By Jane Wyker
‘Good Girl’ is always a damaging role, never an expression of the authentic self. It is usually taken on in childhood, an unconscious choice to accommodate others’ wishes in an attempt to feel loved. ‘Good girls’ may receive approval for their giving, but approval is not love. It is earned. Love is a free gift.
If you’re unsure whether you fall into the ‘good girl’ category, here are a few signs to take note of:
- ‘Good Girls’ are givers. Through years of living with this pattern, it is likely that they gradually lose connection with their own desires. Since their focus is on others, ‘good girls’ do not receive nor ask for much. Even when still in touch with their emotions and physical sensations, they give little importance to them, as they continue to seek love from outside.
- ‘Good girls’ do not know their value. They are emotionally dependent, seeing their worth through others’ responses. When others are pleased with them, they feel happy. When not, they are upset and try harder. Since ‘good girls’ do not have an authentic “no” available to them, their “yes” is often inauthentic.
Their relatives and friends expect them to give, not require much upkeep, nor make any waves. Yet their giving is taken for granted — “She always takes care of this” or “These ’goodies’ just happen to be there.”
‘Good girls’ are usually well liked because they are obliging and typically effective. But watch out when they start giving more to themselves and prioritize others’ expectations less. Then they are commonly met with resentment.
- ‘Good girls’ have little energy for their own needs and desires. Since they are so externally focused, they do not give sufficient energy to develop their individual talents and fulfill their wants, nor do they know how to create balanced, healthy relationships. They lose touch with what they need, giving little priority to their individual pleasure.
When asked: ’What do you want?’ they often have no answer, uncomfortable with focusing on themselves. They might defer to the asker by saying: “I don’t know. What do you think? “What do you want?”
Over time, ‘good girls’ often feel trapped, tired and hopeless. Their imbalance in giving and receiving creates physical exhaustion, sexual disinterest and emotional frustration. Repressed anger can explode, and when this happens, the ‘good girl’ often turns that anger against herself, sometimes leading to depression.
Can you see why is it so important to break those chains?
I have painted a stark picture of this role, one I know well. After much introspection, I was understood that I made this self-depriving choice, and why I did it. Rather than blaming others for my feelings of victimhood and deprivation, I finally owned that it was my choice to be a ‘good girl,’ believing it was the best way to receive the attention and love I wanted from my parents, and later from my first husband.
With frequent chaos in my childhood family, ‘good girl’ was how I made a place for myself. I had no idea that loving myself needed to come first, and would then overflow to others. I had no idea that this is true for all of us.
For me, love is the most important thing in life. It is what makes me happiest, most peaceful and grateful. Self-love has become my reliable focus, and I’ve come to understand that it is the first step towards genuinely loving others.
People will love you some of the time, and withhold love at other times. You have no control over that. Yet you can always take a moment to love yourself, support, acknowledge, appreciate and be kind to yourself. If you can’t, you can be self-loving enough to ask a dear friend for support, take a walk in nature, listen to music, connect with your body in dance or exercise, pet your dog, do a beauty treatment, cry, listen to your thoughts, journal or hug a loved one. If you are spiritually inclined, you can pray or meditate.
The more you make self-loving choices, the less you will act out your ‘good girl’ role.
- The more you will see yourself as an empowered woman.
- The more you will listen for your desires and prioritize them.
- The more you will be aware of your “no” and speak it.
- The more you will be able to authentically say “yes.”
- The more you will express your creativity and own your beauty and sensuality.
The ‘good girl’ role may have been your choice, yet isn’t it time to evolve into the fully alive, beautiful, creative, sensual, powerful woman you were born to be?
Jane Wyker is a former family counselor, author, mother, teacher and spiritual explorer. Her debut memoir, Soul Selfish: The Awakening of a “Good Girl,” illustrates her journey of becoming aware, learning to focus on personal feelings and desires as well as meeting the needs of family, friends and community. For more information, please visit www.janewyker.com.