Enjoy Valentine’s Day – Don’t Indulge Your Girly Thoughts

By Patricia O’Gorman, PhD

author of

The Girly Thoughts 10 Day Detox


 “How do you spell ‘love’?” – Piglet

“You don’t spell it . . . you feel it.” – Pooh

—A.A. Milne, “Winnie The Pooh” 

Perhaps no other holiday creates as much tension as Valentine’s Day. This is the day of love, of being loved, of receiving gifts, all of which say that all of your hard work at maintaining your relationship is worth it!

Yes, it is a day of drama, full of tension and storms, the day that keeps us “in the game,” and due to all the disappointments and heartbreaks you have experienced, it is also a day that has helped you grow deep roots.

Girly Thoughts: the Legacy of Fairy Tales

You were raised on tales of Prince Charming coming to your rescue and thereby proving his undying love. You’ve seen numerous movies and read many books where even strong, feisty women are in need of rescuing by the men of their dreams.

While you may no longer be reading fairy tales, you may unconsciously still be living by the messages they taught, messages that are part of the fabric of your girly thoughts, those toxic messages that tell you your self-worth depends largely on how someone else values, even loves you.

Valentine’s Day Is a Day that Proves . . . Your Self-Worth?

Perhaps on no other day do these messages play out as they do on Valentine’s Day . . . the day your “prince” will prove your genuine lovability.

As a result, you probably attach a great deal of importance to the actions of the one you love on this one day.

We pressure our partners to use traditional tokens of love and appreciation—cards, flowers, chocolates, perhaps even Champagne—to demonstrate our importance in their lives and prove their devotion to us. If they fail in some way, we are tempted to feel diminished, less important, and—sadly—unloved or unlovable.

As a Result, You Feel Held Hostage

You put pressure on yourself to be seen and rewarded, signifying that all the sacrifices you made were “worth it.”

And if you are not rewarded as you feel you should be, your girly thoughts tell you the fault lies within you, and you must try harder, do more.

Or your girly thoughts tell you you’re not loveable because you are too old, not exciting, too fat or too thin, and the inner monologue about your real or imagined negative qualities goes on . . . and on . . . and on.

In this way, Valentine’s Day holds you hostage, creating anxiety and uncertainty, draining you of your power as you unwittingly give it over to another person.

This is the exact opposite of what you’d hoped for.

Does Waiting to Be Loved Work for You?

If waiting to be loved actually makes you anxious and miserable, as it does most of us, I suggest an alternative: Why not (also) love yourself?

This isn’t meant to subtract from your loved one’s importance in your life, merely to balance it by also caring for and cherishing yourself.

Yes, you can still be appreciative of the gifts from your partner, boyfriend, or husband, but you also give yourself something perhaps even more important . . . self-love and self-appreciation, instead of indulging those girly thoughts all day!

Appreciate Yourself on Valentine’s Day 

You may be planning a romantic dinner with your boyfriend. If you have children, you may be putting valentines in their lunch boxes. Perhaps you’ll be posting a Valentine’s Day message on Facebook for your friends and family.

But what about you? What can you give yourself on this day of love? Give yourself …well…gifts! Here are some thoughts to get you started:

  • Plan what you are going to wear on Valentine’s Day in a leisurely way. Instead of just focusing on what you will be making for dinner, think about yourself. Ask yourself: What looks good on me? Which outfit makes me feel good about myself? What do I feel comfortable wearing?
  • As you wear your favorite clothes on Valentine’s Day, tell yourself: I look really good!
  • Write down two things you really like about yourself. You don’t have to display that list, but put it somewhere you’ll see it—and say those words out loud each time you do. They may be as direct as: I am Smart! I am a Good Friend! I can kick (you know what)!
  • Think of ways you can act on those positive qualities and get others to also see them. For example, if you like your voice, sing in your car, sing at work, or entertain your partner.
  • Give yourself attagirls throughout the day for stepping out of your comfort zone and into your power.
  • Tell yourself . . . I love you. 

Now you’re creating a day full of love. You don’t need to spell love, you just need to feel it within yourself.

Wishing you a Happy Valentine’s Day! And stay tuned for my next blog where we’ll check out how you did . . .

You’ll find more ideas for getting rid of your negative self-talk in my 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

6 Ways to Know if Your Girly Thoughts Are Holding You Back at Work


Patricia O’Gorman, PhD


This year, train for success!

Your girly thoughts are saying:

Be nice, don’t interrupt, don’t be assertive

When you hold yourself back, when you don’t assert the power of your position, share your information, offer your opinion, there is a price to be paid—and it is either paid in real time with negative consequences or paid down the line in a failure to really succeed.

Are You Holding Yourself Back?

If this sounds like you, you can begin by discovering how those toxic inner thoughts, what I call girly thoughts, are getting in the way of you doing the job you were hired to do. Yes, your girly thoughts can trip you up in many places in your life, but let’s begin by tackling one part of everyone’s job: speaking up at work. Whether you are working as a coder or as a surgeon, your thoughts about your work are important. But for many women finding their voice at work is not so easy.

I was recently at a meeting when the staff was asked to offer their opinions on a subject. It was interesting to note that all the men spoke first. Several women tried to speak during the time when the men “had the floor,” but here’s what would happen:

A woman would begin to speak; a man would interrupt, speaking just a little louder; the woman would smile slightly, put her head down, and appear to “wait her turn” as the man continued speaking.

Sound familiar?

In my last blog, For the New Year—Don’t Listen to Those Girly Thoughts . . . Speak UP at Work!  I cited an article by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant on the price women pay for using their voice at work. Yes, there are real consequences for speaking up at work, but there are also very real consequences for not speaking up, for not using your power, for not asserting your valuable professional opinions—and this is why women do not get as far as our male counterparts.

6 Ways Your Girly Thoughts Keep You Down at Work:

Navigating the “Rules of the Office” includes knowing when to speak and how to offer your opinion. To find out if your girly thoughts are getting in your way, ask yourself if you are holding yourself back. Do you:

  • wait for the right time to speak?
  • make sure you are not interrupting others?
  • prioritize politeness and preface your contributions by saying “Excuse me” or “I’m sorry, but . . .”?
  • use your most non-threatening voice, a.k.a. a little girl voice?
  • feel the need to smile as you speak?
  • carefully rephrase your point to be nice when you make it?

How do you feel if someone repeats a point you made earlier as though the idea originated with him or her? Do you feel it is impolite to remind others that the idea is yours by saying something like, “Thank you for summarizing the point I made earlier”?

If your answer is yes to even one of these questions, you need to make some changes.

Stand in Your Power—Warning: You May Not Be Liked

For many women, speaking up at work means being seen as powerful, and that may mean you will not be liked or seen as nice. So let’s take a moment to look at these terms

Nice means, for many women, being seen as compliant, understanding, forgiving, and subservient. Said this way, it doesn’t feel very good, does it? So why do so many of us want to be nice? Because our girly thoughts say that’s how we should be acting, that we have each been raised to be a “good girl and good girls are nice, all the time.   No wonder we feel anxious when we push back at work.

As for being liked? Well, you may not be liked if you speak up, but then again you may be respected, listened to, thought of as a force—in short, you may be cultivating many of the qualities that will be important in your career.

This is your choice—choose to keep listening to those girly thoughts or advance in your career.

This Year, Train for Success

For maximum career success you need to train as you would to improve any skill. Begin with a plan for how you will:

  • discover your voice
  • use your voice
  • tell yourself you will use your power and be successful
  • use positive affirmations as I describe in The Girly Thoughts 10-Day Detox Plan. Here’s one to get you started:

“The most important thing I wear is my confidence.”

And have some fun—Just Say NO to your girly thoughts that tell you “You can’t do that.”

Let me know how you have coached yourself to speak up at work. Share your tips and tricks for overcoming your own toxic self-talk

For my next three blogs, we’ll switch from the office to your heart and focus on Valentine’s Day. Yes, your girly thoughts have a field day with this symbolic day! I’ll help you enjoy the day for what it is instead of letting it hold you hostage by creating anxiety and uncertainty and draining you of your power as you unwittingly give it over to another person.

You’ll find more ideas for getting rid of your negative self-talk in my 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

Imagine a New You in the New Year—Free from Girly Thoughts

By Patricia O’Gorman, PhD


Above all, be the heroine in your own life – Nora Ephron

You’re well into the New Year, and your resolutions probably included losing a few of those holiday pounds, right? If you’re like most of us, that particular resolution is a real stumbling block, and failing to realize it is an incredible stressor.

The See Food Diet—Because You’re a Stress Eater

Yes, you know the joke: you see food and you eat it. But why do you do this? It is because you are defective and have no control? Or is it because you are under so much stress that you need some satisfaction that is pretty quick and immediate? Yes, you are a stress eater. Most of us are.

The source of your stress? Those girly thoughts, which form what one of my reviewers in The 10 Day Girly Thoughts Detox Plan calls “your inner trash talk.”

Your girly thoughts tell you to:

  • stay forever young
  • be thin
  • be nice
  • keep your partner sexually happy
  • and dozens of other things on an impossible list made all the more difficult because more girly thoughts tell you to do the impossible without stumbling, without failing, and without gaining any weight.

Does this spell relief?

New Year’s Resolutions That Will Work

This year, give yourself a real gift—rid yourself from this type of thinking and the resulting self-destructive actions that come when you believe your girly thoughts. I promise you, it won’t be that hard. And we can do this together.

For the next few weeks, each blog will focus on a different girly thought, and I invite you to send me additional girly thoughts through my website: www.patriciaogorman.com, and we can address these together.

Girly Thought #1: I’m Fat

If you’re like the rest of us, you probably ate more over the holidays that you thought you should, and now you feel . . . Fat.

To help ease your anxiety, the multi-billion dollar diet industry is ramping up their appeal, hoping you will buy their books, plans, magazines—all of which offer easy, no-effort-required ways to lose weight.

So what do you do? You sign up for the plan, or buy the new book, or purchase the magazine (many of which have tantalizing desserts on the cover), and you collapse in exhaustion, feeling a wave of overwhelming feelings.

To Lose Weight and Lose Stress, Lose Those Girly Thoughts

As we said earlier, most women are stress eaters. So if you want to lose weight, you have two choices:

  • Go on a diet, which will only increase your stress because you eat when you are stressed, or
  • Lose the cause of your stress—those harmful girly thoughts—and commit to doing a 10-Day Detox to change your thinking, beginning with: Reducing your stress!

Make this next year about losing your girly thoughts—and watch those pounds melt away.

Now say: “Yes, I can.”

Learn more about detoxing from your negative self-talk in my 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.

Watch for my next blog for another concrete action you can take to reduce your stress and increase your success in the New Year—speaking up at work!

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Getting Married? Don’t Say I Do to Your Girly Thoughts

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)
The Resilient Woman: Mastering the 7 Steps to Personal Power (2013)
Healing Trauma Through Self-Parenting—The Codependency Connection (2012)

Your wedding should be a joyful day for you and for your guests. This is the day you invite those you love the most to join with you in celebrating a major change in your life. As the day gets closer, so should the joy of anticipation. But that is not how it often plays out.

Your Girly Thoughts Cause Major Stress—Yes, Even on Your Wedding Day

So often as you see your wedding day approach, you feel the stress mount. Why? Your girly thoughts, that toxic inner dialogue that keeps pointing out where you are lacking, where you are to blame, is there telling you what to do . . . and they rob you of the pleasure you deserve to be feeling on your special day.

Girly Thoughts Wedding Stressors

Here are some of the girly thoughts that have the potential to ruin your special day:

    1. 1. I’m fat —Interesting that this is the first girly thought I list in my book The Girly Thoughts 10-Day Detox Plan. This is a girly thought that follows us wherever we go. But why let it take up space on this, your special day?
      Tell this less-than-helpful, energy-draining thought to get lost. Your weight, whatever it is, is perfect for today. With all of the other stressors heaped on you, you don’t need to stress about losing another five pounds.
    2. 2. Your wedding day has to be perfect for everyone—Your girly thoughts say you have to consider everyone else’s feelings when you make your choices for your wedding and reception—the seating, the songs you’ve chosen, the color arrangement, even the flowers you’ve picked. With all the personal decisions you’ve made, there are sure to be some decisions that those close to you won’t like.

Claudia’s sister was upset because she choose a song that her sister claimed as her own. . Her mother thought daisies looked cheap. She put her two aunts—who hadn’t spoken to each other in fifteen years—at the family table. One bridesmaid didn’t like the color of her dress.

Invite your family members to be the adults they claim to be. Push back with resolve, albeit graciously and with a smile and a squeeze of their hand to let them know you understand their pain but you deserve their support.

    1. 3. You are responsible for everyone having a good time—Recognize this for what it is, another girly thought telling you to put your needs second, even on your wedding day. This girly thought tells you that you need to earn love by figuring out first how to make everyone else feel loved and honored before you can expect him or her to show you love and support.
      Actually, your wedding is an opportunity for those closest to you to celebrate you and your new spouse, not for you to magically solve all the long-simmering issues in your family or between your friends. Treating those you invite to your wedding as honored guests—who you expect to know how to take care of themselves—is a gift you are giving to them.

How to Enjoy Your Wedding

Don’t base your happiness on what others think of you. Make this the day you want, and invite others to join in to the best of their ability. After all, you’ve done your part . . . so let loose from those girly thoughts and enjoy what you have created!

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Patricia O’Gorman, PhD, is a psychologist and resiliency coach, and an international speaker known for her warm and funny presentations. She has worked extensively with women and children of alcoholics in private practice with an emphasis on trauma. She also serves on the Board of the NYS Coalition Against Sexual Assault, previously directed a rape crises center as well as the Division of Prevention for the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. She founded the Department of Prevention and Education for the National Office of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), national office, worked extensively in senior management in child welfare, and is a cofounder of the National Association for Children of Alcoholics. The Girly Thought 10 Day Detox Plan: The Resilient Woman’s Guide to saying NO to Negative Self-Talk and YES to Personal Power is her ninth book; others include The Resilient Woman: Mastering the 7 Steps to Personal Power, Healing Trauma Through Self-Parenting, The Lowdown on Families Who Get High, Dancing Backwards in High Heels, and 12 Steps To Self-Parenting.  She invites you to visit her website: http://patriciaogorman.com

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