past the age of mean girls, but nope! Mean girls are still thriving even at my age. Two different occurrences had me questioning my decisions, and made me feel like a complete idiot. In both instances, I was completely rejected by other women and I swear the more I put myself out there, whether in writing blogs or posting Facebook live videos, the more I experienced some mean girl shame situations. Some people will never see your heart, they will only see your failings. It is in that, that we need to recognize who's opinions actually matter. For a moment, the shame I felt after some of these occurrences has stopped me in my tracks and had me re-guessing everything. I actually became quite paralyzed. I felt alone and turned to my lifelong battle of binge eating...ya know, because 8 cookies make everything better. If you think about your own memories in dealing with mean girls, I'm almost positive their is a intense amount of shame in the memory.
It has taken me some time to recover from these mean girl shame experiences. I really had to do some counseling on myself and speak to what I was hearing and believing about my identity. I had to DECIDE to let go of certain relationships and realize that it is ok if some people just don't like me. I decided to tighten my circle, and to only share my self and my heart with those that I know truly love me and are trust worthy. Yes I share my heart every time I post a blog. I know the risk I have in exposing my true self. But possibly helping someone on their journey, by far out weighs any backlash and criticism from internet trolls. I decided that if I gave light to my shame then the little devil could no longer thrive or have any power over me. When you decide to cast light on darkness, the darkness has no other choice but to become light.
I didn't hide the shame pain, I exposed it. I addressed the feelings of inadequacy, the isolation, and the just plain rejection from a circle of people, and I let it go. It took me longer than I care to admit, but I let it go. This post has been sitting in my rough draft section for months. It has taken me months to be at peace about the mean girl situation I have been experiencing, So there, you see...I too, am a work in progress. I have to work through things and I have good days and I have bad days. I made a decision after my great break down in 2014 after my divorce that I will choose to show up, day in and day out. No matter the cost. I will dare to start again. I choose grace, and grace chose me. I will fail, but the only real failing is not trying again. Hey, mean girls, hey! Take notes.
PS. I am actively teaching my daughter, even at the age of 5, the importance of loving other females and how we are not in competition with each other. Accept yourself and you will accept others. Amen and amen!