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Being a mean girl is setting the wrong example for my kids

Nikki Leonard

I am about to be brutally honest about something I absolutely do not like owning up to.

I am a mean person.

It’s not something I ever wanted to be, and certainly never strived to be mean, but I am. I am a mean girl.

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The day I first really came to recognize that my spirit wasn’t just daisies and butterflies was about two weeks into cosmetology school. My classmates and I were walking down the hall of our little community college like we owned the place because we were majoring in a field that would place us on a more sophisticated level than the others who attended. We really thought that actually mattered. We talked amongst ourselves about the lowly art majors and restaurant management course attendees who were dressed for class and not to impress us cosmo girls. And we sat and talked about people for our entire lunch break as if our opinions mattered. And just as we were preparing to clock back in for class, one of the girls said something that has always stuck with me: “Wow, when did I become so mean?” She walked off not realizing what she had said had opened my eyes and shown me that I was a fellow mean girl.

How could this happen? How could sweet little me who always tried to please everyone actually be this horrible person who talks about people in such a mean spirit? I was pretty bummed out for the rest of the day. But I was younger then and things like that left minimal impressions at the time, so I was quick to rejoin my clique of fellow mean ones.

Looking back I can see so many instances when I could have simply not said anything at all and still kept friends without being mean. I didn’t have to join in the talking and pointing out other people’s flaws (or what we deemed as flaws), but I did. I was mean. And I am sad to say that I still am.

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But now that I have kids and have to be responsible, I have to really start working to be a better version of myself. The truth is, I think it’s so easy to be mean, to laugh and point – especially in the safety of a group of friends. But why? Why couldn’t we just talk about positive things that would make us happy, and not at the expense of someone else? Even though the targets of our lunch break conversations never knew who we were or what we said, it was still awful. We were still wrong. And every time I join in a conversation about anyone in a non-positive way, I’m allowing my mean spirit to grow just a little stronger. And I don’t want that! I want to be kind and loving person! I want my kids to see me as a role model for a sweet spirit, and to encourage them to only be good and kind people themselves.

If it hadn’t been for my classmate’s realization that she had become a mean person, I may never have recognized what a problem I was creating for myself. I don’t think anyone really wants to be a wretched person. But if we don’t see ourselves for what we are becoming, then how can we ever expect to do better? I want to be better. I don’t want to be a mean girl anymore. And that means not allowing myself to “vent” about people to other people. That means not talking about other’s shortcomings because what right do I have to do that? I’m resolving to be the best version of myself that I can be. And the person I want to be is not mean!

Originally published on BlogHer

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