I am sitting in the living room of a friend who is playing the piano, looking out on the snowy April landscape. She is relaxed; her home is immaculate, which wouldn’t be a cause for surprise except for the fact that she is on day 55 without water. Yes, without water.
In this mountainous region where I have recently moved, we have had a very severe winter. In past years, a terrible winter may have been described by how many feet of snow we had, how low the temperatures were and for how long; how many actual blizzards were endured. This year, a new dimension was added to the descriptors of how severe the winter is—how many homes were without water. So far, 90 homes in a town of only 5,300 people.
For those of us raised on the need to wash our hair daily, use a towel only once, and go through several daily clothing changes, this would seem like torture.
Rethinking How You Live
How has my friend survived this? She has rethought how she needs to live, and she’s adapted, much as I have been suggesting you do with your girly thoughts, that toxic self-talk that deprives you of energy, focus, and self-worth.
Instead of being ruled by societal standards of how things should be, of how she should be, she has redefined all sorts of social standards, everything from asking friends to use the restroom before they come to her home to wearing clothes more than once, from making weekly trips to the laundromat (a necessity as she cannot use her washer) to taking sponge baths made from heated bottled water instead of the luxurious daily shower she previously enjoyed.
Try an Adventure: No girly thoughts
How is she faring? She feels free, cut loose from constraints she wasn’t even aware she was laboring under. She’s having an adventure. She is having fun!
And she has stopped worrying about her girly thoughts, like:
- needing the right paper products for everyday use since she can’t wash dishes—instead, she has a dinner party and enjoys the company of friends.
- worrying if she looks “fat” in her jeans—instead, she’s happy just to have clean clothes.
- keeping her husband happy and stress free—instead, she realizes he’s in this with her.
And she has found gifts in some unlikely places:
- many friends have offered their homes to her for bathing and laundry.
- the generosity of the heating company that brings daily water to feed her furnace and leaves some extra water to use to flush her toilets.
- her own skill in narrowing down where the frozen pipes might be.
If living without running water can do that for her, imagine what stopping your daily self-sabotage with your girly thoughts can do for you!
Try this for one day, and let me know how this goes for you.
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
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.