Whew! So glad yesterday is over!. . . I really put myself through a lot and I was miserable for a good part of the day!

Brief recap of my made-up drama: I began my morning by making an honest mistake (and nobody died, or was hurt… it really wasn’t a big deal–lol!…), and then my super evil mean inner self started screaming at me inside my head all day long. You know, the hater voice that tells us we are so stupid, wrong . . . and should be perfect?–not humanly possible. She (my mean inner self happens to be a girl) SERIOUSLY WOULD NOT SHUT UP!


I pretty much filtered everything all day long through the lens of “I’m a screw up” and I misinterpreted a lot of good stuff that was going on around me. I took things personally that were not personal, I continued to beat myself up in my head, and things got worse and worse until by late afternoon I could feel all the energy drain out my feet; I was completely exhausted.

I know that I create my own reality, and I’m learning that I am the one in charge of creating meaning around the events in my life. In other words, I can choose to step out of my made up drama, breathe, and put down my story. For some reason, though, this can be more difficult on some days than others, and today was definitely in the “more difficult” category. The go(o)d news is, that I never used to realize that is was a choice, but I do now.

That mean inner self is a total bully, and I don’t quite know what to do about her. Funny thing, the awful stuff we tell ourselves . . . cuz I know she’s really mean & she’s, well, me. Where did she come from? Where do we learn to look at ourselves through such critical eyes, with such disdain, with so much pain?

I have a few ideas. Sometimes, when we are kids, the grownups want us to be different from who we are, or “perfect,” and they say mean stuff like, “Who do you think you are?” or, “You should be ashamed of yourself!” or, “What’s the matter with you?” And, I suppose I’ve internalized this voice . . . but I’m done with that. I know now it was never about me, and that these were projections of fear and control–so it’s a go(o)d time to take my power back and stop blaming the grownups for who I am now. That takes time, and healing, for sure . . . and forgiveness, but it’s all in Go(o)d time.

How do we make friends with the icky mean parts of ourselves?

Maybe I’ll. . .

  • yell back at her or write her an eviction notice . . .
  • spread rumors about her and kick her off the lunch table . . .
  • pretend she doesn’t exist and ignore her . . .
  • tell her she is fired . . .

(but all this stuff is being mean, too . . . and that’s NOT me) AAARGH!

On second thought, maybe I’ll . . .
  • invite her to play retro-hopscotch and ask her how she’s doing (I think I’ll let her win!)
  • share an icy cold mango smoothie with her, and listen to her story
  • wrap her up in a blankie nest and read her Goodnight Moon
  • write her a love note with a red sparkly pen and Hello Kitty stickers

LIGHT BULB IDEA: I wonder if she is the same part of me that criticizes and complains about other people? You know, the one that likes to be right, better, smarter, ______ (fill in the blank). Yikes…I think this is huge. I could probably get to know her a lot better… maybe I’ll start by giving her a smile and introducing myself.

Good thing we are all works in progress. What makes life beautiful is there’s so much to learn, and we are presented with just the right teachers when we are ready . . . I’m so grateful for my shadow girl–she’s not so scary, after all. 

She’s just misinformed.

How do YOU make friends with your mean inner S(elf)? How do you make friends with this voice? Please leave a comment on the blog ‘cuz we all need ideas with this one, for sure!

Lots of Love,

😉 Dana

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Dana Lynne Curry, Ph.D., has been teaching middle school English (with no low bun) for over 23 years. She is a gReaT-fuL Writer, Storyteller, Teacher, Student, Irreverent GoofBall, Blogger, Servant, Philosopher, Spiritual Collagist (is that a word?), Mama, LoVer of LiFe! Find Dana at funfreeME or on Twitter @funfreeMe1.

  • Vannie

    I Can relate to your situation 100% and I too am trying to get a handle on things.  Here is my take–I Think that When we blame the ‘inner voice’ we are only giving the ‘inner voice’ power over our overall self. We need to take control of our (temper)ament – by choosing to not get so upset, to not fight, to not be ‘right’ at any cost. I’ve learned that it’s  okay to stop midway thru a fight and say ‘let’s just stop fighting right now.’  At this point i’d rather be wrong and happy than ‘right’ and sad, angry, bitter etc.

    • Dana Lynne Curry, PhD

      Hello Vannie–
      I love the fact that you can allow yourself to HALT in the middle of an interaction and stop dead in your heels and call a truce. That takes great courage an humility. And–remember–that doesn’t make you “wrong.” It makes you (repeat) courageous and humble. And it takes you out of the energy of that conflict, that resistance, which only grows as you resist. It’s only after we accept, that we can respond rather than react.
      Sat Nam! and Much Love!

  • Kaje62

    Wow will you be my mommy? I love you kjp

    • Dana Lynne Curry, PhD

      Hi Beautiful!
      I won’t be Ur mOmmY, but I’ll be Ur amazing friend! I love KomBuchA U…and U!

  • Felicity

    What if we taught our inner voice to say things like “Way to go!” “You did awesome today!” and “You’re beautiful” instead of all that stuff she says that echo our inner fears “You’re an idiot”, “You’re such a loser”. That inner voice could be our biggest cheerleader and best friend -if we befriend it like Dana suggests.

    • Dana Lynne Curry, PhD

      Hey Felicity!
      Yeah…I totally agree! And we need to pay it forward to people in our lives by cheering on others so it will ome back to us tenfold–especially our own children as well as our inner kids!
      Let’s play!
      Just sayin’…
      Lots of love,

  • Sarah

    Thank you for posting this inspirational and thought provoking blog- I REALLY needed to read this today. What has been helping me to sooth and comfort this very critical, perfectionistic and approval starved part of me is Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). By tapping on certain energy points on the body and repeating… even though I am feeling shameful about this…. or even though I relapsed….(insert your own words) I choose to love and accept myself. And when saying this, really try and feel what completely loving yourself feels like and what complete acceptance of yourself feels like, no matter WHAT is going on in your life. This transforms any shameful thoughts and helps me think clearly and compassionately about myself because it lessons the charge that negative thoughts can create. I hope this is helpful, and if you’d like to learn more about EFT just go to their main website- theres tons of free info and lessons. 

    • Dana Lynne Curry, PhD

      Hey Sarah–
      Wow! Sounds like you’ve found something that really works for you! I am so super psyched that my blog spoke to you today! I have found in my own life that things arrive just when I need them . . . everywhere. Thank you, Go(o)d God!We are so lucky that the signs are all around, if we are willing to open up to see them with our hearts.The great thing is, that we can keep showing up at greater and greater capacities, so that we are more and more open to our own healing and growth.
      One thing I learned from Mastin (and my amazing boyfriend) is that we must first love,  accept, and take care of ourselves before we can meet others in relationship. The freedom is in loving and forgiving ourselves, and only then can we do the same for the amazing blessed people in our lives.
      So much love, Sarah!

  • Celia

    True! Thank you for sharing this. OMG I have an inner mean girl too!! Great reminder about being LOVE to ourselves as well as others. LOVE all around today!!

    • Dana Lynne Curry, PhD

      Hey Celia!
      You are so dear! I will talk your inner mean girl down anaytime–just call me and I will skype you (from 100 feet away) or cross the street and share soup and tea with you. I loVe loVe You! You are the damN beSt, gIrL!

  • RubyD

    I made friends with my inner NASTY self by having her apologize for being so mean to me all these years.  I forgave her.  She doesn’t come around too often any more 🙂

    • Dana Lynne Curry, PhD

      Hey Ruby!
      I sense a ritual of release (real-EASE) here! What did this apology look like? Did you write a letter? Did you have a conversation? One of my healers actually brought all of the people I needed to have dialogue with (including the MEan ME) around a campfire, and we had conversations–all coming together in a big monster forgiveness ritual–it really offered me perspective about those who I thought had done such wrong to me, and those whom I had wronged. It was amazing, and cleansing, and super painful, and raw. . .but so worth it.
      Lots of Love!

  • Joya

    Brilliant! Thanks!

    • Dana Lynne Curry, PhD

      Hey Joya–
      OMG! I love your name! What’s the story behind that? You are brilliant back at you! You are a bright light of Joya! Thanks so much for the comment.
      😉 dana

  • Yep.  We all have those ugly shadow selves.  I think the key is Grace.  Given to ourselves and to others.  So excited to find you here today, Dana!  Hugs.  

    • Dana Lynne Curry, PhD

      Hey Michelle–
      So glad you replied, “Yep.” And yes–we must first give grace and accept grace for ourselves . . . so we can bestow the same lovely shower of grace on others.
      So much love . . .

  • slupkes

    I find that my mean inner self comes out when I get stressed out and it is hard to break the habit.   Many times I just need to let time pass and my “good” inner self comes back.   Dana any thoughts on how to work through this process in a more expedited manner.   Love the blog.

    • Dana Lynne Curry, PhD

      Hey slupkes (Stan Lupkes?)
      I totally get the stressed out thing–I can see why you would sometimes want to rely on your head/intellect (I sense your a guy–) and time to pass in order to know how to proceed; in my life, I have come to know that I (am a girl & ) can trust my heart to know what’s true and right. So-in order to bypass the “let time pass” thing, I believe we can best listen to our hearts (SORRY BOYS!)–and how?
      Here are some ways: 1) Spend time in nature-go 4 a walk, run, or go biking, damnit! Feel the breeze and the cycles of nature! 2) Breathe! I do the 3X 11 (which I made up from meditation and kundalini yoga)–I breathe deeply 3 times, rest, and repeat 11 times. 3) Meditate–be quiet and just sit with yourself and you life and our thoughts. Pretend your thoughts are floating down a river, and you can just watch them (without believing them) ride the waves and float away…
      Don’t forget that there are no inner “bad” selves or inner “good” selves. They are all wonderful parts of us–we need to embrace them all and have a wonderful sleepover, complete with flashlight tag, warm blankie treatments, and bacon appetizers!
      Ahhhhhhh . . . . 
      😉 dana

  • Chris

    I love this post mis-takes! For me, I am learning how to take feedback from others and distinguish between people and comments that are intended to lift me up, and then the stuff that’s all about them — either to lift themselves up (and my expense) or just put me down (to make themselves feel better or superior).  And it can happen both with strangers as well as the people closest to you.  And sometimes, people aren’t even aware they are having that effect — it’s just instinctive, like a protective mechanism to cope and survive.  So my ‘inner self’ is becoming my protector, my filter for taking in the good, and screening out the bad.  

    Keep it up, Fun Free Me!

    • Dana Lynne Curry, PhD

      Hey Chris–
      I love that your  inner self is your protector, and that you can make the distinction between what is your and what belongs to another person–you call it a screen. Very cool!
      Lots of Love,

  • howiewazinski

    I love my inner voice but sometimes need a little help managing it.    I tend to let it free form a little and over all it is wonderful.   But like you sometimes I go to a dark place of made up thoughts.    Any advice on what to do when that happens?

    • Dana Lynne Curry, PhD

      For me, sometimes stepping out (figuratively) of my body and just noticing the voice helps me take the power away from it. I just watch the thoughts and the critic from a larger, more loving perspective and the negative energy dissipates.
      Thanks for the comment!

  • Heartbridge

    Just an enveloping hug for the bully eo selfs choice to experience pain when we could just say to our Higher Selves “Help me to choose another way” and then breathe deeply in and out 10 times.  It works much more often than not.

    • Dana Lynne Curry, PhD

      I love this phrase “Help me choose another way . . .” so powerful, vulnerable, and loving.

  • SueB

    Wow, the beginning of your piece sounded just like many days I have had.  I am learning the “Don’t take it personally” thing slowly but surely.  Yesterday someone said something at work that I perceived as a criticism and it took an hour, but I finally realized that it wasn’t personal, and I should use it constructively, instead of destructing myself all afternoon.  It’s a step in the right direction.  Thanks for sharing your insights!

    • Dana Lynne Curry, PhD

      Hey Sue!
      I know for me, the more I practice this new behavior, the easier it gets–And, the recovery time gets shorter and shorter for me (depending on the issue!). I can remember two years ago I got super blasted on the internet–it was horrible having toxic terrible things said about me for everyone in the planet to see!–I had to take a deep breath over and over again (I was at work)–and I was pretty much fine after a few hours. I realized it just wasn’t about me.
      Much love,

  • I used to fight my “inner critic” as I called her and tried to shout louder than her negative talk with my positive talk but it was exhausting and I was just fighting myself all the time to be positive over negative, this all changed when I was given a visualisation technique by a beautiful soul which literally changed my life, I gave my inner critic a form in my mind as detailed as could be then I visualised going over and giving her the biggest hug of her life and telling her I understood why she was so negative and critical and that it came from our childhood and she was trying to protect me but that she didnt have to protect me anymore and that we were OK now, then I visualised her transforming and she became my “inner cheerleader” including some fluffy pink pom poms 😀 xxx After doing this just once a weight was lifted from me and I have never felt so free, if she starts to get negative again I just visualise giving her another hug and make sure she starts shaking those pom poms again, Thank you with love and light and plenty blessings xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    • Dana Lynne Curry, PhD

      Hi RAchel–
      Ahhh! The power of visualization. Thanks for the reminder that we can reprogram our inner mean s(ELF)–and actually, by accepting instead of rejecting or denying, we can take the power from the negative and embrace these parts of ourselves fully.
      Lots of love,

  • Mary C

    THANK YOU DANA! I really needed to be reminded of the truth that WE control our thoughts, even when we feel wronged, hated, misunderstood, etc., etc.!!!!!!!!!