When He Thinks You’re Crazy . . . Could the Reason Be Your Girly Thoughts?

By Patricia O’Gorman, PhD,
author of: The Resilient Woman: Mastering the 7 Steps to Personal Power (HCI, 2013)

Order: Amazon / Barnes & Noble
www.patriciaogorman.com

I know these might seem like strange words coming from a psychologist, but stop a moment and try this on: When you back someone you love into a corner by blaming him for feeling bad about yourself, and he tells you you’re nuts, it’s hurtful—to him and to you. But consider that you may be literally making yourself nuts by your thoughts and feelings telling you that you are not good enough and you need to change.

Those “I’m not okay the way I am” feelings are due to your girly thoughts—those thoughts that you need to alter how you act, how you look, or you’ll lose your man.

Making Ourselves Nuts

By saying this, I’m not implying that all relationship challenges you are experiencing are your fault. No, I am definitely not saying that. What I am saying is that some of the negative ideas you may be struggling with are within your control. And I’m encouraging you to take control of your thinking.

Don’t Blame Him

The problem is that you may not be identifying your girly thoughts for what they are: a function of our intense media holding up images of desirable women—many of them so digitally altered that they do not look like themselves—as the “ideal” to which we should all aspire. The result is that when we don’t measure up—as we cannot because these are no longer real people—we feel terrible about ourselves.

But instead of seeing your girly thoughts as the reason you may be feeling insecure, you’re tempted to blame your feelings of inadequacy on your partner, creating conflict in a part of your life where you need support. For example, you decided to be a sexy watermelon for Halloween. You put on your costume, went to a party, and decided he thought you looked fat because he was hanging out with the good witch. Now, he didn’t say this. You assumed it, and the unfortunate result was confusing him and making him feel defensive because he doesn’t know where you are coming from.

Are we crazy?

Why do women do this? Because trying to keep up with what you feel you should do and should be is exhausting. He’s there. He becomes a logical target, because someone has to be responsible for how bad you feel about yourself.

Wrong. Consider the possibility that it isn’t him. Try on that it’s probably your girly thoughts.

Consequences of Your Girly Thoughts: You Push Him Away

As a result of being blamed, he:

• feels hurt, wronged, confused, maybe angry, and frightened (even though most men are loath to admit to this)

• can feel your unhappiness, but he knows he hasn’t changed, so he thinks it’s you—you’re crazy.

So what to do?

• First, take a deep breath and realize that you’re not crazy even though your girly thoughts can make you feel that way;

• Then realize he probably doesn’t think you’re crazy, he’s just not sure what to do.

• And when you are ready, talk to him. I know: this is the scary part. But don’t you think that because he cares for you, he wants to know what is going on? He’ll want to reassure you? He might even laugh with you at some of the absurdities in the media? Who knows, maybe sharing your girly thoughts with him will bring you even closer.

Send me a post about how challenging your girly thoughts has changed your relationship with him.

If you enjoyed this article, please subscribe to my blog and you’ll never miss a post! It’s easy: Just enter your email address on the right side of this page, just below “Recent Posts” or by clicking here:


 

You may manage your subscription options from your profile.

And please know that I’ll never sell, share, or rent your contact information—that’s a promise!

Patricia O’Gorman, PhD, a psychologist in private practice in Albany, and Saranac Lake, New York, is noted for her work on women, trauma, and substance abuse and for her warm, inspiring, and funny presentations that make complex issues accessible and even fun. She has served as a consultant to organizations in preventative and clinical strategic planning including Lifescape Solutions in Delray Beach, Florida. Dr. O’Gorman is a cofounder of the National Association for Children of Alcoholics, and she has held positions ranging from clinical director of a child welfare agency to interim director of a crime victims organization to director of the division of prevention for the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). Learn more at http://patriciaogorman.com

Digital Dreams and your Girly Thoughts

By Patricia O’Gorman, PhD,
author of: The Resilient Woman: Mastering the 7 Steps to Personal Power (HCI, 2013)

Order: Amazon / Barnes & Noble
www.patriciaogorman.com

In case you think you are not really affected by the media, watch this short video. It shows a perfectly lovely young woman who is digitally altered—and I’m not speaking about the changes we all enjoy, like adding makeup and doing our hair. This is on a whole different level.

Here is a short, brilliant example of how we all chase the digital dream. The challenge we have is that we do not know we are dreaming, and we forget it is a digital dream—that means it’s been photoshopped. So we need to wake up! We need see this manipulation for what it is and understand what happens to us when we internalize these digital dreams of how we should look. If this video wasn’t so ridiculous and compelling, we’d all be tempted to laugh.

Digital Dreaming . . .

There are changes to the young woman’s facial features, cosmetic surgery-type changes. Her facial features are sculpted to the point where she doesn’t even look like herself; her shoulders are reshaped oh-so-subtly, and there is, of course, the mandatory tummy tuck and breast enhancement. Her torso is even elongated (which is still beyond the skill range of most surgeons, I think, but let me know if I’m wrong). You get the picture. Please watch it now.

This is a perfect example of what I address in my newest book, The Resilient Woman: Mastering the 7 Steps to Personal Power, where I give a name to these messages—the negative things we are encouraged to about ourselves—our girly thoughts. The result is that as you berate yourself for not being able to obtain these digital dreams; you use your personal power for everyone in your life but yourself. And if someone mentions how good you look, you tend to doubt that person’s sincerity. Talk about a no-win situation! It’s a trap for you and for those close to you.

The way out? Develop your conscious resilience so you can combat those girly thoughts, laugh at images like these, accept that the media’s message about beauty is digitally enhanced beyond reality, embrace your own perfection, and find more peace and joy in your life.

How to Wake UP . . .

  • First, recognize when you are looking at a digital dream.
  • When you get together with your girlfriends, start a conversation about the latest one you’ve seen.
  • If you are a mother, teacher, counselor, or neighbor, please point out the digital dream to your daughter, or niece, or the child in your class who is trying to copy some of these looks or is fretting about not being that tall, that thin, that pretty. Give them the term girly thoughts to describe this type of societally driven thinking, and help them avoid being sucked into this nonsense that robs them of developing their power.

Send in the images you find that are clearly digital dreams. I hope you’ll bookmark this article and come back often to post those you find in the comments. Let’s out these images that trip us up when we think of them as real, and let’s support each other in doing this.

If you enjoyed this article, please subscribe to my blog and you’ll never miss a post! It’s easy: Just enter your email address on the right side of this page, just below “Recent Posts” or by clicking here:


 

You may manage your subscription options from your profile.

And please know that I’ll never sell, share, or rent your contact information—that’s a promise!

Patricia O’Gorman, PhD, a psychologist in private practice in Albany, and Saranac Lake, New York, is noted for her work on women, trauma, and substance abuse and for her warm, inspiring, and funny presentations that make complex issues accessible and even fun. She has served as a consultant to organizations in preventative and clinical strategic planning including Lifescape Solutions in Delray Beach, Florida. Dr. O’Gorman is a cofounder of the National Association for Children of Alcoholics, and she has held positions ranging from clinical director of a child welfare agency to interim director of a crime victims organization to director of the division of prevention for the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). Learn more at http://patriciaogorman.com

Celebrity Status Is a Breeding Ground for Girly Thoughts

By Patricia O’Gorman, PhD,
author of: The Resilient Woman: Mastering the 7 Steps to Personal Power (HCI, 2013)

Order: Amazon / Barnes & Noble
www.patriciaogorman.com

Child Star Substance Abuse infographic

 

image source: http://clarityway.com

This poignant and powerful infographic by Clarity Way illustrates how some celebrities deal with girly thoughts.

Do you ever wonder if you are particularly susceptible to an obsession with the clear and/or implied messages of how you should or should not act, how you should or should not look? Do you ever wonder if you are the only one who seems to be ruled by girly thoughts?

The answer is NO. Girly thoughts are a product of our culture. They are also a product of our need as women to fit into the latest version of whatever is desirable and acceptable.

Girly thoughts are powerful because they represent a way to reach the ideal. That is a very big hook.

And don’t think anyone is exempt from the incredible power of culture and the girly thoughts that come from its influence. Just who is ruled by those thoughts might surprise you, though.

Continue reading “Celebrity Status Is a Breeding Ground for Girly Thoughts”

Being Sexy Where It Counts: Resiliency in Action

By Patricia O’Gorman, Ph.D.

Author of The Resilient Woman: Mastering the 7 Steps to Personal Power (HCI, 2013)

Order: Amazon / Barnes & Noble

It is a painful fact that women who have challenged and overcome their girly thoughts in the boardroom are stymied by them in the bedroom.

As a psychologist, I am privy to many secrets. Most secrets are wrapped in shame, shared in a low, often choked, voice that indicates the great emotional and physical discomfort of the woman sharing them. But there is one secret I’ve heard for many years that is shared only in hushed tones, the woman’s head down and her face strewn with tears. One woman told me she had other friends who struggled with “this”; they even had a private club so they could talk about it without others knowing. Another shared that she knew her marriage could not last because of this secret. More recently, women are just angry. The secret?

These women were more successful in their careers and were making more money than their husbands, and the power imbalance they felt in their marriages were unbearable. So unbearable, in fact, that they felt the need to divorce.

Crazy?  Who said our girly thoughts make sense when examined in the clear light of day?

Over the years, the number of women making more than their husbands has steadily risen; it is currently 40 percent, and that is a substantial number. The idea that a woman could be the primary wage earner was almost unheard of a generation ago.

So if 40 percent is such a good number, why don’t women feel empowered by their earning capacity? Why would a woman feel shame that her man is not making more money than she is? Why is she embarrassed, and why does this non-traditional situation create such discord in an intimate partnership that the only solution appears to be a divorce?

For some of us, the answer lies in our girly thoughts, the unconsciously accepted set of rules by which we live our lives. These girly thoughts tell us that we deserve to be taken care of, that we are only desirable if we are dependent on our husbands. When girly thoughts run the show, we believe there is something shameful in earning more than our husbands earn.

And we believe our girly thoughts, those nasty, sometimes unconscious, standards that we can never meet, even when doing so means we may divorce a man we love, The painful fact is that women who have challenged and overcome their girly thoughts in the boardroom are often stymied by them in the bedroom. The same women who push to be their best at work, who are willing to risk not being liked because they put their ideas and an important part of who they are “out there” feel unable to do the same in their most intimate relationship.

In my book, The Resilient Woman: Mastering the 7 Steps to Personal Power, I discuss this particular resilience style, which I term paradoxical resilience. Women who have a paradoxical resilience style function like two different people: they use their resilience clearly in work but not at home. The career woman whose words and actions say “This is who I am; deal with it,” often finds it much more difficult at home to assert the same confidence. “I am a successful woman, and I love you” just doesn’t get shared in the same way.

The results? Poor communication that leads to resentment, and divorce becomes a painful but clear way out.

Change is confusing, particularly when we are altering what we expect from an intimate partner. Change is painful and scary when it occurs within a committed relationship and we are moving and wanting different things. Some of us cover our fear with anger, others with developing a new goal—divorce. But some of us step into the void that change creates and use our resilience to navigate our wants and needs to develop a new and vastly improved model of what we rejected. Rather than a woman’s success being a game ender, this can be a new beginning for a marriage.

The first step toward any change that occurs in our intimate relationships lies within. So dig deep and ask yourself what it is that you want, knowing that you can use your resilience to help you get there. If it is to end your marriage through divorce, or to create a new relationship with your husband, one that bucks current norms — then your resilience is there to support you, and to help you do this. The world is changing, and women are responsible for many of these changes. It is now time for each of us to change the unhelpful parts of our thinking—our girly thoughts—so they do not keep limiting us in any part of our lives.

Here is Florence and the Machine’s “Dog Days Are Over” — A beautiful song and appropriate to our conversation. Enjoy.

Continue reading “Being Sexy Where It Counts: Resiliency in Action”

Who is Your Model for Resilience?

By Patricia O’Gorman, Ph.D.

Author of The Resilient Woman: Mastering the 7 Steps to Personal Power (HCI, 2013)

Order: Amazon / Barnes & Noble

I was a recent speaker at a “Theology on Tap” lecture. This speaker series takes place in the fun, relaxed setting of a local pub, and my topic, of course, was my latest book, The Resilient Woman. All was going well when I was asked, “Who are your models for resilience?”

I had an immediate answer: my resilience models are in the films I enjoy—Beatrice Kiddoe, (the heroine in the Kill Bill movies), and Katniss Evergreen, the heroine in The Hunger Games—and in the real world. They also include women like political activist Aung San Suu Kyi from Burma, who was imprisoned for her efforts to reform Myanmar, as well as my own mother and grandmother. Later, as I contemplated the question again, I realized that this is a question men would not ask each other. Men have their role models, and many of them, from all sectors of life.

For women, the question “Who are your models” has many answers, but few of them are obvious. This is a shame, and the reason is that, quite frankly, women have not been routinely celebrated in history. We have been largely invisible and our accomplishments not deemed worthy of note due to our gender. We have even been punished because some saw stepping outside of defined roles as “unfortunate.” As a result, many of the role models we choose, are, well, personal. So to be asked this question often causes a pause as we each must stop and consider our answer.

One of the reasons this is such an important question for each of us isn’t because of a lack of available heroines. But sadly, there are many models for the superficial (and ultimately devastating) notions of what society holds up as important. We secretly admire and aspire to be something we are not—and most often, we focus on the way we look—and these internalized ideas become our girly thoughts, the subtle, outside messages we internalize that cause us to blame ourselves—even berate ourselves—for not achieving what we feel we should. Girly thoughts are decidedly anti-resilience.

A few days after my lecture, my book editor sent me an article that spoke to this dilemma of who our models and heroines might be. It illustrated how a professional photographer is teaching her daughter to celebrate real women by having the five-year-old pose as famous women and taking a picture of her as each of these inspirational women from history. What a terrific use of this mother’s strength and talent, I thought, as she teaches her daughter—and the rest of us—how to answer this question.

I invite you to view her gallery here and then ask yourself the question, “Who would pose your daughter as?” I hope you’ll share your thoughts in the comments, too! Women today have the ability and the opportunity to reshape the discussion so the generations that follow us will be the resilient women of the future. Let’s give them the models they need to banish girly thoughts forever!

Continue reading “Who is Your Model for Resilience?”

Our Mother, on Mother’s Day: Honoring Our First Model for Our Resilience

We all come to the celebration of Mother’s Day with a long history of being a daughter, profoundly influenced for better, or worst, by our mothers. For some, the notion of honoring our mother on Mother’s Day brings about a mix of emotions. Into this emotionally charged day full of obligations, memories, some sweet, others not, I’d like to propose that if for no other reason than giving you your first example of how to deal with life challenges by developing resiliency, we should honor our mothers on this Sunday, Mother’s Day.

There is no one who we are, or were, as close to as our mothers. They were our model for who we wanted to become, and did not want to act, sometimes simultaneously. We did, at one time, idealize our mothers. Many still do. We did want to just be like mommy, and many of us still use our mothers as a measure for our actions, even if this surprises us. Not that every example we were offered, worked. Nor that our mother didn’t have her own struggles: perhaps, with an alcoholic husband, or her own drinking, eating, or drug use; or her needing to deal with violence in her home, or in her community while protecting her children, or her facing discrimination at her job. Not that our mother didn’t have her own girly thoughts, those negative messages we internalize from society that serve to both limit us and blame us. Because she both loved and wanted to protect you, her daughter, your mother may have reinforced many of these messages, after all, that was all she knew.

But our mothers did show us what worked, and what didn’t. Through our close observation of them, we absorbed our earliest life’s lessons of how to make it through life with dignity, while respecting others, and ourselves. As such we are simultaneously so very close to our mothers, and often shocked and repelled by how much we are indeed like them. This is the mother/daughter dance.

The relationship between a mother and her daughter is complicated, at the very least. There is great love, tenderness, even, pride, but this relationship can also be tinged by other feelings, less talked about, less patriotic: envy of the power a mother has, particularly when we were a teenager; jealousy, on a mother’s part particularly as daughters matures, and she ages; caretaking, as mothers become infirm, and daughters become in some ways their nurturer, coming often at a time when daughters are over-whelmed by the needs their our own children. Being a daughter is a challenge. Having a daughter is a challenge. And it is within this very challenge, that our resilience is staged and begins to be developed.

Continue reading “Our Mother, on Mother’s Day: Honoring Our First Model for Our Resilience”

You Are More Beautiful Than You Think You Are

Yes, you are more beautiful than you think you are! How can I make such a stunning statement without meeting you in person? Because you, like many women, have been brainwashed by something beyond your control, a force so strong yet so insidious that you probably aren’t even aware of it. Yet this powerful force is the reason you focus on all your imperfections. You see defects on your face and flaws with your body, and you feel crappy about yourself as you go through your day.

What is this mysterious—yet overwhelming—force? I’ve labeled it girly thoughts—those societal messages women receive about how they look and what makes them appealing. Girly thoughts are born from our need to be loved and accepted. They are nurtured through the fairy tales on which we were all raised, stories that speak to our need to be weaker than we are so we appeal to men, and they are reinforced through the practice of digitally enhancing a woman’s natural beauty to the point that the model doesn’t even look like the actual woman being photographed. The result of this blurring between what is real and attainable and what is not is the huge price we pay for chasing this illusion: we lose access to our personal power, and we berate ourselves for not looking or acting as we feel we should.

During a recent radio interview about my book The Resilient Woman: Mastering the 7 Steps to Personal Power, a professional model called in and told me that when she wakes up in the morning and looks at her face, she is depressed because she does not look like the slick photographs she sees of herself in magazines. She wondered if this negative self-image was an example of girly thoughts. “Yes,” I answered sadly, “this is how your girly thoughts are affecting you.”

Continue reading “You Are More Beautiful Than You Think You Are”

How Women Sabotage Business Relationships with Girly Thoughts

“The brain is hardwired to keep us focused on others, and on our role and status. When we’re not engaged in some kind of exchange, we’re often thinking about them.”

Marsha Shenk, a pioneer in business anthropology, consultant to leaders from the Fortune 50 to Solopreneurs, and founder of The BestWork® People, wrote those words in this slideshare. Her statement is particularly interesting when we consider that sometimes, we are our own worst enemies because of our focus on others, our role, and our status. How we manage those relationships can ultimately determine our career success. Women bring a unique point of view about relationships to the workplace. While we juggle work and family issues, we rarely spend much time or attention on what we think about ourselves, and how that translates into how we interact with others. We can sabotage all our professional efforts with thoughts about why we weren’t able to achieve a goal when we reason with our inner girly thoughts.

Our girly thoughts are those self-limiting thought and images of who we are, what we are capable of, what we are good for, how we should look, how we should act, and the consequences we can expect when we don’t fit within this very narrow and often unobtainable expectation. Girly thoughts are the subtle, outside messages we internalize that cause us to blame ourselves—even berate ourselves—for not achieving what we feel we should.

This is an especially fearsome problem in the workplace when we are dealing with interpersonal relationships. Because we don’t even realize we are thinking these negative thoughts, we look to external factors to blame for our unhappiness and lack of successful career relationships. Yet our professional failures aren’t found in a specific, unachieved goal—the promotion we didn’t get, the contract we weren’t awarded, or even the ten pounds we gained. And when we try to “fix” these problems, we do what all too often comes naturally: we blame ourselves for the actions of others.

For example, if your boss snaps at you, do you automatically assume it’s because you’ve failed in some way? It’s entirely possible that your boss was up all night with a sick child and is exhausted, or she is facing a major budget cut and has to figure out how to run her department with less money and fewer people. YOU are not necessarily the reason she lashes out, even if you are the recipient of her displeasure.

Using our girly thoughts to navigate relationships assures us that the difficult situations we find ourselves in must be our fault due to something lacking in us. If I’m too opinionated, no one will like me, or If I don’t lose ten pounds, I won’t be considered for that promotion. This is all nonsense, but the tendency for women to blame themselves for the ills that befall them is so widespread as to be considered almost universal. This is energy misspent in a negative internal dialogue that could be better spent understanding and achieving personal and professional goals.

In my book, The Resilient Woman: Mastering the 7 Steps to Personal Power, I discuss how to overcome girly thoughts and consciously decide to use your resilience to deliberately challenge them. By addressing and challenging your girly thoughts, you position yourself to step into your power. Particularly in workplace relationships, your ability to access your personal power is paramount to every interaction you have and will ultimately determine if you stay at the bottom of the corporate totem pole or move forward in your career by embracing your personal excellence.

How to combat girly thoughts at work? Listen to an oldie but a goodie by Helen Reddy after the jump

Continue reading “How Women Sabotage Business Relationships with Girly Thoughts”

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?”

A HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY TO ME – Fighting Those Girly Thoughts

By Patricia O’Gorman, PH.D.

 The Resilient Woman: Mastering the 7 Steps to Personal Power

 about to be released on 3.5.13

Pre-order: Amazon / Barnes & Noble

If ever there was a day designed to potentially dig into our insecurities as women, it is Valentine’s Day.  Here is the day that we are told, reassured, that we are worthy, by having another’s love of us acknowledged.  Some of use will even hold our breath until that love is demonstrated by a token acknowledgment, a card, flowers, chocolates, a kiss, a special gift.   As a result this can be a day fraught with anxiety.  Does he love me, or does she not? Will he remember, or will she not?  Am I important to him, or am I not?  And if that doesn’t happen, or doesn’t occur as we envisioned it to happen, some of us will be devastated.  Talk about our self-worth being driven by external forces.

Our society does tend to condition us to see ourselves in this way.  We are raised on stories of princesses in distress that need to be rescued by a prince charming, reinforcing that to be strong is not to be feminine, reinforcing our need to be dependent, and vulnerable from our earliest memories of what it means to be desirable.  Our need for others to make us whole is a theme that echoes in TV shows, stories, songs, and movies, and is depicted in ads not just in our society but also in Europe, and in most of the rest of the world.

When we internalize these messages, I call this our girly thoughts.  These are our beliefs, not just our feelings, that we need to be dependent to be desirable, and if we are not desirable, if we do not meet the societal standard for beauty—if we are not tall enough, thin enough, young enough, if are legs are too short, our butt too big, or our breasts too small, if we are too old, the wrong race, bi, gay, or trans, we are somehow to blame for all of the crap that comes our way as women. Our girly thoughts are deep-seeded. But by not challenging them, we give our power over to others.  In this way we allow ourselves to be held hostage by how others see us, discounting how we can see ourselves.

Yes, this is beginning to change, but at somewhat glacial speed.  But that doesn’t stop many of you today from feeling anxious…. And wondering if you are indeed loveable.

What to do?  We can choose to define ourselves, and enjoy the discoveries that this process will bring us. (More about this process in my book: The Resilient Woman: Mastering the 7 Steps to Personal Power, about to be released on 3.5.13).

Continue reading “A HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY TO ME – Fighting Those Girly Thoughts”