Are you ‘the good girl’?
I work with my clients a lot around the roles we learn to take on when we’re young. The most common of these in women I work with is ‘the people pleaser’.
But there are frequently other roles at play as well.
One common one is the good girl.
The good girl is encouraged (often subconsciously by caregivers, and therefore there is no judgement whatsoever on this) to be exactly that – good.
This might have been something like this:
- Do as you’re told
- Stop disagreeing with me
- Don’t be a disappointment
- Lower your voice
- Be more ‘meek and mild’
- Think about others before yourself
In other words, to ‘play small’.
As Glennon Doyle states in her book Untamed:
“When we are little girls, our families, teachers and peers insist that our loud voices, bold opinions, and strong feelings are ‘too much’ and ‘unladylike’, so we learn not to trust our personalities…
We lock away our true selves. Women who are best at this disappearing act earn the highest praise: She is so selfless“.Glennon Doyle; Untamed
It might show up as not having a strong opinion; having a high, ‘girly’ voice (yes, many women speak in a higher pitch or can be more breathy when they speak, which is also just something they’ve learnt)). There’s often a high functioning anxiety, trying to get everything ‘right’.
If you resonate with being a good girl, you’re probably worn out by it. It’s tiring. It requires you to ignore who you truly are, day after day, to be the good girl.
And what you wouldn’t even realise, is that this is not you. It’s just a role you learnt to play when you were young to feel accepted, and like you belonged and that you were loved. Which is what every child needs to feel.
If you didn’t feel enough just as you were (without being quieter or ‘don’t you dare raise your voice at me’ or don’t be so bossy or ‘don’t get too big for your boots’, then the role was absolutely crucial to avoid the toxic shame that would have been unavoidable if you didn’t have the role.
The good girl helped you to step into a character, just like an actress, and become her so you didn’t need to feel shame at not being ‘enough’.
So what’s the good news for the good girl?
Well, just like the people pleaser there will be parts of the good girl that you want to keep.
Maybe it gives you compassion, or you’re really kind. Maybe following the rules means you don’t end up with parking tickets!
On the other hand, there are likely to be aspects to the good girl that aren’t serving you any more:
- Feeling like you have lost a sense of your true self
- Being selfless has it’s drawbacks, both in time and energy
- Having low boundaries that don’t support you will likely mean that you put up with things you’re not happy about
Have a think about what you’d like to leave behind. And what aspects of the good girl you’d love to keep.
Be curious, kind and compassionate with yourself in this process.
All of this has been completely subconscious, so how could you possibly do it any differently?
Just knowing that you have a choice, at any age, to let go of what’s not working for you, and to get back to the authentic version of you is enough.
If you’d like to find out how to release the role that is no longer serving you and find out more about working together via 1:1 coaching and mentoring, I offer a one-off Clarity Session – simply get in touch and we can book it in for you 🙂
If this piqued your interest in this topic, you might also enjoy Who Were You At 2? (Connecting With Your Inner Child).Tags: empowerment Inner child Mindset Coaching transformational coaching