PLATTSBURGH — Women often allow "girly thoughts" to sabotage their lives and careers.
That was part of the message as nationally recognized psychologist and author Dr. Patricia O'Gorman addressed a packed house at A Celebration of Women in Business, held recently at the West Side Ballroom.
She said women too frequently internalize social conventions such as a perceived need to be thinner, prettier, younger or less assertive.
"This is how as women we dis-empower ourselves," O'Gorman told her audience.
Those thoughts at work set up a negative internal dialogue, she said, which can cause women to turn from who they are and even to self-medicate, whether with unhealthy food, alcohol, drugs or even too much exercise.
It is also one of the reasons there is more depression among women than men, she said.
Women frequently fall into one of two categories, she said.
The "too" group, she explained, is made up of those who feel they are too big, too strong or too assertive to be loved, while the "not enough" group is made up of those who feel they are too short or have smaller physical attributes.
While men and women focus on getting the job done in the workplace, women also dwell on how they are seen as they do so.
Both sexes tend to juggle work with other thoughts. For women, those are likely to be the kids, laundry and other housework, while for men it's more likely to be sports and sex, she said.
If a man shows up at work with his child's spit-up on his clothes, O'Gorman offered as an example, people think it's wonderful he helped with the baby.
If a woman does the same, the reaction is more likely to be: 'Why didn't she change her clothes?