What are you doing with your life?
Have you hit a quarter-life crisis? Is the Big 3-0 looming large? Are you hearing from friends,
family, and everyone around you that you're "supposed to":
--Have a fabulous career
--Be financially independent
--Be married with children
--Have your own home
--Enjoy a busy social life
--Have a great body
--AND do it all right?
You are not alone. Women in their twenties and early thirties face greater pressure to succeed than
ever before. And those who don't "have it all" can be left feeling guilty, full of doubt, and resentful.
In Who Cares What You're Supposed to Do?, nationally acclaimed clinical psychologist Victoria Dickerson
lifts the pressure to "fit in" by showing you how to:
Decide what you -- rather than society, family, or friends -- really want out of life
Say "no" to self-doubt -- and diminish its power over you
Challenge the cultural expectations that pressure you to conform
Acknowledge and take pride in your unique abilities and accomplishments
Create a support community that shares your values and accentuates your strengths
Who Cares What You're Supposed to Do? shows women how to put pressures and expectations into perspective
and see them as the wonderful options and opportunities they can be.
* * * * * * * * * *
Whats Your Confidence Level about How You Look?
by Victoria Dickerson, Ph.D., author of Who Cares What you're Supposed to do?
Look Good, Be Thin is an expectation that affects us all. How we look is inextricably connected to
how we feel about ourselves. Of course we want to always look our best.
But . . . how do you really feel about how you look?
You feel fat, your stomach bulges, your butts too big.
Your thighs and arms are flabby.
Nothing fits right.
Your hair is just wrong.
Youre super sensitive to what your boyfriend says.
You think others are looking at you.
You endlessly compare yourself to other women.
Plus there are countless recipes for success, to make you feel better, to look good, be thin. There
are articles that say: get slim (by tonight) and tips from the top ten celebs on how to dress, to look
No wonder youre obsessed about your appearance. In a Garry Trudeau Doonesbury comic strip, a young
woman staring at a bathing suit magazine says to her friend, Look at these models. Wouldnt it be
cool to look that gorgeous? To which her friend replies, Well, yes, but you have to remember that
their body type is not actually found in nature. Becoming the new feminine ideal requires just the
right amount of insecurity, bulimia, and surgery.
How could there be a solution to what the message Look Good, Be Thin implies?
Weighing just the right amount, having a fit body, the right clothes, make-up, and hair style all may
seem like a solutionbut it isnt. Because, as you already know, nothing is ever right.
The problem isnt how you think you look, its the self-doubt.
The first step is to conquer the self-doubt.
Here are ten tips on how to do that:
1) Notice that the expectation about how you are supposed to look gets you to constantly
compare yourself to others.
2) Pay attention to how this expectation exerts control over the decisions you make about
your eating habits, fashion picks, workout plans, and so on.
3) See how your constant concern over your appearance negatively influences the way you
think about yourself and leads to an ongoing experience of self-doubt.
4) Watch how the obsession about how you look interferes with your relationships.
5) Understand that the expectation to look a certain way may isolate you and often gets
you to act with insincerity toward others.
6) Ask yourself if you really want these pressures in your life.
7) Notice when you are engaged in activities or events that give your life meaning and
during which how you look or what you eat become a non-issue.
8) Make distinctions between when you are doing something that feels good to you and when
you are caught by how you think you are supposed to look or feel.
9) Reconnect with what you do in your body that has always felt good: like dancing or doing
yoga or swimming or playing tennis or whatever.
10) Delight in what delights you.
Remember that battling the expectation to look a certain way is life long, because we live in a
culture where appearance is important. But you dont have to let it create self-doubt. You can be
in the drivers seat and decide for yourself what works for you. You can live with confidence!
Victoria Dickerson, Ph.D., has been a nationally acclaimed clinical psychologist for more than
twenty-five years, specializing in working with women in their twenties and early thirties. She
presents workshops and lectures extensively throughout the country.
Her book Who Cares What You're Supposed to Do? - Breaking the Rules to Get What You Want in Love,
Live, and Work is available at all major booksellers.
For more information, please visit,
Copyright 2004 Victoria Dickerson Ph.D.