May 2, 2011 Experiencing the “Mean Girls Syndrome” in my 30’s, really? Really.
Many of you who know me, understand I will be the first person to observe a situation and instantly take responsibility for my role with the unfoldment of that situation or experience – it’s the law of attraction on some level. And let me be clear when I write the phrase “know me.”
“Know me” means knowing the authentic me, the not so perfect me, the me that makes mistakes, the me that looks for the good in everything, the me that sometimes refuses to feel anger, resentment or sadness when I should release those feelings through my being in the moment…I mean really “know me.” Who can see me and no matter how messy a situation may be, can take a stand for the fact you “know me.”
So today I am FINALLY writing about an experience I believe my voice, my authentic voice, needs to share to release the feelings of sadness, anger, resentment – the pain – so it can be a blessing for you or someone you know that may be going through a similar circumstance. And in the release of pain I know what I will gain back is my self worth. My faith in myself and the ability to heal.
It was less than a year ago when I volunteered to be a mentor in the Jenna Druck Foundation’s Young Women’s Leadership Program for a table of 10 high school girls. The keynote speaker at the event: Rachel Simmons. OMG! Rachel blew us away with her energy and her wisdom on how so many young women treat each other within a box called the “Mean Girl Syndrome.”
For those of you new to this concept, as young women, we endure forms of bullying during our early ages with regards to our self worth and self esteem by the influences of those around us and even more directly with the thoughts in our heads about ourselves:
Are we pretty enough? Are we the right weight? Will he like me? Will she like me? Am I cool or a nerd? Can I fit the part? Does my hair look good? Should I let them know I am really smart? Will he ask me to that dance? Do they like my clothes? Are they mad at me? Why do I feel so alone? No one will ever really like me – the real me.
Typically, in a common case of a Mean Girl Syndrome experience you will find a group of young women engaging in friendship. Usually, there is one girl who has the power and stands out amongst the rest. If she is mad at you or doesn’t like you that week – then the rest of the group follows suit. Respect, trust, acceptance, forgiveness and self love are just a few values that as young women are affected by these experiences – which then tends to lead us into how we are affected as adults in similar situations.
It’s sad to admit but I was in one of those groups growing up. Always wondering if “This week was going to be the week I was alone or if this was the week I was HER best friend.” You just never knew what to expect. Eventually, as time passes, you grow out of those experiences and learn from them. You learn how to hold your own and stop judging yourself by what others believe about you…and stand up for what you LOVE about yourself instead.
Well, that’s at least what I hope everyone would say but the more work I do with thousands of women – men too – I realize this is not the case. And not only is this not the case – ALL age demographics are still affected. Whether it’s a personal, family, work or community relationship – the “Mean Syndrome” and even more the lack of self worth is very prevalent with holding back one’s success.
In fact, I am here in my 30’s to share I just experienced another moment of the “Mean Girl Syndrome” and it sucks! In a nutshell, I was the co-maid of honor to one of my childhood best friends in the spring of 2009. After her marriage, the phone calls were far and few between and I began to feel as if I was leaving messages on a distant line only to hear the sound of my own voice. The other co-maid of honor, another childhood friend, had fallen off too. Text messages, phone calls, emails, Facebook messages and nothing. What happened to my friends? I could feel it in the air – something in the energy was up and the morning after I had a dream about the whole situation I received a text opening a long awaited conversation:
November 17, 2010
“Hey, you are right. It has been a long time since we’ve chatted. I do admit that I’ve had some difficulty with our relationship since my wedding that has interfered with our relationship. If your open to discussing it with me (now or future) I’m more that open to doing that. I really hope your doing well.”
Finally, a connection, some words – ok she’s having difficulty and I am pained to hear she has been going through something without talking to me about it and just want to take all of it away from her heart so I immediately write this back:
November 17, 2010
“I am always open. I’m sorry to hear you have been carrying this with you since your wedding and apologize for any discomfort this may have caused you. Call me when you are ready.”
And then silence…a week goes by and I call…leave another voicemail sharing to call anytime and I will hold a safe space for her to share anything on her heart. More silence and then a text message arrives:
December 7, 2010
“Hey sorry I haven’t responded, just a lot on my plate at the moment. I do want to chat tho. Let me know when you are free. Evenings are better for me.”
I begin to get frustrated. Weeks have passed since she originally shared her initial text and my thoughts are wrapped up in what is continuing to hurt her after an event that was so long ago. I want to continue to honor her but I also don’t want to get caught up in the incessant thinking that goes along in my head about all of the memories and moments of what happened or didn’t happen. It now starts to make sense why I haven’t heard from the other co-maid of honor too. She is avoiding me – and following suit.
December 10, 2010
“I love you and always will – no matter what. I’ve sent texts and left voicemail. When you are ready, call me and I will make time.”
The silence continues….so in February I write this:
February 5, 2011
“Still here when you are ready to talk. Happy Saturday. XO”
Nothing. So my finally attempt – thank god for Facebook was near the end of March 2011 – I had another dream and wrote my thoughts to her about letting go of this situation in a private Facebook message – I told her I can’t keep guessing what is going on with her because it’s not healthy for me and that I would always care for her – it’s obvious she doesn’t want to talk so take care and when she’s ready I will still be here.
I got a response – and it was something I wasn’t completely expecting. She felt I let her down at her wedding. That I didn’t show up as her best friend or maid of honor and wanted me to have a larger role in the happiest day of her life at her wedding. She wouldn’t share specifics but felt as if I wasn’t taking responsibilities for my actions. Short story – she was hurt and was done with our friendship.
When someone I care about is hurting, I feel the pain too. And I know many of you reading this, if you have gotten this far into my story (thank you by the way), are the same. We never want to hurt anyone – it’s never the best of anyone’s intention. Here are 2 ways I am viewing this situation:
1) My friend is allowing herself to get caught up in moments that happened over 2 years ago she never expressed to me. We, to this day have never had a dialogue about why she was so hurt. She has never shared any specifics other than she was let down. Sure, I can assume what items she may be thinking of but until I know for sure, I don’t want to get caught up in the mind game. She made the choice to hold onto this and suffer and the result is that our friendship suffered too. And yet, I can’t be mad at her for it. She is on her own journey and I still see her as “The Total Female Package.” Her voice is choosing to express itself in this way so there are lessons to be learned and I have compassion for her.
2) This experience has reminded me of the “Mean Girl Syndrome” I experienced in childhood. My friend is upset so she takes her friendship away and apparently the other co-maid of honor follows suit. So it seems like I have lost 2 friends from my life or have I? This opportunity has really given me the chance to review those in my close circle. And to really engage in friendships that regardless of how messy it gets will take a stand because they “know me” and my worth.
We each have a choice to believe in our actions. And that our actions always end up leading us to our highest good. While this experience may seem trivial to some, to others – friendships, disappointments, and miscommunication is a part of our daily lives. How do we each carry our heads high when those we trust and love shut us out for moments or what can possibly turn into years?
My practice is to always know I have the choice to “approve of me.” No one else can do that for me. So when uncomfortable moments arise when you may begin to question your self worth and your self esteems suffers I am writing a prescription for you to follow:
1. Email me immediately or share it here so I can connect with you: firstname.lastname@example.org Sometimes just writing it out loud allows the healing process to begin. You are brave.
2. Seek out 2 – 5 people in your life who are worthy of YOU and begin to develop friendships with them so you can turn to them in moments like this. They will remind you of your worth even when you may be questioning it.
3. Forgive yourself immediately. Forgive yourself for even doubting yourself or your actions, especially if they are in the past. All you have is right NOW.
4. Do something AMAZING for yourself – celebrate the awareness you had in shifting your thoughts to stand in your excellence. Buy yourself a cup of coffee, dance to your favorite song, watch a new movie – you will need to immediately anchor with an action the stand you are taking in believing in who you are.
5. Share your story. Your pain is a blessing for someone else who may be going through the exact same experience. It will make that person feel less alone.
As you can tell, I am currently practicing step 5. I will never share words or give guidance on what I don’t experience as tools for you to use.
This experience has reminded me of the power of relationships and why we are here on this planet. To experience how we each play together on a team and coexist for a lifetime creates opportunites for us to teach, practice and share with one another. Disappointments are apart of the journey and no matter what I will hold the open space of love and faith for my relationship with my old friend to return if she seeks it.
P.S. If you enjoyed my share – please like it and post on your Facebook. Sharing opens doors.
P.S.S. If you resonated with anything I wrote, please comment below. It will help so many women who take a moment to read this today.