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So often we hear that our Monger is a Mean Girl or a Bitch. On this episode, I share why calling your Monger that doesn’t help. You can’t fight shame with shame.
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3 Characters Monger, BFF and Biggest Fan
Hey, everyone. I’m excited to be back, and this week, I am very excited about the topic we’re going to be discussing. It is about the name and why I chose the name ‘your Monger’ when it comes to talking about that voice in our head that is constantly spreading propaganda and telling us how much we’re failing and how we can’t be doing things, etc., etc., etc. One of the top questions I get is, “Why Monger, why did you pick the word ‘Monger’?”, and followed by, “Well, isn’t this that the gremlin or the mean girl or the bitch or …” there’s a lot of other names for the Monger’s voice. But, I love the name the Monger because I picked it, let’s hope I love the name, or that would be silly for me to pick it. I love the name Monger because the definition of a Monger in the dictionary is someone who is spreading propaganda. And that’s what I truly believe the Monger is doing. The Monger is spreading propaganda to keep us safe.
She follows three rules, don’t stand out, don’t make a mistake, and don’t be too vulnerable. She intends to keep us safe. It is her delivery that could use a little help. The Monger tends to use shame in how she delivers stuff to us, shame and guilt, negativity, all that yucky stuff. Frequently, when you hear about combating this voice and thinking about this voice, you’ll hear the words, “Oh, that’s my inner mean girl or that’s my inner bitch,” or, especially, you often hear the term, “That’s my gremlin.”
I always struggled with those names because, to me, they were so cruel and it was almost like we were using shame to combat shame, and that just never works. You can never use shame to combat shame. I would say that’s why the work I do around the Monger is a little different because it is about loving your Monger, loving yourself through the Monger. I think that’s a confusing concept for people because here’s this voice in our head that is belittling, shaming, guilting us, and our reaction to it is then to want to shame and belittle and go after it negatively. “There’s that bitch again. There’s my inner mean girl.” I’ll even call it the demon. And when we are talking about ourselves in that way, it doesn’t help us. It doesn’t help us feel positive about ourselves.
I have a silly example, but I think it illustrates this concept well. We are dog sitting at our home, and we have two cats, and a dog and our dog is very gentle, she’s very calm, she barely moves at all. We exchange dog sitting services with our friends, so it works out well, and we absolutely love our friends, and we love their dog, and everything works out well, but their dog has a lot of energy and is a German Shepard and lots of energy. Our cats don’t get along well with the dog, as you can imagine.
Last night, our cat came downstairs and was trying to be brave, and there was a lot of hissing and arm throwing, etc., etc., trying to stand his ground, the cat was. I started cheering for the cat, and I was like, “Go, Gus. Go, Gus. Get that mean dog. Get that mean dog.” And I noticed the more I started cheering for Gus and demonizing the dog, the angrier I was getting at the dog. I love the dog; I don’t want to be angry at the dog. I consider this dog to be my dog in so many ways. But my cats will always trump my dogs, no doubt about it. As I noticed this, I was like, “Oh my gosh. That’s what happens with the Monger.” When we are demonizing the Monger and calling it a gremlin, calling it this mean girl, calling it a bitch, we are turning on ourselves in a really bad way, and it ends up leaving a sour taste in our mouths about ourselves because that voice is an internal voice.
It’s only when we can bring in the Biggest Fan and bring in that voice that is like, “Okay. I don’t need this commentary right now about how terrible I am and how much I suck. What I need to do is put one step in front of the other and figure out how to solve this problem.” Or, “I don’t need this commentary right now about how I messed up yet another project at work. What I need to do is figure out how I can make it better.”
Go back to the dog analogy. If you think about yourself as the whole being, you are the house, and in the house, there is Gus and Gus is the Biggest Fan and Gus is trying to make his way downstairs and engage in the rest of the house. And then you have the Monger, and the Monger would be our friend’s dog, and that voice is also a part of the house. Like, both of those voices are valued in the house, both of those voices are a part of the house because the house, as a whole, is valued. When you are thinking of yourself, you are valued, you are important. The voices in your head are also important; they’re also a part of you. When you start demonizing one of those voices, you are, in essence, turning on yourself. Similar to how when I started cheering for Gus and also, at the same time, demonizing the dog, I ended up creating some negativity towards the dog, which was unnecessary. And that’s what we do with ourselves. To pump ourselves up, we demonize a part of ourselves to get rid of that inner voice. I think it starts with how … what we call that voice.
Just naming that voice the mean girl or naming that voice a bitch, we are then turning on ourselves on some level. That, for me, was a missing piece of all of this work. Before I came up with the Monger concept, when I would talk about the inner critic, and I would use the terms mean girl or bitch, it always felt yucky to me. Because here I’m talking about myself using such negative terms and I don’t want to be talking about myself in such negative terms. I want to start noticing when the Monger is talking, okay, that’s a voice who’s intention is to keep me safe. She intends that I don’t stand out, that I don’t make a mistake, and that I’m not too vulnerable. Those are lovely intentions unless you want to do anything in the world unless you want to take risks, unless you want to live a full life.
If you want to live a full life, you’re going to have to break some of those rules. You’re going to make mistakes, you’re going to be vulnerable, and you’re going to stand out. When those things happen, the Monger’s going to get riled up. That doesn’t mean she’s a bitch, that doesn’t mean that she’s nasty. That means that she’s getting riled up because her intentions are messed up. It’s our job to lovingly stand up to her and say, “I got this. You don’t need to be all hopped up today; we can handle this.” That doesn’t mean that she’s bad or she’s a bitch, or she’s a gremlin, that just means it’s a voice we don’t want to listen to. It’s a voice that’s spreading propaganda that we don’t have the time for right now. You’re not fighting with the Monger; you are choosing not to listen to it. You’re making a choice not to listen to it. It’s active. It’s not even that you’re ignoring the Monger or pretending it doesn’t exist. Nope. You’re acknowledging it’s there and then you’re saying, “You know what? What I’m feeling is scared right now. All of this propaganda you’re trying to spread about how I’m a terrible person doesn’t fit into what I’m feeling. I need to move past this; I need to move beyond this. I need to stop listening to this propaganda so that I can move forward with my life.”
That is why, even in the illustrations that I have, and I’ll put them in the show notes, the illustrations I have of the Monger, of the BFF, of the Biggest Fan, they are cartoonish, but the Monger isn’t mean or bitchy or gremlin-like. When they designed the characters, they asked if I were to identify a television character, who would I say is the Monger. The television character I came up with was Karen from Will and Grace. And Karen, yeah. Okay. I’ll give you. Karen can be a little bitchy, but mostly, Karen is annoying. Karen can be funny, Karen can be biting, Karen can be a lot of things, but when she has her people, she loves her people, and she fiercely defends her people, and she’s there for her people. That is what the Monger is as well. The Monger is well-intentioned, but her delivery can be a little mean sometimes, her delivery can be harsh. But we still need to be kind and appreciate the Monger; we just need to choose not to listen to it.
This is a subtle, subtle shift but, in my mind, it is a huge shift in the road to helping us have more kindness for ourselves. If we are practicing self-kindness and then all of a sudden we’re turning on ourselves when we hear the Monger’s voice, and we’re calling it a bitch, or we’re calling it a gremlin, or we’re calling it nasty, that doesn’t make sense to me. That doesn’t fit. We need to love all of the voices that are in our heads, that makes us sound a little crazy. But we need to love all of us, all of us, even the part of us that is scared and the part of us that is doubtful and the part of us that is insecure. That part may come up through the voice of the Monger, and it may be nasty, it may be mean, it may be shame-filled, but that’s still a voice that’s coming from within us. We need to be loving of that voice and acknowledging that voice and kind to that voice. We don’t need to be cutting off a piece of ourselves.
And, in essence, that’s what I was doing last night when I was cheering so much for Gus, and then I was being belittling about Nixon. I was negatively yelling at Nixon, that just made the whole situation worse because that made me not like Nixon as much at that moment. I realized, I sensed that was coming up. I was able to cheer for Gus and Nixon at the same time. I want Gus to win that battle because Gus needs to show his dominance, just like I want the Biggest Fan to win the battle in my head. But I also know that me demonizing the Monger isn’t going to make the Biggest Fan any faster or any better. It probably makes that process slower because the only way the concept of the Biggest Fan works is when we acknowledge all of ourselves. When we’re kind and loving about the whole picture, which is Monger, BFF, Biggest Fan, all of those characters come out to play, and we need to be kind about all of those characters. We don’t call the BFF a bitch and she can be bitchy too. She can be snippy and judgmental and “you deserve” and cutting people down and gossipy. But we’re not referring to that person as a bitch, and we shouldn’t be.
But it’s a societal thing that that negativity that we feel inside, the shame that our Monger keeps telling us, we are told to shame it back. The only way to get rid of the Monger’s voice and the shame that it gives us is for us to shame it. That does not work. We cannot shame ourselves out of the Monger; the Monger will not be quiet just because we’re belittling her or shaming her. The Monger gets louder. The only thing that combats the Monger is when we are honest with ourselves and loyal to ourselves, and we acknowledge what’s going on, and we practice A.S.K. We acknowledge our feelings, we slow down and get into our bodies, and then we kindly pull back to see the big picture. Those things bring forth the Biggest Fan, not shaming, not belittling, not yelling at the Monger and reasoning ourselves out of it, that stuff doesn’t work.
If you had the question of why do I call it the Monger, I hope that answers that question. But more so, I hope this helps you think about this concept in a different way. Rather than just the stereotypical inner bitch, inner gremlin type work, this is a little bigger, and I think this is a different way of looking at it that has been dramatically helpful for my clients and me to be able to see that all of them deserves kindness, all of them deserve some love. That is the answer to that question, and I hope that’s helpful to you guys.
I want to throw in a quick reminder that if you are enjoying the Happiness Hacks Podcast, I hope you will head over to iTunes or Stitcher or wherever you’re listening to this and post up a review and share with people what you’re gaining out of the Happiness Hacks. It helps me spread the word about the podcast, it helps the podcast reach more people, and that is the goal here. If you’re enjoying this, please go to those places and write some reviews. I will have the how-to on how to do that on the show notes page.
I also want to take some time to throw out, if you live in the central Ohio area or close to the central Ohio area, I will be talking about this subject and more, all things monger, BFF, biggest fan, at the Live Happier Day Retreat that’s taking place on September 15th. If this topic interests you and you would like to learn more about anxiety and to decrease that inner voice in your head that’s critical and spreading propaganda, please check out the live-happier.com/dayretreats on the website and I would love to see you there.
Thanks so much for listening. That’s the show. The Happiness Hacks Podcast comes out every week. If you have questions, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You could also follow me on Instagram at NancyJane_livehappier. And until next time, here’s to living happier.
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