That’s right, I have “Regina George” written all over me. I’m condescending, cold-hearted, cutthroat, ruthless, and calloused. I judge readily, speak harshly, criticize quickly and forgive slowly. I tear apart appearance and balk at subpar performance—in any arena. I play nasty and I fight dirty. I go for the jugular. I’ve built my empire on this merciless mayhem by sabotaging self-esteem, obliterating opportunity, and demolishing dreams…So who wants to be my friend?

Surprisingly, plenty of people. Why, you ask? Well, most don’t receive the brunt of my cruelty. In fact, my victim has been one in the same over the past couple of decades, and I force her to keep quiet about it by threatening to torture her in her sleep and cut off all her social ties to anybody who’s anybody. I’m real crafty like that. But before you try to hook me on some sort of harassment charge, first let me tell you a little more about my prey—just a few things I’ve learned about her over the years, from tormenting her day to day. It’s so annoying how I’ve had to watch this progression from a heinous hyena to a not-so-awful human, but I’ll share what I’ve witnessed nonetheless…

I guess she’s not SO unfortunate-looking; some may even argue fortunate-looking. Turns out she’s got a decent head on those wide-set shoulders of hers. Wittier than most. Dumber than few. Crazy about pink, but also doesn’t look too bad in blue. She’s actually kind of compassionate, for someone self-acclaimed as selfish. She’s a dancer when no one’s watching and a singer when no one’s listening. It’s kinda weird if you ask me, but some might call it quirky. She’s an encourager, though not easily encouraged. In the face of fear, she fights for courage—and even when she loses the fight, she wears her bruises as purple hearts. It’s like she knows the difference between victory in battle and victory in the war. I’ve seen her cry herself to sleep just to come back for more—for another dose of the world that doesn’t seem to let her win. Though I try my hardest to make her accept defeat, she still knows this world is at her feet. It’s unfortunate that I won’t be able to keep her my prisoner for long. She’s starting to get too strong. Seriously, and this stupid thing happens all the time, where she starts talking normal and then ends in rhyme. Ugh!

I always thought there was a really good reason I hated her ya know. I swear I had it nailed, but now I’m not so sure. Perhaps she’s not as horrendous as I’ve made her seem. Maybe it’s time to set her free. Especially since my jailbird has been none other than me

You know, if I treated anyone the way I’ve treated myself, I don’t think I would have a single person to call my friend. An old mentor of mine once looked me square in the eye and asserted with such puppy-dog sincerity yet tiger-like tenacity, “You are so mean to YOU!” It was so simple. So straightforward. And so true. I just sat there stunned—partially offended to be called “mean” as a people-pleasing extraordinaire, and partially disgusted at the realization that I’ve been pleasing everyone else while raking myself over the coals.

It’s interesting how we’re dogged for being “mean girls” when we beat up others but praised for self-control and accomplishment when we take ourselves to the ring. Heck, we can expend so much energy shredding apart our own mind, body, and soul that we hardly have time to do the same to anyone else. I think many of us can find plenty of space for grace when it’s in the context of extending it to others, but when it comes to yours truly, down comes the judgment gavel. In the court of You vs. You, how many assault, battery, reckless abandonment, and “intentional infliction of emotional distress” charges have you racked up on your record?

More importantly, what would it look like if we were actually nice to ourselves? If we saw the best in our work, knew our worth, and were unshaken by shortcomings? If we step back just a tad from the up-close-and-personal scrutiny of every fault, perhaps we could start to see mistakes for what they are: milestones to success—and forgiveness for what it is: a gift intended not only for others, but for ourselves.

I think the implications of such a shift would be too phenomenally far-reaching to sum up here, but for starters, Lindsay Lohan might need a new day job.

Nice Girls, here we come. Okay, that movie doesn’t have the same ring to it…Spice Girls?? Grrr. Been done. Alright, I give.

Just girls. Ahhh…The world as it should be. ♥

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