By Patricia O’Gorman, PhD
The Girly Thoughts 10-Day Detox Plan: The Resilient Woman’s Guide to Saying NO to Negative Self-Talk and YES to Personal Power (published on 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:
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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 eight books including: The Girly Thoughts 10 Day Detox Plan (2014), The Resilient Woman: Mastering the 7 Steps to Personal Power (2013), and Healing Trauma Through Self-Parenting (2012) 12 Steps to Self-Parenting.