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So often in my office I hear clients report that their monger says to them,
“Who do you think you are to…
- take a nap.”
- speak up for yourself.”
- tell the neighbor no when she asks to bring her kids over for the 5th time.”
- get a babysitter so you can your husband can have a night out.”
- take a walk rather than cook dinner.”
- put yourself first, for once.”
- find a career you love.”
Quite honestly, the list can go on and on. I believe this phrase is one of the most crippling phrases in the monger’s arsenal. This phrase basically keeps you from being your true self. This phrase keeps you stuck in a world of external expectations. I confess this phrase can bring me to my knees. “Who do you think you are to talk to people about living happier?” “Who do you think you are to write this stuff…” The voice is nasty, venomous and down right mean.
The phrase Who Do You Think You Are? Speaks to our inner child to tell us to stay humble, be modest, don’t stand out and don’t demand too much. It speaks to that little girl in us who so badly wanted to fit in and be accepted. And we were told, or shown growing up that the best way to be accepted is to stay humble, be modest, don’t stand out and don’t demand too much. But what has happened is as we have grown up we have stayed quiet, remained humble and not demanded enough. Now here we are as adults full of anxiety, perfectionism and insecurity.
So what to do…
- First off. As I always say: Build Awareness. Notice when this phrase starts playing in your head. Just notice it. No judgment. Just awareness.
- Have Curiosity What causes this voice to get louder? When you do something for yourself? When you put yourself first? When you put yourself out there as an expert? When you speak up? When you show a weakness or a strength? Just be aware of any patterns.
- Get Physical. It isn’t enough to just say, no to the monger or to repeat a mantra of love to yourself. You HAVE to do something physical to start re-programming yourself.
Here are some examples I have found to be really helpful:
- Actually walking the monger to the door (asking you to use some imagination here). When you get to the door say “thanks for looking out but it is ok for me to be whoever I want to be”
- Placing your hands on your heart and lovingly reminding yourself “Being small doesn’t serve me it is OK to stand up for myself.”
- Holding your hand up to your monger as if to say “stop, that message is no longer valid”
The important part of step 3 is to do and say what feels best to you. It is helpful to know what the inner critic is getting upset about. So as you get curious in step 2 you might realize that the monger seems to get riled up when you are speaking up for yourself or when you admit a weakness. So make sure whatever you say to your monger fits your theme.
Get creative, experiment a little. You can sing “I am awesome” while dancing a jig in your living room. Whatever helps you disengage from your monger.
Remember this is a process. It takes time. Changing the monger’s voices doesn’t happen over night. So be patient with yourself and the process.
Now I know this sounds silly, crazy even. But I promise you it works. Over time, the inner monger loses its edge. At the end of the day, what is worse trying a ‘what might feel silly’ exercise in order to feel better or continue to feel the pain and insecurity of the monger’s voice.
Because here is the truth: You are an amazing, capable, strong, vulnerable, perfectly imperfect person. You are doing the best you can with what you have. THAT is the answer to the monger’s question.
I would love to hear from you: Is this one of your monger’s phrases? What are some other common phrases you might hear? What are some ways you have ‘gotten physical’ with your monger?