By Patricia O’Gorman, PH.D.
The Resilient Woman: Mastering the 7 Steps to Personal Power…
about to be released on 3.5.13
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).