5 Girly Thoughts™ that Increase Your Holiday Stress


It’s the happy holiday season, and you’re already feeling the pressure. If you’re like most of us, you’re already hearing that inner voice that pushes you to do more, reminding you that it is up to you to make this a holiday season to remember while telling you that no matter what you’re doing, it is not enough.

How Your Girly Thoughts Turn Up the Holiday Pressure

I’ve named this toxic, negative self-talk your girly thoughts. Girly thoughts function as an internal gauge of perfection against which you measure yourself, and guess what? You find yourself falling short from where you feel you should be.

Here is what your girly thoughts are telling you and what you can do about them:
1. Everyone I know needs a card and a personal note from me. Let’s face it: in this day of digital communication, a handwritten note is a lovely indication of your caring. But having a self-expectation of sending a handwritten note to everyone you know when you now clearly do not send out notes regularly?

Consider writing a lovely email letter and sending this out instead.
2. I need to make home-cooked, memorable meals, and glorious desserts like the one pictured above. The belief that every meal needs to be a masterpiece gets in the way of actually enjoying the meal. If you don’t enjoy it, neither will anyone else.

Instead, tell yourself: I need to make meals I will enjoy. Consider:

  • Serving some ready-made foods
  • Saying yes when guests ask if they can bring something
  • Preparing simpler recipes

3. I must look fabulous. The pressure to look good is always with us; in fact, “I’m fat” is girly thought #1. Time to detox!
Change this to: I need to feel comfortable. Too tired after a day of working and an evening of cooking to wear those heels to the party? Ditch them.

4. I must attend every holiday event, concert, and party. Yes, this is the season of making merry, but that means you want to feel merry as well.

Consider setting reasonable limits on what you will and will not do. Notice the emphasis is not on what you can do but what you will do.
5. I must find the perfect gift that says I love them. Ah, the perfect gift. No pressure here.

Change this to acknowledging each recipient’s specialness, and stay tuned for a blog on gift giving.

Give Yourself a Gift for the Holidays—Detox from Your Girly Thoughts

Girly thoughts act like a conduit through which all your discomfort, all the stresses of your life, are filtered, and the holidays just magnify that discomfort.

So this holiday season, give yourself a great gift: stop listening to that negative, toxic voice that tells you what you should do and instead look for ways to reduce your stress so you can experience all the joy of the season.

Remember, 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

Embrace Your Spirit of Gratitude, Not Your Toxic Girly Thoughts

I express infinite love and gratitude at all times

We are really living in our minds . . . where we’re not really connected to the world around us, nor centered in our own body or being
-—Elyse Santilli

The holiday season is stressful. We often worry about things that might happen, ruminate about what happened in holidays past, and see others as judging us.

We do this through the lens we use to judge ourselves, which is often filtered through our toxic girly thoughts—how we internalize societal values of beauty and accomplishment—and we use these negative thoughts to essentially torment ourselves. Yes, our thoughts do distort our connection to our world and to ourselves.

Projecting Our Worst Fears

Ask yourself if you’ve ever worried about things like:

  • your cookies not being as good as the year before;
  • your in-laws still talking about your husband’s ex, who was so loving;
  • the weight you gained last holiday season, which you are still walking around with; or
  • how you will measure up to the other women at the holiday and family gatherings.

These are all examples of toxic girly thoughts, ideas that deprive you of feeling gratitude for what you do have by focusing you away from the present, away from your personal strengths and resilience.

Counteract Those Toxic Girly Thoughts!

Instead of focusing on your fears, try turning those negative messages around and focus on your gratitude.

Connecting with your spirit’ your essence—and not your toxic girly thoughts allows you to feel grateful. So instead of:

  • Worrying about how your cookies will be judged, enjoy that you still want to put in all the work to make them. Be grateful for the gift of your loving spirit that creates these gifts of love.
  • Remembering all the horrible things your in-laws have said about you, listen for the positive things and appreciate them for these thoughts, even if they are few. Be grateful for how they can love, even if it is more limited than you and your husband would like.
  • Feeling fat from last years’ holiday season, let your weight make you grateful that you are able to make different decisions about your food this holiday season. Embrace your spirit of change.
  • Worrying about other women at parties—just be your dazzling self. Yes, free your spirit to enjoy yourself instead of judging yourself. You’ll be, and will be seen, as much more attractive by embracing who you are.

Feeling grateful yet? Good, remember not listening to your toxic ‘girly thoughts’ is a gift you can give yourself this holiday season, and all 2016.

Remember, 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

When Hip Hop, Misogyny, and Girly Thoughts Are Straight Outta Compton



To be a woman who loves hip hop at times is to be in love with your abuser.

—Ava DuVernay

I’m a woman who loves hip hop. I’m pulled in by the energy, the irreverence of some of the lyrics, the sense of being so alive in its beat. And yet, as a woman, I also cringe at some of its messages.

Hip hop is full of misogyny, words that spew anger at women, that marginalize women, that view women more as objects than as humans. But in these ways it is actually much like the rest of our society, only clearer, and with a great beat that makes you want to dance even as you are hurt by what it says. 

The Double Bind for Women

This is the societal double bind for women. We love men who hurt us, and we excuse them. Why? Well, we tell ourselves, because they are men, and that’s how they are. We go forward even if our self-esteem is in tatters.

Ask yourself:

  • How often have you loved someone who hurt you and then excused this because this is just the way men are? 
  • How many times have you forgiven him? 
  • How many times have you forgiven the next him after that?

Are women victims? No, but we are just finding our voice and learning to speak up and challenge the internalized, societally informed notion of women that I have named girly thoughts that say be quiet; good girls don’t make waves, they understand, they love, they forgive.

Speaking Up

This is why I applaud writer Allison Davis, who wrote an essay on The Cut and was interviewed on NPR about the N.W.A biopic Straight Outta of Compton. I urge you to listen to that interview, where she gives voice to her feelings as a woman while also praising the critically important contributions of the film Straight Outta of Compton.


Where You Draw the Line

After hearing Allison Davis, I’m encouraging all of us to say:

Just because what you are saying is important—even revolutionary—doesn’t mean you get a free pass to continue to oppress me.

Would this have made for a more complicated script for the film? Yes. But so what? If this film’s creative group couldn’t get it right, maybe the next one will.

View Without Your Toxic Girly Thoughts 

Will I see Straight Outta Compton? Yes, but I won’t be sitting there with my girly thoughts excusing how women are exploited. And I suggest you don’t either.

Maybe if we can start speaking up about what’s in our entertainment, we will feel more comfortable in speaking up in our lives, and maybe we’ll stop listening to our toxic girly thoughts!

Remember, 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.

Has Trump Done Women a Favor?


Even though we are 53 percent of the voting public, women do not always see things the same way. But no matter how different our views might be, one thing we do share is being a woman. This means we share similar health worries, have faced similar challenges in our personal lives, and have dealt with similar unfairness in our professional lives.

This is why Donald Trump might be doing us a favor.

By threatening one of us for not being nice at work, by dismissing our opinions because of our hormones, and by mocking us for our looks, Trump is helping us see what we all have in common. And these are things we have all experienced at work and even at home.

Why? Because as women, you and I deal with sexism on a daily basis. That sexism is usually subtler, but sometimes not. For example, yesterday I posted an article about Megyn Kelly on Facebook and received the comment “Fuck that bitch” in return. This is not a usual response to my posts on Facebook.

I wondered if the commenter was referring to the article or to me, or both?

Not Listening to Our Girly Thoughts 

We have all been on the receiving end of this type of anger when we’ve stepped out of our assigned roles. What was interesting to me is that this man felt comfortable posting something like this. He felt this was his right as a man to threaten her and me. But why?

I wasn’t listening to my well-conditioned, toxic girly thought that said I had to be nice, even on Facebook. I posted an article that said Megyn Kelly did a good job, and women were angry at being criticized—again—for voicing their opinions, for doing their jobs as well as men.

What Can YOU Do?

  • Take heart that you are not alone
  • Get involved politically
  • Express how you feel
  • Make your needs as a woman known to those running for office.

This may just be a moment when we are all facing the same way, but let’s use it to express what we need: equal pay, child care, freedom from government interference in our health decisions …

Yes, you can make a difference if you don’t listen to those pesky girly thoughts.

Remember, 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.

Is Society Holding Your Daughter Back … or Are You ?


(source: http://www.picturesofbabies.net)


Good Housekeeping just posted a terrific piece giving advice to mothers, titled, “5 Ways to Encourage Confidence in Your Daughter”

An important part of the message is that for women to consciously build confidence in their daughters, they also have to undo the messages they have bought into—self-defeating beliefs and behaviors I call toxic girly thoughts.

Shocking Statistics

GH quotes a study by feminine-care brand Always that surveyedmore than 1,000 British females aged between 16 and 24 years old, and found that a staggering 66% reported feeling held back by society.”

Yes, by the time young women are spreading their wings, they feel society’s constraints. But the truth is, this begins much earlier and more innocently.

How Does It Happen?

Mothers learn what society expects and unconsciously teach their daughters to do the same. A mother’s actions are observed by her daughter, who then consciously or unconsciously models Mom’s behaviors.

Think you’re not guilty? Have you ever:

–       berated yourself in front of your daughter?

–       announcedI’m so stupid” when you’ve made a mistake?

–       focused on criticizing your appearance with statements like “I’m so fat“ when you look in the mirror?

–       avoided taking risks because “I know I’ll mess this up if I try”?

–       focused on gender stereotypes so they will be seen as acceptable by:

  • saying things like “Don’t be a smarty pants,” or
  • encouraging your daughter to wear a dress instead of pants, or
  • rewarding your daughter for being sweet while you reward your son for being strong?

When we act on our toxic girly thoughts in front of our own daughters, we inadvertently teach them to do likewise, thereby carrying society’s message home to another generation.

What to Do?

Walk the walk, don’t just talk the talk. You are the most powerful example your daughter has. Listen to how you speak to yourself.

Then ask yourself, Is this how I want my daughter to speak to herself?

If not, then stop. Easy? No. But you’ll have lots of opportunity to practice saying no to your girly thoughts because these messages are all through society.

Once you stop acting on these disempowering and toxic messages, you will inspire confidence in your daughter, and at the same time, you’ll gain more confidence in yourself!

Remember, 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 New Way to Heal Your Own Trauma Through Self-Parenting: Audiobook Now Available


My toxic girly thoughts told me I should just put this information on my website and not make a big deal about it. After all, isn’t this boasting? Then my resilience kicked in and said, “You worked hard to write this book—so shout about it!”

What’s All the Fuss About?

My most recent book on trauma, Healing Trauma Through Self-Parenting: The Codependency Connection, was released in 2012, and I just learned it is now available as an audiobook. Healing Trauma was truly inspired by my patients and workshop attendees who often lamented that they were “getting worse” as they delved into trauma literature because they couldn’t navigate their responses—their triggers.

Healing Trauma was my response. It is a pivotal book that focuses both on what trauma is and on what you can do now to begin to heal through managing your triggers.

Since its publication, many of you have shared with me how this book launched you on your journey of healing.

Now your healing can take place anywhere.

There is a new assist for all of you who find yourselves in your cars or who just prefer to be read to instead of doing the reading: Healing Trauma Through Self-Parenting: The Codependency Connection is available as an audiobook. And if you purchase the Kindle version through Amazon.com, you can also get the Audible audiobook for a significantly reduced price*.

I learned about the audiobook version of Healing Trauma through a thank-you note from JM, one of the listeners who wrote to thank me for sharing “. . . the best book and most helpful book I have ever read (in this case, listened to) on this important, and very relevant to me, subject.”

You might wonder why it took a note from a listener to inform me that I have an audiobook, but when you sign a publishing contract, the publisher puts your book out there, and you don’t always know where.

That’s why I need you!

Thank YOU!

Your notes, emails, and comments when I speak are so important to me, and they provide valuable information such as JM’s email illustrated. They inspire me to keep trying to figure out how to make healing accessible to all. So thank you! We make a good team . . . keep letting me know what you think, feel, and what you find out!

If you’d like to listen to Healing Trauma Through Self-Parenting: The Codependency Connection and start on your own path to healing, here’s the link:

If you’d like to read the Kindle* version and take advantage of the discounted audiobook bundle pricing, here’s the link: http://www.amazon.com/Healing-Trauma-Through-Self-Parenting-Co-Dependency/dp/B00BFDECDC/ref=tmm_aud_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=8-1&qid=1434838669

*If you don’t own a Kindle, you can download a free app to use on your Apple, Android, or Window devices.

Enjoy, and remember to let me know what you think!

Remember, 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.

Begin Each Day With a Yes … and a No



I’ve attached a blog written by someone who may be familiar to you, Candace Johnson, the editor of my last three books, who I praise in my acknowledgments. She sent me this blog on July 11, just before my book signing in Lake Placid, NY. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/candace-johnson/living-in-the-moment_b_7754246.html

With all of the busyness of my life, I, like you, miss important events, so I didn’t see this until later.

Sunday morning as I sang in church, the tears finally came for Candace, her family, and this beautiful young girl literally cut down in the prime of her life. I thought about Candace’s advice about appreciating life because it could change in an instant, and I wondered, how?

My takeaway and my suggestion for you is to begin each day with an intention about what you want to bring into your life and what you want to stop in your life. Since you and I live a life so filtered through our societal messages of what we should do and how we should look, what I’ve named our toxic girly thoughts, I offer my intention to you:

Each day when I wake up and check my emails while still in bed, I’m going to write an intention for the day in my phone:

  • A personal, concrete goal I have for myself this day;
  • Which girly thought I’m going to challenge because I know from experience that it will rear its ugly head and attempt to misdirect my energies as I pursue my goal.

Why don’t you try this, and let me, and Candace, know how it works for you.

Remember, 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 Do Your Girly Thoughts Look Like?

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Yes, I mean, what do girly thoughts physically look like? The way we internalize these ever-present societal messages of how we should look and should act can result in eating disorders, body-image problems, addictions, even depression.

We know we weren’t born this way. We began as little girls who liked ourselves and liked the world. Our girly thoughts are what we have learned.

One picture is worth a thousand words. Here is how Florida artist Michelle Sohn has depicted this toxic inner trash talk that I’ve labeled girly thoughts:




Please share images of your toxic girly thoughts with me.

Copies of Michelle’s artwork can be obtained by contacting her at michellejoyhope@gmail.com

Remember, 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 It’s Not An Immaculate Conception, Then Why Is It News?

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Bristol Plain is in the news again for being pregnant and unmarried. But the real question is: why is this news? Was this an immaculate conception? If not, then we need to ask why this is concerned newsworthy . . . unless there is an underlying bias.\

Why Isn’t the Father in the News?

Somehow there are never headlines like this:

‘_______’ Does It Again, Impregnates Another Woman
Who Thought He Loved Her

Hmmmmm. Why not? Because as a society, we blame the woman. Pregnancy is somehow always the woman’s fault, and we have been so brainwashed over generations that we buy into this.
And You Wonder Why Your Toxic Girly Thoughts Blame You?

Yes, that constant, negative self-talk that I’ve name girly thoughts persist in beating you up, blaming you, even in situations where it literally takes two. So if you wonder why you always feel so responsible, maybe it’s because everywhere you look you are being told you have more responsibility than a man, even if it is about getting pregnant.

Pretty ridiculous when it’s said like this, isn’t it?

Read about how Bristol is doing . . .


. . . and then decide to stop doing to yourself what the news is doing to Bristol. Stop seeing whatever the “it” is in your life as somehow all your fault.

Remember, 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.

When Your Toxic, Inner Voice Announces You’re Dumb, Your Girly Thoughts Are Talking, and They’re WRONG

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Do you have this constant yammering in your head telling you that you can’t do something, that you’re so dumb you’ll screw this up? Does this toxic, inner voice tell you you’re just not smart enough?

I’ve named this energy-draining voice girly thoughts. Yes, it’s a miserable name for a terrible feeling we have been conditioned to inflict on ourselves. Why girly? Because we are still unconsciously laboring under the prejudice that for women to be attractive and desirable, they can’t be many things—including smart!

Your girly thoughts might sound smart . . .
Your girly thoughts may quote scientific evidence to support their claims of your stupidity. For example, your girly thoughts will even cite your IQ score as evidence of the lack of your ability.

IQ Scores Aren’t Absolute

Your girly thoughts don’t know that the only thing IQ scores really predict is how well you will do in school. Yes, that is what all the IQ hype amounts to, even if it is buried in the fine print. But there’s even some argument about this conclusion, because if you took the test after a sleepless night due to your parents’ arguing, or if you were just coming down from being high, or if you were terribly anxious because you feared this IQ test would somehow reveal your future, you probably had a depressed score.

Want to read more about what IQ scores really are?


Want to knock back those toxic girly thoughts? Quote this blog to that know-it-all girly thoughts voice in your head.

Remember, 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.