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HOW TO END GOOD GIRL SYNDROME
Hello, Lovie, and welcome back to The RS Blog. May I ask you a question? Have you ever found yourself doing something without really understanding why you are doing it – especially if it is something you don’t want to do? In this post, we are tackling this situation. It is rooted in what I call “Good Girl Syndrome”, and I hope to give us some tools to combat this. Doing so will free us to write a better story for our lives.
WHAT IS GOOD GIRL SYNDROME?
Do you remember as a young girl being told to “be a good girl”? As we moved through our formative years we were given many verbal and non-verbal rules for what constituted being a good girl. As a result, it isn’t unusual to find ourselves women driven by a narrative that tells us who we have to be and how we have to move. We have unknowingly been held prisoner to something I call Good Girl Syndrome. This is the phenomenon where we move about our lives with this measuring stick of goodness being the deciding factor in what we do. We have this invisible checklist of behaviors that someone has decided makes us “good”, and if we move outside this list, then a shame storm slams us with a debilitating force. We weren’t given an option of opting out of this pattern and trying to extricate ourselves from it can be a real challenge.
HOW TO SPOT GOOD GIRL SYNDROME
I believe most of us would prefer to be women who write their own stories based on what we want and value. Hopefully, together we will work to unpack this and chart a new path forward. If you want to stop being driven by a list of what others define as good, then it is time to start deconstructing old narratives to see where your truth lives. This will free you to write a new story where shame avoidance isn’t a driving factor for behavior.
Many of the women I have worked with have come to realize they live their lives based on this unspoken or internalized set of rules. They aren’t even conscious of how much this “Good Girl Syndrome” is controlling their lives. When they recognize it, the first response is often anger. A fire begins to burn within them to put an end to living their life by this broken standard. And that is when we start putting an end to the Good Girl Syndrome narrative.
COLOR OUTSIDE THE LINES
When we could first hold a crayon, we were told not to color outside the lines, but can I tell you a secret? That was a lie. The truth is coloring inside the lines keeps you small. You stay in line like a good little soldier. Coloring outside the lines extends the image you are creating. You grow beyond the restrictive bounds into beautiful, expansive spaces. Those who created Good Girl Syndrome don’t want you to know what exists on the other side of the walls they have devised for you.
The entirety of your one beautiful life should exist in the spaces where you color outside the lines. You have a right and responsibility to ensure you kick Good Girl Syndrome to the curb and start living the life you choose. Now let’s talk about some ways this shows up in our lives.
GOOD GIRLS WEAR MAKEUP (insert eye-roll)
Recently it came to my attention that my need for makeup was rooted in my being a good girl. Growing up in the south it was considered vital that you “put on your face” before leaving your house. It was deemed to be a sign of respect for others that you presented yourself ready to interact with others. There was a small part of this that was based on perceived beauty. You didn’t want for someone to have to say, “bless her heart,” because you looked like something they would say the cat dragged in. Once I started wearing makeup I didn’t leave my house without it until I was 45 and had moved to a new state where no one knew me. I didn’t have to worry that I wasn’t presentable since there was zero chance I would run into anyone I knew. When I realized this, I was smacked with the madness of it. The reality of this unspoken rule is that no one is fit to see others if they aren’t camera ready. That is MADNESS!
GOOD GIRLS DON'T TRUST THEIR INTUITION
I remember an episode from Oprah where she spoke about intuition. She showed the dangers of women ignoring their intuition. We all know stories when someone ignored their gut and ended up in trouble. Then she showed how life-saving it could be to listen to it. I vividly remember a mom listening to her instinct when a stranger came upon her and her daughter. She was able to secure them both from this stranger and later found out this person was a serial rapist. Listening to her intuition saved her and her daughter from untold horror.
Our intuition is given to us so we can be tuned into our instincts and follow our guts. Unfortunately, good girl syndrome pounds this out of us by convincing us we can’t trust ourselves. There is this overt messaging that we are too emotional, and as a result, we need a man to keep us safe from harm. This ideology is problematic for so many reasons, but the biggest is that it plants an internal oppressor in our souls. It is this captor inside us who feeds the not enough shame machine. Today we will begin to put an end to this broken pathology.
LET'S END THIS MADNESS
When you equip others, you prepare them mentally for a particular situation or task. It involves building a toolbox to ensure they have what is needed to move forward and transform their lives. This toolbox provides tactics and strategies for a myriad of circumstances they could face. It prepares you for all possibilities ahead. When you are fully equipped, you learn to encourage and empower yourself bringing you even closer to your transformation.
There are many tools to equip you, and I wanted to share a few top ones here. First, create a list of things that motivate you. Knowing a compelling why for wanting your transformation is vital here. You should also have a system of assessing, adjusting, and evaluating. It takes courage to ask the hard questions but they yield a great reward. Another powerful tool is to define your active core values. They will guide your decisions and are key to successful, lasting transformation.
Here is the process we are going to follow:
- Come present to your life in every moment
- Remember you are brave enough to face whatever it is you find
- Assess whether it is something you truly value or if you need to replace it with a better path
If you follow this process, you will become aware of areas where your choices are based on Good Girl Syndrome. Once you are aware, you can write a new narrative – one where you make the rules for living your own story and stop being controlled by this ridiculous set of rules.
HOW ENDING THIS WILL FEEL
If you apply this process consistently, you will:
- Put an end to Good Girl Syndrome
- Gain an understanding of why you do what you do
- Become clear on how you want to move
- Make choices that align with who you choose to be
- Move forward writing your own narrative
Listen to the full podcast episode at the link above for more details. Let’s start identifying times when we operating from Good Girl Syndrome instead of following our own intuition and aligning with our core values.
THE FINAL WORD ON GOOD GIRL SYNDROME
I am so passionate about ending Good Girl Syndrome. I don’t want another generation of women being held prisoner by this silent disease. When this silent narrative has driven you for decades, it will take time to design a new way of being. I have watched other women work through this process. It has taken a lot of deconstructing, and I am still finding areas where Good Girl Syndrome controls the narrative of my decisions. Having worked on this myself and helped other women begin their journey of deconstruction, I know freedom is possible. If we can all bash Good Girl Syndrome and start ruling our own lives, you can, too, Lovie. If you need help, don’t hesitate to reach out via DM or book a free consultation on my website. Let’s defeat this so no other woman has to fight the same battle.
Until next time, remember, I am in it WITH you, always,