E: p.ogorman.ph.d@gmail.com | T: 518.891.5601

Giving Up SEX for Lent

Patricia O’Gorman, PhD

I was in my local health food store when I saw a neighbor and we began chatting.  When asked what I was up to I told her of my recent blog on giving up a girly thought for lent—you remember the one where I suggested you give up one girly thought for lent, yes just one, even if you’re not observant, even if you’re not Christian, all with the understanding that you can return to this form of self-sabotage after Easter if you still want to do this to yourself (http://shar.es/1gX00k).

She began laughing and told me of a story of a younger cousin with a wicked sense of humor.  We’ll call her Colleen.  When she was asked what she was giving up for lent by her Episcopal priest, she said SEX.  He evidently turned pale and began shaking.  Colleen was only 14 and lived in boarding school in a rural part of Canada.  She was quickly isolated from the other girls, questioned repeatedly—they needed to know who the boy was—and then not believed when she said she was just kidding.  By the way, she has become a successful comedy writer – noted for her sense of humor and her timing.

No Kidding 

It’s still not too late for you. Just try stopping one of those girly thoughts that tell you:

  • You’re too smart
  • Too fat
  • Too aggressive, or
  • It’s all your fault that….

Think of it just like a science experiment you did in high school.  You do something and see what happens.  You can do this within yourself—stop thinking one girly thought  and see what happens when you make space in you by stopping one particular way you are distracting yourself, beating yourself up, keeping yourself down – yes stopping just one girly thought can make a big difference in how you feel about yourself, and how much energy you have to do what it is you’d like to accomplish.

Try it and let me know…

You’ll find more ideas for getting rid of your negative self-talk in my latest book, The Girly Thoughts 10-Day Detox Plan: The Resilient Woman’s Guide to Saying NO to Negative Self-Talk and YES to Personal Power

Monica Lewinsky, and You, and Me 4 Ways You Can Correct Your Story

Patricia O’Gorman, PhD

If you don’t know yet, Monica Lewinsky has gone public with a Ted Talk. It is well worth seeing because she does what I’ve been inviting you to do:

Stop listening to your girly thoughts –
that toxic inner dialogue that blames YOU
for anything that goes wrong in your life.

Monica’s Courage

She talks about being young and in love, and not making the greatest decisions at age 22. She is tired of being vilified. She is claiming her power to tell her story, something I want to encourage you to do as well, as I share one of my own.

Your Story

Which one of us hasn’t wished we’d made a different decision at some time in our lives? A decision that, if circumstances had been different, if you knew then what you know now, if you were the person then you are now, you would take back in a heartbeat.

One of My Own

I know I have. In a time before sexual harassment at work was a concept, when I was a young mother living in a rural community with few jobs, I too lived through a time when I was held up to public rebuke. I had a high position in a very politically divisive work environment, in which I was blamed for virtually everything that happened, including all those areas over which I had no control. I was a psychologist, an author. I had run a division of the federal government, for goodness sake. I was hired as a star, and surely stars have special powers, don’t they?

I had one ally, a man who had more real power than I did. He was supportive, a great tactician . . . and very attracted to me. Yes, he was very helpful, but he wanted more in return than I was willing to give. When I’d confront him, he’d say: “You’re just so luscious, I can’t control myself.”

So I was the problem. What could I do? I wore more layers of clothing, no makeup, but I was who I was, and I felt I was in a no-win situation.

Making Peace with Your Story

That was the dance we did. Yes, I was dependent on him; I tried to maximize his positives to save my job, as I ran—literally—from another of his qualities.

Was this the first time I did this dance, this bonding with an abuser?

No. For some of us from troubled childhoods, this is a life script learned early and repeated often. We learn to depend on those who extract a very high price for us needing them. The good news is that we can change this dynamic by consciously acknowledging what we are doing, how we are feeling, and embracing our strengths; more about this in a later blog.

Making Peace with Those Who Judge Us

By now, some of you reading this will be judging me, thinking surely I had other options than to endure this. But others of you have been in similar situations, situations you felt you needed to endure, and you know that sometimes we just don’t see the options.

We are all Monicas in some way. We’ve all made decisions we later regret. And we can all do what she is doing: we can know and share our real story.

Beginning today, the important thing is to stop blaming yourself.

Yes, stop those girly thoughts that hold you, instead of the other person, responsible. For me, this involved finally sharing the situation with my husband, letting him know what had happened and giving myself a break by reassuring myself that I did the best I could.

I’m not victim. I have power.

4 Ways to Correct Your Story

How to do this?

  • Acknowledge how you have been seen, blamed, and misunderstood, which was not true, and understand how you blamed yourself for something that wasn’t your fault.
  • Claim your truth.
  • Decide if you want to share it, and how—merely by acknowledging some truths, you set yourself free, but others you may want to consider how to share.
  • Notice and embrace how stating your truth makes you feel.

And let me know how this feels.

We are not victims. We have power.

Let’s stop blaming ourselves! Let’s correct our stories.

You’ll find more ideas for getting rid of your negative self-talk in my latest book, The Girly Thoughts 10-Day Detox Plan: The Resilient Woman’s Guide to Saying NO to Negative Self-Talk and YES to Personal Power

Girly Thoughts and Lent


Patricia O’Gorman, PhD


“Lent comes providentially to reawaken us, to shake us from our lethargy.”

- Pope Francis

Whether you are Christian or not, devout or not, you are probably aware that we have entered Lent, a season of spiritual growth and self-examination, which often includes fasting and a tradition of giving something up (even though this is pretty short-lived for some of us).

Your Girly Thoughts . . . and Lent?

Pope Francis speaks about Lent as an opportunity to not have life as usual, to awaken from our lethargy that says we cannot change. We can consider expanding that reawakening to include not having our usual thinking about ourselves.

So, how do you usually think about yourself? Of course you have many positive thoughts about yourself. And they’re great. But there are also those other thoughts, less than positive, that I’ve named girly thoughts. Lent can be a great time to give up that toxic way of thinking.

How About Giving Up a Girly Thought or Two . . . Just for Lent?

Yes, during this time of self-reflection, consider changing your thinking, especially your girly thoughts, like I’m fat, or I have to make nice at work. You could decide to totally give up a girly thought, or if that seems too difficult, you could choose one girly thought and refuse to think it for just a limited period of time, like for the Lenten season.

So, instead of giving up a specific girly thought forever, you could:

  • give it up for now,
  • see how this feels, and
  • if you miss it so very much, you can come back to it later and start beating yourself up with this girly thought all over again.

The Payoff

Consider this time-limited practice as a kind of an experiment that not only helps you direct your thinking into more positive directions, but also can have an ongoing payoff:

You begin to feel better about yourself as you stop finding fault with yourself, and you start to appreciate your very special qualities, particularly those that are not in the mainstream, like your wacky sense of humor, your long red hair, your ability to dance and move unlike your friends.

How to begin? Yes, you can reflect on your thinking and change what you say to you about you! This is, after all, what this season of reflection is all about, a time of quiet to prepare for greatness.

For now, every time you slip up and find yourself thinking your specific girly thought, let it be a reminder that you do not need to continue to do to yourself what society does to you! You can begin to step into your power, your personal greatness.

I invite you to take a moment and watch my video blog where I talk to you about your girly thoughts and Lent.

You’ll find more ideas for getting rid of your negative self-talk in my latest book, The Girly Thoughts 10-Day Detox Plan: The Resilient Woman’s Guide to Saying NO to Negative Self-Talk and YES to Personal Power

The Crying Game: Where Your Anger, Not Your Girly Thoughts, Can Be Your Friend

There is something you have that the world needs . . .

the girly thoughts 10-day detox the resilient woman's guide to saying no to negative self-talk and yes to personal power - patricia o'gorman

So often we feel it is not good to be angry—particularly at work, where we’ll be seen and judged. We fear our anger is unbecoming, and that if we let ourselves get angry, we won’t be liked, that we’ll be labeled the dreaded B-word. Instead, we tell ourselves we should be pleasing, approachable, not threatening, and accommodating to all of the nonsense.

To make sure you are acting the way you should, you watch the reaction of others to gauge if what you’re doing is acceptable (and God forbid you aren’t acceptable). You adjust your voice, maybe making it sound less threatening and younger; you watch your posture and the way you walk.

In short, at work and in other parts of your life, you put those hard-to-put-a-finger-on society forces that I’ve dubbed girly Thoughts in charge of your career—a terrible idea that I discuss in The Girly Thoughts 10 Day Detox Plan.

Don’t Get Angry and Cry; Instead, Get Smart

When you are afraid of being angry, a terrible inner tension is created, and you become frustrated. As a result, especially in important meetings when you feel your anger beginning, you also feel your tears welling.

But instead of trying to figure out if you should cry at work or not, perhaps the better question is: Why is crying the first feeling up when you are angry? It is fear of crying that many women cite as a reason not to speak up, because crying at work would make them be seen as weak, as lacking leadership qualities, as undependable.

Not only does crying at work feel risky, but it has an awful side benefit, too: crying keeps you in the role of needing to be rescued, yes, even at work, while your anger, well, that will have others look at you as a B…—and your girly thoughts do say that is even worst.

So what to do? Be smart:

  • Realize your girly thoughts are keeping you silent at work. Identify this is what is going on. Name this toxic inner dialogue.
  • Act on that New Year’s Resolution to give yourself a voice at work.
  • Rehearse those scenarios that make you want to cry and see how you can frame your points so you are clear, even powerful. Yes, that will mean telling those girly thoughts to get lost, but you can replace them with a focus on your strengths, on your resilience, even, that can support you in public situations at work.
  • Run these ideas by a friend, but not necessarily one you work with; more about this in a later blog.
  • Get support from an outside mentor who can help you navigate the pitfalls specific to your job.
  • Remember, the world needs you to make that contribution, and to do so you need to let the world know what your contribution is.


Practice makes perfect, and at work you are likely to get a great deal of practice in identifying those girly thoughts that bring on your tears.

You’ll find more ideas for getting rid of your negative self-talk in my book, The Girly Thoughts 10-Day Detox Plan: The Resilient Woman’s Guide to Saying NO to Negative Self-Talk and YES to Personal Power

Let me know how you deal with wanting to cry at work.

#GirlyThoughts in the News – Chicago Tribune – 2/2015


A Valentine’s Day Detox

Patricia O’Gorman, PhD

He loves me, he loves me not?
The bigger question is: Why do I care so much?

Well the BIG Day—Valentine’s Day—has come and gone. This day of tension, caused by the painful and anxious feelings produced by your girly thoughts telling you that your lovability is going to be demonstrated by what your partner does or doesn’t do, is over for this year. A question to ask yourself, because you have total control over this one, is: Do you want to go through all this drama again next year?

If your answer is no, then this is a time of opportunity. Now, in the aftermath of Valentine’s Day, is your opportunity to learn about yourself, your needs, your wants, and how to take care of yourself. You know that Valentine’s Day was not a referendum on your:

  • worthiness
  • desirability
  • beauty

Do we need to add to this—thank God?

So . . . How Did You Do?
How would you describe your Valentine’s Day? Was it a painful day because you listened to those society-prescribed girly thoughts that resulted in you:

  • feeling defeated because you didn’t feel you had control?
  • feeling anxious?
  • holding your breath waiting for a text, email, call, gift?
  • feeling a tinge of your self-worth hanging in the balance?

Or instead, were you able to kick those girly thoughts aside and:

  • think self-loving thoughts?
  • appreciate your beauty?
  • smile instead of frown when you looked at your face?
  • make this day special for yourself?
  • laugh at all the hype?

And if you didn’t receive what you wanted, did you think, “It’s your loss, buddy”?

What Is Valentine’s Day, Anyway?
Valentine’s Day presents an opportunity to build resilience—that well of strength, of resources, of strategies that work within you—that helps you get through difficult times.

Looked at this way, Valentine’s Day can be a win/win. The day provides a window into your relationship with your partner. You learn about yourself and about building more resilience from the pressure and stress generated by this one day. It provides an opportunity to see if you have picked someone who can take care of your needs and your wants. It is also an opportunity to see how well you have done in communicating these same needs and wants to the one who loves you.

Please share your insights into Valentine’s Day with me by sending your comments through my website: www.patriciaogorman.com.

Since we’re talking about pain, look for a blog soon on Crying At Work . . .

You’ll find more ideas for getting rid of your negative self-talk in my book The Girly Thoughts 10-Day Detox Plan: The Resilient Woman’s Guide to Saying NO to Negative Self-Talk and YES to Personal Power

Free LIVE Webinar on Your girly thoughts: Wednesday 2.18.15 from 1:30- 2:30 ET

Free LIVE Webinar on Your girly thoughts – REGISTER HERE!

This Wednesday, 2.18.15   1:30-2:30 ET


Dr. Patricia O’Gorman

Author of

The girly thoughts 10 Day Detox Plan


Sa’na Rasul, PHR,

President and Founder of HRgirlfriends

Benefits of attending: 

  • Understand how you are doing to you, what society is doing to you – they’re your girly thoughts
  • Take a quick quiz to see how many parts of your life are influenced by your girly thoughts
  • Ask your questions

In this live, interactive, webinar

When:            Wednesday 2.18.15 from 1:30- 2:30 ET

 How to join? Register now @ http://www.hrgirlfriends.com/events-2


CT Style – Book Lover’s Corner – 2/11/15

4 Ways to Tune Out Your Girly Thoughts on Valentine’s Day


Patricia O’Gorman, PhD


Author of:

The Girly Thoughts 10-Day Detox Plan: The Resilient Woman’s Guide to Saying NO to Negative Self-Talk and YES to Personal Power

The Resilient Woman: Mastering the 7 Steps to Personal Power

There is a crack in everything . . . that’s how the light gets in.

—Leonard Cohen

There is something about a holiday—and Valentine’s Day in particular—that makes us focus even more than usual on what we see as our faults. It must be the connection between our powerful, emotional needs for love and the cultural promise that the perfect love awaits us if—and this is a pretty big if—we achieve all the requirements that are contained in our girly thoughts.  

Feeling Defective Is a Conditioned Response to Your Girly Thoughts

You know, girly thoughts, our society’s decisions about how you should look, how you should act, even how you should sound, with the promise that if you fulfill these requirements, jump through all these hoops, fit the current corporate image of beauty, then . . . maybe . . . your Prince Charming will magically materialize and you will have the perfect love you’ve been dreaming of.

Valentine’s Day: An Adult Fairy Tale

Valentine’s Day has become an adult fairy tale. We have the key players—you, the lovely young, innocent woman, and your man, your Prince Charming, who is capable of transporting you to another land where your true worth will be recognized, and where you will no longer need to work your butt off.

Well, you no longer believe in Cinderella and her glass slipper, so why do you believe that if you are perfect, the perfect love awaits? This is a big fantasy, not reality.

Why Don’t You Just Say NO?

You can try to tune out these V-Day girly thoughts, but that’s a lot of work!

Because these messages are all around on Valentine’s Day—from the ubiquitous heart shapes to the lyrics we hear in songs to story lines on TV shows and in movies. They all say the same thing: if you are not receiving the love you want so much, it is your fault because you are:

  • too old
  • too young
  • too aggressive
  • too passive

In short, you are somehow lacking.   

Four Ways to Counter Those V-Day Girly Thoughts

Now is the time to stop blaming yourself for the lack of love in your life! Here are four ways you can:

  • Become aware of those messages around you that tell you that you need to earn love based on how close you come to meeting these crazy girly thoughts standards. Learn to identify them—and then say, “Oh yes, another message to make my girly thoughts even stronger.”
  • Laugh! Yes, laugh. Now, you could cry, but why bother? Laugh instead because spending even an ounce of energy on listening to those silly thoughts is ridiculous.
  • Become curious about your light. Yes, your light: What makes you glow? Let every girly thought that seeks to diminish you remind you instead of the best that is in you! Let each reminder of what is wrong with you, every message of a new hoop you need to jump through, be an invitation to think about what is remarkable about you. These messages have you thinking about yourself, so think about what makes you special!
  • Don’t be afraid of your cracks. Whether it’s a new wrinkle or a new roll, a hair that has decided to grow on your chin or a new zit, remember how you handle this crack is how you let your light out into the world.

This Valentine’s Day, enjoy every part of you. You’ll discover that the more you do this, the fewer girly thoughts you’ll be nursing and the more you will enjoy your Valentine’s Day—whatever direction it takes you!

You’ll find more ideas for getting rid of your negative self-talk in my book The Girly Thoughts 10-Day Detox Plan: The Resilient Woman’s Guide to Saying NO to Negative Self-Talk and YES to Personal Power.



Girly Thoughts in Metro.US – 2/11/2015

metro.us girly thoughts article