A nice girl? How often have we heard this growing up (by our well-meaning parents and teachers) and somehow wanted to be one to ‘fit in’. Be nice. Be considerate. Good girls don’t raise their voices. I am sure you can add a few of your own. This image of what girls should be like pervades society’s views of us. Research shows us that people think women are most desirable when they are soft and this bias is hard to shake.
The problem with being a good girl is that it is a label that may have helped us feel better as young people or somehow safer. The legacy of that belief, however, is still reaching into our lives decades later and affecting our behaviour – particularly towards ourselves and our desires. And the worst ‘thinking flaw’ we carry, in my opinion, is the way ‘being a good girl has conditioned us to wait for some ‘distant right time’ because that waiting is keeping us ‘stuck’.
This blog is about the nice girl’s noose around her neck. The need to be good is stopping us from showing our true selves and taking charge of our lives.
So, what do nice girls do that stops real girls living life on their terms? Can you see yourself in any of these behaviours?
Don’t upset the apple cart.
What will people think if I make a scene or have a different viewpoint? A good girl goes out of her way to please everyone; she hates to see people upset and has difficulty in saying no even if it’s an inconvenience or something that they don’t agree with. She thinks she will wait till a better time to do what she wants or to tell someone what she is thinking.
Blessed are the peacemakers.
Are you the mediator or peacemaker? You know then that you are the one who takes everyone aside to ‘chat and hear them out’ to keep the peace and avoid confrontation, who makes allowances for poor behaviour and tries to persuade ‘niceness’ in others – think fathers and children or co-workers. You spend a lot of time trying to make sure everybody is happy (even if you aren’t) and doing your best to keep your opinions to yourself and not take sides. Once again, you are always waiting for a better time.
Nothing’s wrong. I’m ok.
Never asking for help – you are always smiling, always ok. I bet you never want to worry anyone or put someone else out by needing help. Afterall you need to be strong for everyone else. You are everyone else’s rock. One day your time will come when the kids grow up or your friends are in a better place or your boss is less stressed. One day…waiting…
The world is not fair.
And that makes your heart break. Afterall isn’t there supposed to be some sort of reward for being a good girl? How can someone criticize your efforts to keep everyone happy – you are the good girl, right? There’s a lot of despair and self- blaming here – even for things that any right-minded person would know was out of your control. And criticism becomes your Achilles heel – it can bring you down quickly and keep your self-esteem and confidence low. This in turn keeps you stuck and keeps you from thinking about you and what you want because you are wondering whether you are really deserving in the first place.
How long will you really wait and do you know what you’re waiting for?
All of these beliefs lead you to one place. The place I call ‘stuck’. And it’s usually not a fun place to be. None of the feelings in ‘stuck’ are nice – maybe you feel overwhelmed? Burn out? Sad? Depressed? Unworthy? I could go on. And so, we put off life. We wait. We wait to be recognised for being good; we hang on other’s points of view and don’t trust our own judgement for ourselves. We have a million really good excuses that are very plausible for staying in situations that are never about our dreams. But they are the right thing to do. Kid’s first, right? Partners first, right? Being a good daughter, right? Being a good employee? Tick.
What if being a good girl doesn’t mean always self-sacrificing? What if it is time to put your good girl away and starting being a real girl? Look around you – is there anyone you know whether personally or in the media who is thought of as kind and generous but also lives their life on their terms? This is possible for you too. I promise you that your wonderfulness is more than just how much of a good girl you are. It’s taking everything you’ve ever wanted for yourself and making it happen and sharing that goodness with those you love.
So next time you find yourself needing to be the good girl and feeling compromised on the inside – try asking yourself: what else could I do now in this situation that would support me as much as others? What if I disagreed or said no? Is that really a deal-breaker? What if I let others sort themselves out? Let your mind start thinking of different options and tap into the feelings these other ways of operating brings up – when you start feeling lighter – then you are getting to some good alternatives.
If you are ready to move from stuck and find out what you are really meant for in your life then click on the link below and pop into my diary for a free 30-minute no obligation chat so we can tackle your biggest challenge right now and come up with a mini-plan for moving forward from good girl to real girl.