Ditch Your Inner Bitch: Stop Criticizing!March 15, 2013
Look at her. Short shorts, stomach showing, hair down. We’re at the gym!
Obviously she’s looking for attention.
I sometimes catch myself staring with equal parts admiration and jealousy at the woman at the gym with the perfect hair, body, and makeup that doesn’t run down her face during a workout.
I want to not use her as a ruler to measure my own self worth, but the envy creeps in, and I convince myself she must have nothing to do all day but primp and exercise… until she emerges from the locker room with a briefcase bulging before swinging by the gym childcare center to pick up her two well-groomed children. Bitch. Yup, you know you’ve thought it, too. The truth is, she probably isn’t a bitch, but we tell ourselves she is to make our world right again. Because no one should be allowed to be so perfect – it makes the rest of us look bad!
Although we are quick to judge in this way, we are all way more critical of ourselves than we are of others. In reality, that perfect woman at the gym is probably thinking similar thoughts about someone else – maybe even you. As women, we often take our insecurities out on ourselves by constantly counting the ways we think we don’t measure up to others, then we criticize perfectly nice people for having something we want, whether it’s shiny hair, a tiny waste, perfect comedic timing, etc.
My inner bitch rears her ugly head. This internal monologue is a snarky attempt to make myself feel better about myself…but it really winds up making me feel guilty and gross. Then I criticize myself for being judgmental, and the cycle of self-criticism and judgment continues – sigh. So, as women, with the constant pressure from magazines, TV, movies, and ourselves to look and behave perfectly, what are we to do?
Ditch Your Inner Bitch
When you catch yourself judging another woman, force yourself to examine what it is that you’re really feeling. Are you insecure about something that she is clearly comfortable with? (See the short shorts and bare midriff mentioned above vs. my lifelong yearning for thinner thighs and a bloat-free tummy)
Do you wish you had the confidence to be as comfortable with your body?
Are you truly impressed and curious as to how she can wear her hair down without it frizzing into a hideous mess after 40 minutes of cardio?
(My curls lose their mind when I walk outside – I look like a lion minus the pride!)
Acknowledge these feelings and accept them as valid – we are all entitled to our emotions. Then remind yourself that we all have issues, and they help make us the unique, amazing, complex creatures we are. So instead of internally cutting down that other woman, tell yourself – or better yet her – what you admire about her. Your inner bitch is almost immediately silenced once you make room for appreciation of yourself and others.
I could say I’ve completely cut out comparing myself to others and I fully appreciate myself as well as others for our unique qualities. That would be a lie. I am getting better, though. When I catch myself comparing my little boobs to those of a should-be playmate, or the milestones I’ve reached in my life compared to my peers, I remind myself that I can only be the best me I can be. It’s exhausting and pointless to compare yourself to others. I am an apple. You are an orange. There’s no point in being bitter when variety makes life sweet.
So while I might keep my ponytail at the gym, feel free to let your hair down, lady!