A Season of Miracles and Second Chances


Patricia O’Gorman, PhD


“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

5 Girly Thoughts™ that Increase Your Holiday Stress

By Patricia O’Gorman, PhD

Author of The Girly Thoughts 10-Day Detox Plan: The Resilient Woman’s Guide to Saying NO to Negative Self-Talk and YES to Personal Power (publication date 10.28.14) – a fun book about a serious topic

The Resilient Woman: Mastering the 7 Steps to Personal Power (2013)

Healing Trauma Through Self-Parenting—The Codependency Connection (2012)

It’s almost 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. 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.

Christmas and Perfume

If ever there was a season celebrating resilience it is the Christmas Season.  As women, this season represents a virtual treasure trove of elements around which we build our resilience, because our resilience is built around our response to stress; and this is the season of stress, both good stress and the other kind.

During this holiday time we find ourselves playing our own version of three-dimensional chess.  We are navigating our commitments to our children, creating a happy holiday season for them whether they are three and still believing in Santa Claus, or twenty-three and moving out on their own.  We feel both our love and the pull of obligations, both stated and expected, to our family.  This is compounded by needing to make the decision of who to spend the actual Christmas Eve or Christmas Day with, or whether to create the magic of the holiday within our home, figuring out how to do the cooking, shopping, decorating, and still for many of us, keep our day job.  We need our friends who tend to be less available, as we are, due to being equally stressed out, running, laughing, and at times stuttering instead of speaking.

And this is compounded by our image of what this important holiday season is supposed to contain, an image not formed by Hallmark, or by the endless ads on TV, but an image rooted far deeper in our psyche, an image formed in our own childhood, an image we revisit, one formed by needs and desires remembering them as fulfilled leaving a smile on our face, or memories of want and need that that are still full of pain.

It is this last element that makes this season so challenging, the fact that we are present to this season not just as a forty-five year old, but also as a five year old.  That we are navigating not just a list of expectations of those who we love who surround us, but also we are carrying those needs and wants from the child within us.

This is why it is so important to find a way to give to ourselves this season.  Not just an actual gift, which may not be a bad idea, but also an inner gift, one of personal perspective — a gift of gratitude, of appreciation for all the resources that we have, of respect for all that we do, and of promise, a promise to do something special just for us, whether this is taking one single moment to put on a dab of perfume that we like, to remind ourselves as we gently waft it’s aroma throughout the day, that we indeed are special, that we can take care of ourselves, to a commitment to use our considerable resources, our resilience, to begin to take better care of ourselves.  Now that would truly make this a merrier Christmas.

By Patricia O’Gorman, Ph.D.

Author of

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

pre-order available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble