It’s summer, and you’re enjoying shedding the coat, boots, and scarf. You want to feel the air blowing your hair and sunlight on your skin. But, you consider, how much skin should you be showing?
You want to feel the freedom that comes with summer, but not necessarily feel like you are dressing unprofessionally, or even too provocatively in your free time. Why? Because your sexuality is something you are often shamed for, so you try to protect yourself by how you decide to dress.
Judging Yourself—Your Girly Thoughts
Face it. You are on a tightrope, balancing between what may be acceptable and trying to figure out if you have a right to enjoy your body. This inner struggle results in your own toxic, inner dialogue as you second-guess the way you dress, even judge your friends’ choices, and in essence do to yourself what society does to you: try to be perfect . . . whatever that means.
To help you get a handle on this, I’ve named this type of negative thinking girly thoughts. Why? So can you identify when you are having these toxic monologues and stop them!
Dressing for Work with Your Girly Thoughts
If you are like many of us, you carefully consider what to wear to work. You want to look good—but not too good. You want to look professional (read “not sexy”) but you also want to look fashionable—a careful balance. Why do you put yourself through this every day?
Because you never again want to feel caught in the double bind of feeling good because you look good while being treated as a piece of meat by the men around you, especially men you need to respect you.
The result: a heap of discarded clothing on your bed as you begin your day—stressed, doubting your looks, and maybe even late.
Dressing for Fun with Your Girly Thoughts
What about after work? Here you may give yourself permission to dress sexy, but even as you prepare to go out, you probably hold yourself back. Why? Because you don’t want to look like you are asking for IT! As if you can carefully control others simply by your dress.
The result: you are self-conscious all evening.
So . . . How Should You Dress Yourself?
- First, realize that your girly thoughts are not helpful. Clothing doesn’t make the woman. It’s how she carries herself that says it all. So dress yourself with no girly thoughts. Carry yourself with pride!
- Dress for comfort—your comfort, not guided by the fashion police, the guys, or your girly thoughts.
- Don’t take the comments or looks of others personally! Recognize that the person who is giving you a catcall in the street or sizing you up in the office has his own stuff going on. His reaction to you is about him. Not about you.
Want to share a story about how you dress yourself with no girly thoughts? Contact me through www.patriciaogorman.com.
Remember, you’ll find more ideas for getting rid of your negative self-talk in my two latest books, The Girly Thoughts 10-Day Detox Plan: The Resilient Woman’s Guide to Saying NO to Negative Self-Talk and YES to Personal Power and The Resilient Woman: Mastering The 7 Steps 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.