When I first heard the phrase ‘Big Girl Panties,’ I was talking with a colleague about how anxious she became when she had to deal with a situation she preferred to avoid. I was surprised at the level of her anxiety because she was usually very calm whenever I saw her. As we were winding up our coffee, she said to me, “Well, I have to get ready to leave. I guess I should put on my ‘Big Girl Panties’ so I can be ready!”
Needless to say, I had NO idea what she meant by ‘Big Girl Panties.’ But, I came to understand that it’s essentially the female version of ‘man up.’ This was an interesting notion to me, ‘Big Girl Panties.’ Then I started wondering if I had any big girl panties. I thought I did. I mean, I’m pretty tough, right? I’ve survived four kids, an ‘icky’ divorce, competitively spar in taekwondo and have avoided charges for aggravated battery – so far. Besides, as a psychotherapist and consultant, people call on me to help them deal with tough issues.
Then I started to think (I know, jokes aplenty) about my colleague and wondered if I am being honest about how tough I really am. Do I put on my ‘Big Girl Panties’ to deal with my deep, internal conflicts with myself and others or do I just pretend like I do?
This bothered me very much. Am I lying to myself? Am I lacking self-awareness? For several months, this bothered me. Then something interesting happened, I started becoming very annoyed with everyone and it lasted for about a month. Everything rubbed me the wrong way. Then it hit me – I was afraid.
Big girl panties; I wore clean pair every day. I was strong alright, strong for everyone else except myself. I could advocate and move mountains for others but did not believe in myself enough to fight for what I needed. This included everything from enforcing my divorce settlement and parenting agreement to telling people “No.” Geez, how sad is that?
Once I realized I wore my big girl panties for everyone except myself, I decided to do something about it. I have to tell ya, I was SCARRRREEEDD. At first I thought it would be easy then quickly realized it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I did a lot of self-talk and reminded myself that I already knew what to do, it was just a matter of doing it. I am proud to announce that after a lot of hard work on taking responsibility for my choices, I now wear my big girl panties for myself and others!
Do you wear big girl panties? If so, when and how do you get ready to put them on? If you do not wear your big girl panties, how come? DO TELL!