Ladies, did you know that you’ve been lying to the most important person in your life — you? It’s true! Every time you tell yourself you’re not good enough or pretty enough, you’ve believed a harmful myth.

I am loving a new book that came across my desk, Big Fat Lies Women Tell Themselves. So I sent a few questions to the author Amy Ahlers to get to the bottom of why women are lying and what we can do about it.

Why are women in particular so hard on themselves?

One of the main reasons women are so hard on themselves is because for the past couple of decades we’ve been fed two contradictory messages: “You can do anything” and “You are not enough.” We’ve been bombarded with girl power messaging from our parents, public service announcements, and books. And yet we still have to contend with the media and advertising industry telling us we are not beautiful enough, young enough, thin enough…essentially we are not enough. This message is devastating to women and girls in particular, as we are the primary target. Plus studies show that even though we may be smart, savvy consumers, the “you’re not enough” messaging seeps into our subconscious brain on a profound level. Then add to that the “you can do anything message”, which can lead us to putting intense pressure on ourselves to do everything from baby making to bread winning. This contradiction in messaging can be crazy making and leads us to be incredibly hard on ourselves.

How can a woman tell the difference between the voice of her Inner Mean Girl and the voice of her conscience?

Go to how you feel in your body. The voice of your Inner Mean Girl will leave you feeling anxious, stuck in your head, like your body is swirling. In contrast, whenever we are in tune with our Inner Wisdom (which is really where our conscience comes from), we feel grounded, clear and strong in our bodies. We know when our Inner Wisdom is guiding us to do the “right” thing for US vs. our Inner Mean Girl who will shame us into doing the “right” thing for everyone but ourselves.

What role does loving oneself play in dispelling these myths and lies?

Loving ourselves is at the core of everything. Without self-love and self-compassion, we are left with self-doubt and self-criticism. It is imperative for us to nurture a loving relationship with ourselves. From that foundation of love, we begin to slay the Big Fat Lies and empower our Inner Truth.

Can you expound a bit more on Big Fat Lie #11: ‘It’s too late for me’? What can women do who feel like life is passing them by?

I’d love to gift your readers with the coaching challenge exercise in my book to slay this Big Fat Lie:

First, get really clear on where you are using the too late Lie as an excuse. Do you believe it is too late to get your college degree? Too late to learn how to paint? Too late to get in shape?

Notice what this Lie is robbing you of. The possibility of love? A new career path? A chance to strut your stuff on the beach? Drink in the dream you’ve been denying yourself. What is it you really, really want?

What is the worst thing that could happen if you just went for it? Allow your Inner Critic to run the worst-case scenario. Does she believe you’ll end up heartbroken? That you’ll fail your exams and flunk out? That your movie script won’t get sold?

Notice how your Inner Mean Girl is protecting you. She thinks that if you don’t try, then you won’t be hurt. Her mantra is “I can save myself from failure and pain if I don’t go for it.” The truth is that you’re in pain anyway when you beat yourself up with this excuse. The desire
for your dream is there, whether or not you acknowledge it, getting pushed down and causing you torment.

Now, run the best-case scenario. What is the best thing that could happen if you went for it? What is the most sublime dream possible? You get the degree and feel like a million bucks? You find the love of your life and live happily ever after? You sell a painting and know it is
being treasured by another?

Look for evidence of those who’ve gone for it, even if it seemed “too late” for them. You’ll find inspiring stories! My client Jennifer uncovered the story of a woman who learned to paint at the age of eighty-three. Take heart in the woman who met the love of their life at age sixty-seven, as my friend Judy’s mom, did.

Check in with yourself, and notice that you can handle both the worst- and the best-case scenario. Take a risk, feel the fear, and go for it!

I think every woman can find themselves in this book. Of all the big fat lies women believe, what is the one you struggle with the most? How do you overcome it?

Honestly, I’ve struggled with nearly all 59 Big Fat Lies in my book at one point or another in my life. I’ve felt “not enough,” I’ve worried it’s “too late” and I can definitely relate to Big Fat Lie # 31 “Money is the root of all evil.” Lately, however my Inner Mean Girl has been beating me up with Big Fat Lie #28 “If I allow myself to celebrate, the other shoe will drop.” Becoming a published author is a 6-year dream come true for me and I am ready to shout from the rooftops with joy. But my Inner Critic tells me this nasty lie and can make me stop celebrating for fear of bringing on bad things. The way I’ve overcome this Lie is to collect evidence about how all the things I’ve celebrated the most in my life like getting married, launching my business, having my daughter has only brought me more joy. I remember joy begets joy. So don’t mind me if you see me dancing on the tabletops in a neighborhood near you!

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