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

Girly Thoughts at Age 3

Patricia O’Gorman, PhD
@drogorman
facebook
www.patriciaogorman.com

Sometimes we need a study to prove something we have known for a very long time—that we have been feeling bad about ourselves for as long as we can remember.

Read It and Weep

In an article originally published in Eating Disorders: The Journal of Treatment & Prevention and blogged about by the British Psychological Association, researchers found that beginning as early as age three—before we even learn to read—we begin to understand that thin is good, thereby setting a standard for acceptability that proves to be damaging for a growing girl.

Why I Developed the Term Girly Thoughts

As a psychologist who works with women, I’ve seen a need to make the impact of these societal standards on women easier to identify and grasp. As I wrote in my book, The Girly Thoughts 10-Day Detox Plan,

Your burgeoning girly thoughts were unconscious, and they’ve remained that way for the most part—until now. Your girly thoughts formed over time and through numerous sources of input, and they are reinforced every day through your family of origin, intimate relationships, friendships, business and professional influences, family pressures, and, most especially, media.

By putting a label on this negative, internal talk, you have a handle on the price you are paying by trying to live up to these impossible images of perfection.

Your Girly Thoughts Cause You Further Grief

It is also vital to realize the ways you internalize these messages into a toxic self-talk. Here are just a couple of ways you may be dramatically affected by your girly thoughts:

Depression

So many women experience depression. While hormonal changes, working a day job and coming home to what is essentially a second shift in the home can describe some of why women take their anger out on themselves, those don’t explain all of it. A missing piece to this puzzle is how society makes us feel so inadequate for not having the perfect body, beginning at age three!

Overeating + Overdrinking

Because the messages we receive are so toxic, women often self-medicate with food. Have you ever thought, It’s been a really hard day, and I’m overweight anyway, so why not have dessert? Has that glass of wine while you’re cooking dinner ever become most of the bottle? These attitudes can eventually lead to other problems such as weight gain and addiction, to name a few.

What You Can Do:

  • Stop thinking it’s just you. After a luncheon address I gave, a corporate executive told me, “I used to think it was just me. Now I’m not sure whether to be happy or sad to realize it’s all of us.”
  • Have fun naming and identifying girly thoughts during your next Girl’s Night Out. That will really help drive home the point that it is not just you.
  • Read The Girly Thoughts 10-Day Detox Plan: The Resilient Woman’s Guide to Saying NO to Negative Self-Talk and YES to Personal Power in your book club, and Skype me in for a fun discussion.
  • Speak to the young girls in your family about the assumptions they are making about their body shapes and sizes, and help them learn that their self-worth should not be based on their looks.

Join Me—Next Stops:

  • Grand Island, NE: April 30: I’ll be giving a workshop on “Trauma” from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and a speech over dinner titled “Girly Thoughts” from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m.
  • New York City, NY: May 17, 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. “The Big Apple: Leadership and Girly Thoughts.”
  • Worchester, MA: June 11, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. “Girly Thoughts and Addiction”
  • Lake Placid, NY: July 11, 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Book signing at Bookstore Plus

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

Coming to Grand Island with NO Girly Thoughts

Patricia O’Gorman, PhD
@drogorman
facebook
www.patriciaogorman.com

Have you ever gotten something really wrong? Have you ever based your conclusions on little fact and many feelings, and as a result you painted a truly erroneous picture for yourself of what you were dealing with?

I know I have, and recently.

My latest error didn’t begin with misunderstanding a Facebook post, or by reading too much into a quizzical look from a neighbor. No, it began with an invitation to speak to a group on the subjects of trauma and addiction, and to do an evening presentation for women on girly thoughts.

How did I feel? This invitation made me happy! So far so good—but I had never heard of the location: Grand Island, Nebraska . . . and this is where I made a mistake. I did what many of us do: I filled in my lack of information with my fantasies.

Using Fantasies Instead of Reality

And such fun fantasies I had. The “island” in the name conjured images for me of the Caribbean, or Nantucket, beautiful islands in the sea. But I knew there was no sea in the middle of our country (at least I got that right). I thought maybe there is a lake with a small island in it. Yes, in this small town, there is a lake with a little island in it. I thought, How sweet. I pictured the people of this prairie community as so optimistic for wanting an island, for naming their town not just any ole’ island name, but Grand Island.

I was so wrong. Not only is Grand Island not a quaint small town, but it is a major metropolitan area— in fact, it’s the third-largest city in the state! And it is on an island in a very large river!

But my whole inner process began my process of thinking about how easy it is to jump to conclusions about so many things, from geography to our girly thoughts.

Girly Thoughts = Major Wrong Assumptions

Years ago, I heard the expression, When you assume, you make an ass out of u and me; making assumptions is easy to do, yet so harmful. So don’t do this with your girly thoughts. Instead:

  • call them out for what they are—a toxic self-talk.
  • jot down which girly thoughts keep coming to mind so you can figure out how to target these girly thoughts in particular.
  • help your friends identify their girly thoughts.

Coming to Grand Island to Speak About Girly Thoughts, and Trauma + Addiction

Yes, I’ll be in Grand Island on April 30, and hope you can join me. For more information, visit my website: www.patriciaogorman.com.

Next stops:

  • Grand Island, NE: April 30, I’ll be giving a workshop on “Trauma” from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and a speech over dinner titled “Girly Thoughts” from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m.
  • New York City, NY: May 17, 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. “The Big Apple: Leadership and Girly Thoughts.”
  • Worchester, MA: June 11, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. “Girly Thoughts and Addiction”
  • Lake Placid, NY: July 11, 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Book signing at Bookstore Plus

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

55 Days Without Water, and Still No Girly Thoughts

Patricia O’Gorman, PhD
@drogorman
www.patriciaogorman.com

I am sitting in the living room of a friend who is playing the piano, looking out on the snowy April landscape. She is relaxed; her home is immaculate, which wouldn’t be a cause for surprise except for the fact that she is on day 55 without water. Yes, without water.

In this mountainous region where I have recently moved, we have had a very severe winter. In past years, a terrible winter may have been described by how many feet of snow we had, how low the temperatures were and for how long; how many actual blizzards were endured. This year, a new dimension was added to the descriptors of how severe the winter is—how many homes were without water. So far, 90 homes in a town of only 5,300 people.

For those of us raised on the need to wash our hair daily, use a towel only once, and go through several daily clothing changes, this would seem like torture.
Rethinking How You Live

How has my friend survived this? She has rethought how she needs to live, and she’s adapted, much as I have been suggesting you do with your girly thoughts, that toxic self-talk that deprives you of energy, focus, and self-worth.

Instead of being ruled by societal standards of how things should be, of how she should be, she has redefined all sorts of social standards, everything from asking friends to use the restroom before they come to her home to wearing clothes more than once, from making weekly trips to the laundromat (a necessity as she cannot use her washer) to taking sponge baths made from heated bottled water instead of the luxurious daily shower she previously enjoyed.
Try an Adventure: No girly thoughts

How is she faring? She feels free, cut loose from constraints she wasn’t even aware she was laboring under. She’s having an adventure. She is having fun!

And she has stopped worrying about her girly thoughts, like:

  • needing the right paper products for everyday use since she can’t wash dishes—instead, she has a dinner party and enjoys the company of friends.
  • worrying if she looks “fat” in her jeans—instead, she’s happy just to have clean clothes.
  • keeping her husband happy and stress free—instead, she realizes he’s in this with her.

And she has found gifts in some unlikely places:

  • many friends have offered their homes to her for bathing and laundry.
  • the generosity of the heating company that brings daily water to feed her furnace and leaves some extra water to use to flush her toilets.
  • her own skill in narrowing down where the frozen pipes might be.

If living without running water can do that for her, imagine what stopping your daily self-sabotage with your girly thoughts can do for you!

Try this for one day, and let me know how this goes for you.
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

Sexual Politics in a Brief Encounter…NO Girly Thoughts Allowed

Patricia O’Gorman, PhD

@drogorman

facebook.com/drpatriciaogorman

www.patriciaogorman.com

Sexual politics run deep in our responses, even in casual meetings. We act like dutiful little girls in our responses, and in an almost instinctive reaction, we do to ourselves what society has taught us to do. This reaction, which I’ve named girly thoughts, is one I fight against, and I’ve coined the term and literally written the book!

I was in a restaurant yesterday in the small town where I live when a man entered and approached me. He smiled and said, “I saw your profile in Strictly Business,” pause, “ and it was good.”

I stood so at least he wouldn’t be looking down at me, but then I almost did that girly thing—you know, the shrug, the modest “Oh, it was nothing,” statement accompanied by a smile and a giggle. Doing so would have taken away his compliment and my power. Instead, I did something that is still uncomfortable for me but is a much more honest reflection of how I feel: I looked at him directly, smiled, and thanked him.

The Subtle Dance

My reaction to his compliment seemed to surprise him. He quickly told me he had been profiled in the same magazine. That was nice to know, but that isn’t why he shared the information; he wanted me to know I didn’t have anything up on him. Then he felt it necessary to state that of course his wife had been profiled in the women’s edition.

Keeping in mind the subtle dance of societal expectations that is part of so many of our daily encounters, I decided his message here was not terribly subtle. He is a businessman, but his wife and I only qualify for special treatment in the women’s edition. I almost laughed.

Don’t Let Your Girly Thoughts Stop You from Receiving a Compliment

Is he a bad guy? No. He’s a community leader, an active volunteer, someone who I may even work with on a community need we began discussing. But he is a male schooled in seeing women a certain way, and I somewhat unbalanced him by not playing along.

I found not only his reaction striking but also my strong tug to do this dance with him. What should you do when you next encounter this type of subtle sexism that feeds your girly thoughts? In the words of that old song: Don’t Dance.

So what should women do when we are presented with a compliment?

  • Accept it, don’t talk it away.
  • Stand up straighter; you’ve just been seen.
  • Let sink in, and use it to empower you to do more great things.

When you’re stressed from going through a day filled with this type of tension, don’t anesthetize yourself with that beer or glass of wine, but instead, figure out the best way to fight your girly thoughts.

If you’d like to see my profile that caused such a stir, visit Strictly Business (http://www.sbmonthly.com/pubs/#22), and watch for future blogs on the impact of being  a ‘cover girl’, this time for professional reasons.

Next stops:

  • TONIGHT: SUNY Potsdam, Potsdam, NY, April 16, 7-8:30 p.m., I’ll be speaking about: Freeing Yourself From Your Girly Thoughts in the Fireside Lounge, Barrington Student Union
  • Schenectady, NY, The Electric City: April 18, 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Book signing at The Open Door Bookstore.
  • Grand Island, NE: April 30: I’ll be giving a workshop on “Trauma” from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and a speech over dinner titled “Girly Thoughts from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m.
  • New York City, NY: May 17, 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. “The Big Apple: Leadership and Girly Thoughts.
  • Worchester, MA: June 11, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. “Girly Thoughts and Addiction”
  • Lake Placid, NY: July 11, 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Book signing at Bookstore Plus

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

What Turns You On? (Hint—It’s Not Your Girly Thoughts)

Patricia O’Gorman, PhD

@drogorman

facebook.com/drpatriciaogorman

www.patriciaogorman.com

Many things probably turn you on, as they should. One thing that really turns me on is going to the Electric City. For those of you who do not know the lore of upstate New York, this city is also called Schenectady, and it’s the home of GE, aka General Electric.

It is also a place I fell in love with when I first left New York City. I almost moved there after having found the perfect home across the street from the Mohawk River in the famous Stockade section of Schenectady.

The Electric City’s Ups and Downs

Schenectady has seen its share of up and downs, like many cities—and like many of us. There was the glory of the city in its youth, much like it was in our own, its downturn in middle age as it gained weight and didn’t take care of itself . . . sound familiar?

But Schenectady is rediscovering its power as it matures, due in part to the arts. And like this great city, many of you in school, and many baby boomers, too, are discovering your power by moving beyond the box you feel you are in.

What Keeps Us in that Box?

We all get stuck. We all feel that if something worked once, it will work again. This may be true for cities, and it is certainly true for women who believe the answer to not being good enough is trying harder to do all the things they feel they couldn’t master in the first place.

Now many things may constrain us, but one in particular—girly thoughts, the name I’ve given to how we internalize those negative societal messages and use them to disempower ourselves—will be the focus of my next talk.

Breaking Out of Your Box and Anchoring in Your Creative Self

A city’s rebirth through the arts is a metaphor here. For Schenectady, this involved investing in venues like Proctor’s, a major performance art space in this upstate New York city and in supporting smaller venues like the Open Door Bookstore (don’t you just love the name?).

Join Me!

I will signing books at the Open Door on Saturday, April 18 from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. And I will be joined by fellow author and friend Jane Collen, an intellectual property lawyer who writes children’s books.

We feel we represent the best mother-daughter gift available: our books help young girls see their power and help older girls and mothers not fall prey to internalizing and believing those nasty societal messages concerning how women should look and act that I’ve named girly thoughts.

Honoring Your Roots

The name Schenectady comes from Mohawk roots and means beyond the pines. And if a city like Schenectady can see its fair share of challenges and keep its tongue-twisting name, maybe there’s a message for all of us about staying close to our roots and feeling pride in how we see ourselves.

I hope you’ll join me for this fun event in Schenectady, New York, on Saturday, April 18.

Next stops:

  • Grand Island, NE: April 30: I’ll be giving a workshop on “Trauma” from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and a speech over dinner titled “Girly Thoughts from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m.
  • New York City, NY: May 17, 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. “The Big Apple: Leadership and Girly Thoughts.
  • Worchester, MA: June 11, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. “Girly Thoughts and Addiction.”
  • Lake Placid, NY: July 11, 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Book signing at Bookstore Plus.

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

If Students in Potsdam Can Learn About Girly Thoughts, Why Not You?

Patricia O’Gorman, PhD

@drogorman

I’m so excited . . . I’ve been invited to speak at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Potsdam on April 16.

I’ll be addressing a group of students from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. in the Fireside Lounge of the Barrington Student Union about hitting gender issues head on. I was invited by the SUNY chapter of Student Activists for Gender Equality—SAGE—a national organization devoted to advocacy of women’s and gender issues.

What will I be speaking to them, and maybe to you, about? Girly thoughts—how we as women internalize these messages of how we should look and act. I’ll share the very real truth that women use these messages from outside as a yardstick in assessing our own acceptability, and as a result we increase our stress and deplete our personal resources.

Why Call This Girly Thoughts?

I’m a psychologist in New York state. I’ve spent a great deal of time figuring out what is in a person’s mind, and I know that naming something is one way to take away its power. That is why I developed the concept of girly thoughts: by giving a name to this thing we do to ourselves, we can externalize it and realize the thoughts are not who we are but what we are thinking . . . and then we can stop thinking them.

Girly Thoughts Are Expensive

Having two thoughts at the same time is difficult and costly. When you are obsessing about your hair, or that nasty post about your rear on Facebook (yes, we do this to each other, not just to ourselves), you are misdirecting your energy—energy that could be spent on achieving your personal goals. Girly thoughts cost you when you’re focused on all the ways you aren’t good enough because you don’t have the energy to focus on being your best self.

Girly Thoughts—The Grand Misdirection

Those of you who watch the news, read spy thrillers, or watch mysteries are familiar with the concept of misdirection. It is intentionally leading you away from this so you won’t discover it. Our girly thoughts function in much the same way. They keep us focused on our hair, our dress, how we speak, and so on through misdirecting us—but from what?

From our power.

Being a Good Little Girl Instead of a Powerful Woman

If women are really 51 percent of our population, then why are women only about 6 percent of our elected officials? Why is there a multibillion-dollar industry focused on dieting and make-up that is all directed at women? Why does the fashion industry work so hard to make us feel we are somehow defective if we are not sporting the latest spring colors? Am I saying this is a conspiracy? No . . . but developing what I’ve named girly thoughts is a natural outcome when we are constantly bombarded by these demeaning messages.

These examples are all part of a grand misdirection to keep you focused on trying to be good little girl, on being acceptable, so you don’t have the focus, energy, or group support to organize what you need to really be successful.

Competing with Other Women

You may be surprised to hear me say women don’t see other women as natural allies. This is true—we are so competitive with other women that we don’t group together and organize to get what we need to be successful. Regardless our personal political views, every woman needs good female reproductive health care, a higher minimum wage, predictable, quality child care . . . You get it!

Girly Thoughts Are a Choice

Why are students concerned? Because this is their life, their world, and they want to be active players in it. They want to make their own decisions; they want to have every opportunity in life and not be limited by the shoulds embodied in their girly thoughts. And if they can explore this, maybe you can as well.

Next stops:

  • Schenectady, NY, The Electric City: April 18, 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Book signing at The Open Door Bookstore.
  • Grand Island, NE: April 30: I’ll be giving a workshop on “Trauma” from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and a speech over dinner titled “Girly Thoughts from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m.
  • New York City, NY: May 17, 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. “The Big Apple: Leadership and Girly Thoughts.
  • Worchester, MA: June 11, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. “Girly Thoughts and Addiction”
  • Lake Placid, NY: July 11, 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Book signing at Bookstore Plus

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

Front Page News and No Girly Thoughts

by

Patricia O’Gorman, PhD

@drogorman

Have you ever been on the front page of your local newspaper? I don’t mean as a cute baby in the Easter Parade, or for having committed some terrible crime, or for being awarded a prestigious prize, but as an adult, and just because you were happy?

I was, and here’s the proof:

patricia o'gorman - maple syrup

Weird, huh?

A Dream Fulfilled

Well, that was me a week ago. It all began so innocently, while I was on a mission to fulfill one of my fantasies. Now, we all have dreams, but for me (and perhaps for you), that’s what many of them have stayed: dreams. But then . . .

A Sweet Experience

As I was chatting on the street during what passes for spring in the Adirondacks, a snow shower—yes, it snows with the sun peaking out periodically, and we all get giddy because, well, there’s some sun—I mentioned to a friend that I would love to be in a maple syrup tasting. For those of you who don’t know, I have a massive sweet tooth. And I love to cook. I have long thought that different maple syrups have different tastes, but I’ve never put in the energy to line up a couple and, well, sip.

That’s when my friend told me of a tasting at the Lake Placid Conference Center the next day.

Caught on Camera

I happily entered the great hall and made a beeline for the maple syrup tasting, smiling politely to the food vendors as I almost jogged to my goal. I was a woman on a mission.

Once there, I found eight different syrups, all portioned in one-teaspoon servings, all for the tasting, and we could even vote for the one we liked the best.

It was so exciting. I was surprised by the taste of almond in one, a deep caramel aftertaste in another, more bitterness in a third, and too much sweetness in a fourth. Since I had to cast my vote, I took this very seriously, savoring each encounter, all with a huge smile on my face.

Along came a reporter and began asking if he could take pictures of me and my fellow tasters. We all agreed.

But Wait—Am I Ready for This?

Suddenly, a girly thought popped into my mind. Yes, like you, I have internalized these corporate images of beauty into a swirly negative self-talk. I thought:

  • I’m not wearing any makeup.
  • I’m wearing my glasses.
  • I’m warm because I haven’t taken off my coat; is my face sweaty?
  • Oh, my hair! What does my hair look like?

Don’t Let Girly Thoughts Ruin a Good Moment

But I didn’t care. I was so happy, and probably at this point on a slight sugar high, that I just beamed, as you can see. Being so tuned in to how ridiculous and delightful this whole experience was allowed me to tell my girly thoughts to take a hike!

Let’s start a conversation. Share your story of how your joy allowed you to overcome your girly thoughts.

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

A Season of Miracles and Second Chances

by

Patricia O’Gorman, PhD

@drogorman

“I believe in pink. I believe happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day, and … I believe in miracles.”

—Audrey Hepburn

I have always loved this time of year. As someone who has had her own share of life’s unfairness, I marvel that in early spring we celebrate what we hope and pray for in our own lives: miracles.

This Time of Year Is Full of Promise

Yes, this is the season of miracles. How else can you categorize the wonder of someone dying and then rising from the dead as we do on Easter, celebrated this Sunday? Or of a people being saved, as commemorated this Friday with the beginning of the one-week celebration of Passover. These important religious holidays celebrate hope and promise.

Recognize Your Resilience

Certainly, with these examples of the triumph of life over adversity in history, you can allow yourself to remember and celebrate your own personal resilience. How you have survived—perhaps even triumphed over—some over-whelming odds?

How many of you have had a:

  • painful childhood filled with violence?
  • divorce?
  • job loss?
  • terrifying challenge with your own children?

We have all experienced some of these events, plus many more. Well, you got through this somehow. I know I did. But how?

Take a moment to list a couple of the skills you developed under extreme stress. These skills are your resiliencies.

Do these skills include your:

  • determination?
  • focus?
  • sense of humor?

These are some of mine, and I bet they are some of yours, too.

Create Your Own Miracle—For YOU 

With all this positive energy around you, and with an understanding of your own resilience, why not use it to create your own miracle?

Let’s test what happens if you actively challenge one girly thought!

Take a moment to consider one way you:

  • beat yourself down during the day.
  • misdirect your energy.
  • leave yourself feeling less than.
  • sabotage your own resilience through negative thinking.

Now take that single, toxic girly thought and turn it around into a positive statement that celebrates your resilience. Make that hopeful statement your new mantra, and see how a small change in attitude can make a big change in your life.

In this season of miracles, you can make one happen for you! Try this out and let me know what you find.

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

Giving Up SEX for Lent

By
Patricia O’Gorman, PhD
@drogorman

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
@drogorman


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