How I Overcame My Anxiety in Grand Island, Nebraska

@drogorman
www.patriciaogorman.com
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“If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.”
—Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

I was walking my dog this morning when a neighbor asked me where I’ve been. “I didn’t see you last week,” she offered.

“I was in Nebraska,” I proudly shared, “in the land of strong prairie women, speaking about not only trauma and addiction, but also about girly thoughts!”

When she learned I’d spoken to close to 175 people in each group, she was surprised and flustered, adding she could never speak in front of a group.

Interesting, I thought as I considered how I do address groups of all sizes.

If You’re Going to Dream, Dream Big!

“I let my passion for my topic help me get through any anxiety,” I shared. And as you know, I have plenty of passion about not only how you and I as women are unconsciously internalizing societal standards—which can be traumatic and drive us to drink—but also how you and I can fight these messages in our own toxic, inner dialogue that I’ve named girly thoughts.

To learn more about what I said in Grand Island, Nebraska, and about the reaction of both men and women in the audience, read the article that appeared in The Independent, and let me know what you think.

http://www.theindependent.com/news/local/strong-doesn-t-mean-unfeminine/article_33ae6efe-efb2-11e4-85f4-bfc0648557e8.html

Join Me—Next Stops:

  • 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

Girly Thoughts at Age 3

Patricia O’Gorman, PhD
@drogorman
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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

One Billion Rising….by Dancing?

By Patricia O’Gorman, PhD

Author of: The Resilient Woman: Mastering the 7 Steps to Personal Power (publication date 3/5/13)

Pre-order: Amazon / Barnes & Noble

One billion? and we’re not talking about the Sequestration, which is planning to cut one trillion anyway, or the population of the US that is only about 315 million.  No, we are speaking about a global effort involving more than three times the population of the US — we are speaking about women uniting around the world to end violence against women and girls, and doing this in a distinctly female way – by dancing, walking out, rising up, even giving voice to our concerns by demanding, that the violence, END.  By drawing attention to our concerns, by using the skills we have, and even perhaps having some fun in the process. Why? Because, right now, 1 in 3 women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime, about one billion women, and that number includes some of you reading this blog.

Sometimes when something is so very common is feels even normal.  We have what I call our girly thoughts to thank for this, those societally driven messages concerning how we are to blame for all the misfortune we experience, and we are often not even aware that we are listening to them.

Girly thoughts are not new, and we come by them honestly. After all in the Bible, isn’t there a prayer to God, thanking HIM, for not being born a woman?  This example, and many, many others have resulted in many women being seen as less-than and as a consequence, acceptable targets for needing to be controlled, and for the rage of men.  And due to their girly thoughts many women even believe it was their fault.

But this doesn’t stop women from being courageous—you know what that is—acting in the face of fear, courage is not the absence of fear but taking action when you are, well, afraid.  On a daily basis we have all seen that being a woman can be very dangerous, particularly if the woman believes she has rights. But that hasn’t stopped so very many of us.   A woman could be shot in the head is she wants to go to school, have her clitoris removed, be targeted by a commanding officer, be slipped a drug so she is unable to fight off an attacker, or beaten by a drunk father or boyfriend who says he loves her.

So it probably sounds incredible to believe that we can make a difference by dancing.  How unreasonable is that, you may be wondering?  You may be asking where are the guns, the armies, the rockets – the real power?  After all isn’t that how we all been shown to demonstrate our power, through muscle, through clubs, through armaments, not to mention tradition and laws?  Well, that is how many show their power.  That is how we have been trained to understand power, as: might, intimidation, force.  But as for the real power, the answer is clear.  The real power is within each of us. This is the message of our recovery programs, the message our mothers wanted or perhaps did send us, and it is the message in this worldwide effort–onebillionrising.  We can begin to own our power, by uniting with other women, and men, in ONEBILLIONRISING/ is a global call to women and men across the planet to gather in their communities to dance and demand an end to the violence girls and women face, no matter what the cause.

What can you do?  First check out http://onebillionrising.org/— then dare to use your personal power to consider creating your own event in your school, office, block, town. Plan to make it meaningful and perhaps even fun.  Break out of your comfort zone and even think about making an outrageous statement that is so engaging that others will want to dance with you, with all of us, enjoying the power of community, and the end to violence.  Realize that whether you are a woman in recovery, an ACoA, a sexual abuse survivor, you are connected to all other women who have experienced similar pain, trauma, discrimination, today, and in the past.  But understand that together we can all join to reduce, and even eliminate, the violence of the future, all through the improbable action of dancing together.

Need a little inspiration?  Listen to Lee Ann Womack “I Hope You Dance” after the jump…

Continue reading “One Billion Rising….by Dancing?”