Radical Advice: Being Good Doesn’t Inoculate You From Sh*t

IMG_3872First things first,  I mostly conform to conventional mores.  And I teach my own kids to be good and obedient.  A measure of compliance is, of course, beneficial and valuable.

As women we’ve likely been trained to be easy to get along with and nice.  This may help us feel safe– predictable, and controlled.  Many of us exhaust ourselves keeping up with the ideal of what being good looks like.  And who the heck has time for that?

Yes, being kind, compassionate and generous is important.  Being modest, humble or self-effacing, however, is overrated and does not inoculate us from sh*t. We are still imperfect.  We still experience adversity.  We still suffer.

We lose out by carrying the pressure to be “good” into adulthood.

For instance, the over-achieving, people pleasing, polite persona that I project to the world doesn’t always serve me.  And it sure hasn’t inoculated me from heartache, from making mistakes, or from my share of difficulty.  It has certainly helped me get credentialed, helped me keep a job, helps me get along with others.  But this limited view of goodness hasn’t made me happy or free or even safe.

 My impulses, my callings, my passions have led me to satisfaction and happiness.    And these desires have very little to do with being good, acceptable or respectable.

The areas of my life where I feel most connected, alive and happy have come from a creative drive.

My children were certainly not conceived during a good girl moment.  They were conceived in love and desire (and maybe some lust too).

My motivation to become an educator was inspired by an ambition to challenge inequity.  No one around me thought I should become a teacher.  I became one out of an objection to  injustice.

My work as a coach is emboldened by my motivation to heal and connect with other women.  I had to pursue this path without the approval or permission of those closest to me.

As a dancer I risk criticism, judgement and failure.  (And I’ll let you ask anyone who comes to my dance classes whether we act like good girls or not.)

To live a more full life:

I had to resist notions of what it looks like being a good girl. 

I had to rebel. 

I had to do my own thing.  

I still find myself letting my good girl persona taking over.  I feel shame when my sassy, bold, bitchy self emerges, uninvited and unannounced. I’m reminded that life is way more meaningful, profound and satisfying when I say screw the good girl stuff.

If being good doesn’t inoculate me from sh*t I might was well risk living a full life.

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