Every woman alive struggles with self-doubt, which is often brought on as she strives for the impossiblesociety's version of "perfection"and the harder she tries to meet those expectations, the harder her girly thoughts work to convince her she is a lost cause.
Psychologist and resiliency coach Patricia O'Gorman, PhD, has created the definitive detox program that will change everything for womenthe feminist in her 70s, the corporate executive in her 60s, the small-business owner in her 50s, the divorcée in her 40s, the young mother in her 30s, and the newly minted college graduate in her 20s. This follow-up book to The Resilient Woman: 7 Steps to Personal Power is a guide for every woman who has ever let that negative inner voicegirly thoughtsrob her of her personal power and tell her counter-productive things like:
• You are too smart or too assertive to be desirable.
• You are too heavy, skinny, or busty to be attractive.
• It's your fault your husband had an affair.
• You need to worry about others, not yourself.
This practical and essential guide is the perfect format for working through ideas and concepts that will encourage positive, introspective thinking. By journaling and recording their emotional and physical reactions to provocative questions, readers will learn the source of their negative self-talk, understand the steps needed to disengage from their toxic behaviors, and develop skills to create a more resilient spirit. Using the key concepts from O'Gorman's well-regarded book The Resilient Woman, this book is also an effective, independent resource for women who want to face their biggest roadblocktheir inner criticas a way to live life to the fullest while embracing their unique, creative selves.
|Publisher:||Health Communications, Incorporated|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.60(d)|
About the Author
Patricia A. O'Gorman, Ph.D., is a psychologist in private practice. She is noted for her work on women, trauma, and substance abuse and for her warm, inspiring, and amusing presentations that make complex issues accessible and even fun. She has served as a consultant to organizations across the country in preventative and clinical strategic planning. Dr. O'Gorman is a cofounder of the National Association for Children of Alcoholics, and she has held positions ranging from director of a rape crisis center to clinical director of a child welfare agency, and director of the division of prevention for the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). She is a veteran of numerous television appearances, including Good Morning America, Today, and AM Sunday and is the author of many books and magazine articles.
Read an Excerpt
The truth will set you free.
But first it will piss you off.
Abandon anything about your life and habits that might be holding you back: fortune favors action.
I once heard a comedian open his act with this story:
So, my girlfriend and I are cuddled up on the coach and I ask her, 'What are you afraid of?'
She gets all teary and says, 'That you'll meet someone else. That you'll leave me, and I'll be all alone. What are you afraid of?' she asks, all choked up.
'Snakes,' I say, shrugging.
'No,' I heard myself saying to his girlfriend as he was speaking. 'You should be afraid of your girly thoughts!'
Girly thoughts? I've developed that term to give you a name for the toxic inner voice that robs you of your personal power by focusing you instead on counterproductive messages, including:
I am too smart or too assertive to be desirable.
I am too fat, skinny, or busty to be attractive.
It's my fault my husband had an affair.
Girly thoughts are your inner, negative self-talk that tell you how you should and should not be as a woman, what you can anticipate when you are a 'good girl,' and the price you can expect to pay when you step outside the often subtle societal standards you have been conditioned to follow.
Your girly thoughts are your own internalized criteria for how you should think, act, and most important, look. They are pretty exacting, too. When you step outside those values, you can expect to pay a price through some type of rejection, particularly from those you are close toand even from yourself.
Your girly thoughts are the part of you that pushes too hard to be accepted and acceptable and that acts like your own inner Mean Girls clubthe part of you that has internalized society's messages. And because you are forcing yourself to fit into a mold, you often feel like a fraud, as though you'll be found out and rejected because you are not really acting in accordance with what is best for you or with whom you really are. You have been influenced by many cultural factors and social norms during the twenty or thirty or sixty-plus years you've been on this planet, and these factors and norms have shaped your reasoning, your reactions and responses, and even your feelings. So when you have such a thought, you are sometimes tempted to embrace it as reality, particularly when it is backed up by intense feelingsyou feel sad, or frightened, or just not good enoughand you take that as further evidence that your thought is correct.
Your girly thoughts are so believable to you because you have been conditioned to think this way. As a result, your girly thoughts represent a very powerful part of how you organize your identity. But they do not tell the full story. Unfortunately, you may sometimes believe that they do, since they generate almost overwhelming feelings that make you feel compelled to take an action or make a decision without thinking it through. So you confront a colleague, spend too much on clothes, or end a relationship and then collapse in despair.
Girly thoughts is a term that was coined by a colleague of mine, psychologist Tom Lund, when we were speaking about this thing women do to themselves. 'Girly thoughts,' he said, and my jaw dropped. It perfectly captured the unique way we women treator should I say, mistreatourselves. I love the term because it has a certain energy to it; it gains your attention and repels you just a little, doesn't it? It's grating, dismissive, and a little demeaningwhich is just what girly thoughts do to you!
The Price We Pay
Our society has a very narrow cultural norm for what a desirable woman is: young, attractive, thin, sexy, not too smart, and certainly not too aggressive. Most of us spend our adult lives chasing this impossible idealbut in reality even fashion models don't look like their cover photos, in real life! And let's face it: when you do reach a magic goal, like getting the promotion you worked hard for, you still never feel good enough about the other things.
Remember when you were very thin but still believed you were not thin enough? Think back to when you felt most beautiful but worried that your date would find another woman more attractive. Have you ever had just the right combination of physical appeal and brain power to gather the attention you really want? This self-doubt, lack of confidence, or sense of never being good enough is the price we pay when we let girly thoughts take up residence in our minds.
Your girly thoughts are also the result of how you have internalized the message to be a good girl, how you made sense of the world as a young girl. They represent your beliefs, your dreams, and what it means to be a woman. You were fertile soil as you were growing up, and messages of what women are and what kind of woman you wanted to be took root. You were impressionable. You believed a great deal of what you were told and what you saw. The world you lived in helped you form certain opinions about yourself and shaped your dreams of what you wanted to be, what kind of adult you saw yourself becoming.
Your burgeoning girly thoughts were unconscious, and they've remained that way for the most partuntil now. Your girly thoughts formed over time and through numerous sources of input, and they are reinforced every day through your family of origin, intimate relationships, friendships, business and professional influences, family pressures, and, most especially, media.
Your girly thoughts are what you were taught to believe in and who you were told to be. Like an old friend, your girly thoughts also helped you understand your experiences, providing an important frame of reference not only for your expectations of what the world had to offer you, but also for whom you should value, whom you should find attractive, whom you should see as a threat, and what you should look for in others.
Girly Thoughts Lead to Toxic Self-Talk
Your girly thoughts provide a handy script for toxic self-talk. Think about the last time you looked at yourself in the mirror: did you love everything you saw there? If you're like most women, the answer is a resounding no. But what really matters is what you told yourself as you looked at your reflection. If that was some version of 'I need to lose a few more pounds,' or 'I wish I could afford a boob job so I would look sexier,' or 'I look so old; I'll never get that job. Maybe I should color my hair so I look younger for the job interview,' that was your girly thoughts talking and feeding you a steady stream of toxic self-talk instead of helping you address your real concern.
Girly Thoughts Can Lead to Feeling Like an Impostor
Even when you appear fine on the outsideyou have a great career, a loving family, a devoted partner, and a healthy lifestyledo you feel vulnerable on the inside, where you live with and speak to yourself? Do you feel like a fraud, just waiting to be found out? Or that whatever you have on the outside feels transitory, as if it could be taken away because on some level you feel not deserving enough? When you do achieve a goal, does part of you believe that it happened by accident or by luck rather than by your own hard work and determination?
Girly Thoughts Can Lead to Depression, Codependency, and Even Addiction
You're filled with doubt, and you're even filled with anger directed from you to you, and so you silence yourself. This is how your girly thoughts can result in depression and anxiety, the source of which may feel unclear; this makes you feel just a little nuts, because, after all, you are productive, so why do you feel so bad? You ask yourself, What's wrong with me? and your girly thoughts provide a ready answer that results in you doubting your attractiveness, your effectiveness, and your desirability as you second-guess yourself at every turn, never giving yourself a break and never coming up for air.
You may numb yourself by throwing yourself into trying to help others with their problems, but this is a form of codependency that tells you to be the good girl by being so available as a way to distract you from what is going on inside you. Or you may try to anesthetize, or 'reward,' yourself with food, wine, shopping, gambling, or excessive exercise, all to focus and calm yourself and perhaps have some release.
So you speak to yourself in your own mind in a harsh way to motivate yourself, and you use a tone that you would not use with someone you love: your partner, your child, or any other family member. You may berate yourself, calling yourself stupid, or worse; you push yourself to lose weight, get your hair under control, and not be so sensitive to office politics.
When you berate yourself, your girly thoughts are distracting and disempowering you by focusing your attention on the wrong things. Girly thoughts have you concentrate on something other than your goal, and they make it more complicated to achieve what you had planned and to feel good about your ability to accomplish what is important to you. Girly thoughts consume your energy, diminish your self-esteem, and cause you to not value yourself or take care of yourself.
All women have girly thoughts. Even when you come from a supportive background, have a compassionate family, and don't let the opinions of others color your opinion of yourself, you are still subject to those media-fed adolescent feelings of insecurity racing through your head for the rest of your life. Even the most accomplished women often feel like they are faking itthat while they are seen by others as responsible and in charge, they feel out of control inside and fear that someone will find out.
Free Yourself to Live Your LifeStart Detoxing
When you are used to doing something, eating something, or thinking something that is not good for you, a detox plan can be helpful. This is why I've developed this ten-day program to help you detox from your girly thoughts.
In The Girly Thoughts 10-Day Detox Plan, you'll learn to identify the sources of those false standards, the things you are doing to yourself that sap your energy and are literally poisonous to your well-being. Together we will identify how your girly thoughts sabotage you in the major areas of your life. I will show you how to free yourself internally from the parts of being the good girl that donot work for you by teaching you to challenge your toxic self-talk.
This is, after all, an inside job. You'll learn to change those behaviors through a systematic program designed to move you away from your old belief system and embrace a new way based on who you really are. You'll replace the negative self-talk you've grown to believe is your truth. Through a day-by-day plan, you will begin to change your thinking, see new possibilities, and enjoy your life by freeing up your creative energy and stepping into your personal power.
You will learn to develop new skills to replace this unproductive way of defining who you are. You will begin to like, appreciate, and, most importantly, value your abilities, your quirks, and even your looks as you learn to embrace your inner resources to uncover the powerful woman you truly are.
I first introduced the term girly thoughts in my book, The Resilient Woman: Mastering the 7 Steps to Personal Power, and I have expanded the concept here. As I've written and spoken to women about it, the reception has been tremendous both in the United States and internationally. In many ways, The Girly Thoughts 10-Day Detox Plan is a prequel to that book. I discovered that many women continued to struggle with mastering their sense of personal power because they lacked a clear and doable strategy for eliminating their toxic girly thoughts. This book is that strategy.
Once you understand where your negative self-talk originated, how it continues to be nurtured by many internal and external influences, and how you are hurting yourself by allowingeven perhaps encouragingthose toxic messages to reside and flourish in your mind, you'll be on your way to eliminating them and creating a new internal voice that empowers and protects you.
Now let's start detoxing from those girly thoughts.
©2014 Patricia A. O'Gorman, Ph.D.. All rights reserved. Reprinted from The Girly Thoughts 10-Day Detox Plan: The Resilient Woman's Guide to Saying NO to Negative Self-Talk and YES to Personal Power. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442.
Table of Contents
Girly Thoughts 9
Part I Your Negative Self-Talk: What It Is and Where It Came From
Day 1 No, You're Not Crazy: Those Are Just Your Girly Thoughts 14
Day 2 The Wonder Woman in You 30
Day 3 All in the (Original) Family: Leading Yourself to Relative Success 45
Detox Summary for Part I: Fully Seeing Yourself 57
Part II Detoxing in Your Intimate Life: How Your Girly Thoughts Affect You Personally
Day 4 You Are So Beautiful: Choosing Self-Love Over Self-Judgment 62
Day 5 Sex: A No-Judgment Zone 77
Day 6 Making Your Desire a Reality: Love, Intimate Relationships, and Marriage 90
Day 7 Forever Youthful: Your Obsession with Staying Young 105
Detox Summary for Part II: Imagine Your Intimate Life with Fewer Girly Thoughts 118
Part III Detoxing in Daily Life: How Your Girly Thoughts Affect You Visibly
Day 8 Starring at Work: Developing Confidence in Your Contributions 123
Day 9 Smart Money: Cashing In on How to Invest in Yourself 141
Day 10 Parenting: Tackling the Next Generation's Toxic Self-Talk 152
Detox Summary For Part III: Seeing Your Daily Life Free of Girly Thoughts 169
Just the Beginning: Now the Fun Starts 171
References and Recommended Reading 173
About the Author 179
Suggested Questions for Book Club Discussions 181