10 Jan Review: Reform Your Inner Mean Girl by Amy Ahlers and Christine Arylo
If we ladies pay very close attention, we can almost hear the rant of an internal psychopath, beating us down with every decision we make. She takes many forms, but she’s the little voice in our head that is constantly comparing us to others, pushing us to the brink of exhaustion, and telling us that our best just isn’t good enough.
I’m sure you’ve heard her. Chances are, she’s become such an integral part of your psyche that you didn’t even know she existed. You just assumed that little voice was your conscience kicking in.
Reform Your Inner Mean Girl attempts to bring this overbearing vixen out of her hiding place and put a name and a face on her. Amy Ahlers and Christine Arylo are bestselling authors and motivational speakers who found themselves succumbing to the whims of their own inner mean girls. In fact, had they heeded the advice of their invisible friends, they might not have ever met each other, despite living just a few minutes apart.
Before you assume the authors are talking about a literal second personality, let me elaborate. Ahlers and Arylo believe that as early as childhood, women experience one or more painful events which cause them to build up a defense mechanism to avoid being hurt again. It could be as simple as a teacher’s reprimand, an inconsiderate friend, or something much more serious. Whatever the event or series of events, it causes enough pain when we are most vulnerable that we instantly create a barrier to having that experience again.
Enter Inner Mean Girl. She’s that barrier, constantly telling us there’s something wrong with us, and if we just do a little more or change this or that, we’ll be accepted and won’t have to experience rejection again. Here is where Ahlers and Arylo put a more innocent face on this nagging voice. She’s actually there to protect you. She wants you to be happy and not experience hurt any longer, but what she’s doing does, indeed, hurt you.
We know her intentions are good, but she’s only creating more stress and turmoil in our lives. Ahlers and Arylo have nailed her persona in 13 different obsessive archetypes. She could be the Achievement Junkie, always pushing the bar a little higher so you never reach that point where you can sit back and revel in your success. She could be the Comparison Queen, driving into your head how you can never as pretty as that celebrity, or as smart as that scholar. Whoever you compare yourself to, she’s always there to tell you you’ll never live up to their standards and you’re just not good enough. Or she could be my personal number one archetype, the Doing Addict. The Doer makes sure you’re constantly on the go and can’t sit still. If you’ve always got a task at hand, you’re in motion and being productive. The unease that comes with stillness propels her to keep going and never be at rest.
There are ten other archetypes the authors have identified, and more than likely, you’ll find a little piece of each one inside you. There are one or more who will take precedence, but we fall victim to them all at one time or another. When I took the Inner Mean Girl quiz to find out my predominant archetype, I was starting to think I had the entire gang throttling me at all times. No wonder I tend to be hard on myself! But as the authors explain, that’s completely normal.
The key is overcome these mean girls and learn to love yourself so you can experience true success. Overcoming these bullies starts with identifying them. Ahlers and Arylo provide various exercises for bringing our abusers to the surface and learning what is behind our self-defeating behaviors. Journaling, sketching, and meditating are a few of the techniques used to get in tune with our Inner Mean Girls.
Once we’re able to identify those Inner Mean Girls, the next step is to bring out our Inner Wisdom instead and give the bullies something more productive to do. The authors are advocates of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, which is the process of associating motions with thoughts as a means to reinforcement.
Though it sounds simplistic and a little silly at times, the idea of personifying our self-destructive thoughts and replacing them with a positive approach makes sense. Tying those negative thoughts to previous experiences where we subconsciously built up defenses provides a sound degree of revelation. Readers will come away with a more expansive understanding of their own motivations and how they can begin to create a healing process.
I was a little disappointed that because I was reading an ARC, I didn’t have access to the online Inner Wisdom Kit the authors kept plugging throughout the book. It was supposed to be an accessory to the book, but I didn’t have the opportunity to try it out or see how it complemented the text. The webpage is there, but it doesn’t appear to be available to the public, yet. For this type of book, I would definitely suggest having that available for advance readers so they can create a more thorough opinion in their review. You will want to have the full package available to illustrate the worth of your practice.
It was also mildly irritating that the authors kept abbreviating Inner Mean Girl as “IMG”. As someone who spends most of her time on computers, emersed in HTML, I could only read this acronym as “image” every time I came across it. I would have to backtrack and slap my own wrist (there was my Inner Mean Girl coming out) to tell myself it did not imply “image” and should be read as “Inner Mean Girl”.
Despite these minor irritants, I found Reform Your Inner Mean Girl to be a very insightful read. It should be one we provide our daughters from an early age, but anyone should be able to benefit from it at any time. I would think men have their own internal bullies who could be addressed, as well, but as women we typically associate this self-abuse with being emotional and not an actual psychological issue. Amy Ahlers and Christine Arylo have created a version of cognitive therapy that can be beneficial to all women. They relate it in a relaxed, best girlfriend-type way, where the reader understands they are not alone and it’s okay to take baby steps to overcoming their inner demons.
Reform Your Inner Mean Girl: 7 Steps to Stop Bullying Yourself and Start Loving Yourself
By Amy Ahlers and Christine Arylo
April 7, 2015
Beyond Words Publishing
Inner Mean Girl Reform School Open House
Inner Mean Girl Reform School Facebook Page
Amy Ahlers’ Website
Amy Ahlers’ Facebook Page
Amy Ahlers’ Twitter Profile
Christine Arylo’s Website
Christine Arylo’s Facebook Page
Christine Ayrlo’s Twitter Profile