First things first, I teach my own kids to be “good” and conform. A measure of compliance is, of course, important and valuable.
But what do we lose by carrying that pressure to be “good” into adulthood?
If you’re a woman you’ve likely been trained to be easy to get along with and “nice”. This keeps us safe, predictable, and controlled. We exhaust ourselves keeping up with this ideal of what it means to be good. And who the heck has time for that?
The over-achieving, people pleasing, polite persona that I project to the world doesn’t always serve me. Sure, it’s helped me get credentialed, helped me keep a job, helps me get along with others. But it hasn’t made me happy or free or even safe.
In fact, I had a revelation the other day:
What gives me most satisfaction I discovered through an impulse that had nothing to do with being good.
The areas of my life where I feel most connected and alive derive from a creative drive.
- My children were certainly not conceived during a good girl moment. They were conceived in love (and maybe some lust too).
- My motivation to become an educator was inspired by a desire to change things. No one around me thought I should become a teacher. I became one out of an objection to inequality and injustice.
- My work as a coach is emboldened by my desire to heal and connect with other women. I had to pursue this path without the approval or permission of those closest to me.
- To become a dance instructor I risked criticism. (And I’ll let you ask anyone who comes to my classes whether we act like good girls or not.)
To live a more full life:
I had to resist being a good girl. I had to rebel. I had to do my own thing.
I still find myself letting the good girl persona taking over. I feel shame when my sassy, bold, bitchy self emerges, uninvited and unannounced.
I no longer care about making Santa’s naughty or nice list. I’m reminded that life is way more meaningful, profound and satisfying when I say screw the good girl stuff.