“Do as you’re told.”
“Sit quietly, and don’t answer back”
“Where are your manners?”
Bet you were praised for getting good grades too? Because, that’s what good girls do.
Many of us ladies were conditioned into the belief that to be valued we need to be “nice” from an early age. These beliefs may have been picked up at school, from our parents, grandparents, at church, or from any other type of social conditioning.
Now, I’m not saying that being a nice person is a bad thing—having manners and being respectful are attractive qualities.
But, being too nice toward others is really and truly problematic; it begins to affect your career, your relationships, your sense of self-worth, and your health. Your world becomes a lot more rigid.
On the outside, everything may look good; but, on the inside, you may feel a total train wreck.
Here are a few signs that you may have good girl syndrome:
>> You feel horribly guilty when saying no to someone.
>> You take up less space in everything you do.
>> You find it extremely difficult to set boundaries.
>> You always take care of other people’s needs before your own.
>> Even if you feel like utter crap, you’re always smiling.
>> You never feel good enough.
>> You’re overly responsible—you feel the need to schedule and plan everything.
>> You’re a perfectionist and an overachiever.
>> You don’t feel comfortable expressing your sexual needs.
>> You were probably labelled a “good girl” as a child.
Can you see why having these traits is a problem? Here’s why:
Because, you always come last—in everything.
If you’re being taught to keep quiet, you probably find it hard to express your wants and needs. And, of course, other people can’t guess what those are. End result? Your wants and needs are not being met, and you’re left feeling angry and resentful toward both yourself and others.
Your friend asks what restaurant you want to eat at. You say, “Oh, I don’t mind,” because you don’t want to suggest something they may not like. Your friend then picks a restaurant (that you actually hate), but now you don’t feel comfortable disagreeing with them. Now, you’re not even looking forward to the meal—and probably beating yourself up over it.
You put too much (unrealistic) pressure on yourself.
As an overachiever, you probably tell yourself you “should” more often: I should be married by now. I should have kids by now. I should have my career sorted by now.
I should have gone to the gym today. I got an “A” but I should have gotten an “A+”.
Should—I hate that word.
Growing up a “good girl” means you feel the need to get everything right the first time around. You’re scared to make mistakes. You’re scared of failure.
You need to be perfect.
But, we know that perfect doesn’t exist. So, you just never feel completely fulfilled.
You live in constant fear of judgment.
Having good girl syndrome means you feel the need to look and be perfect for others.
You need to be polite toward others; to look pretty to the rest of the world; to put on a smile; to sit like a lady; to act like a lady; to not to swear. Because that’s what men look for in a wife.
Putting on an identity that has been placed upon you feels exhausting. But, it also makes you worry about what others think about you. You end up questioning everything you do.
You fear making decisions of your own, because what if they don’t agree?
You don’t even know who you are anymore.
Being a “good girl” means your world feels limited and rigid. You’re afraid of letting others down, afraid of failure, afraid of speaking up for yourself when you’re mistreated, afraid of criticism.
So, who truly are you?
Who are you beneath all these rules set upon you?
What if you could break free from the chains? Who would you be then?
How to Break Free From Good Girl Syndrome
It’s not easy to break free from conditioning that has such deep roots in our childhood. But taking small steps will slowly get us there.
You don’t need to be “Miss Lovely” to be liked by others.
Before you make any sort of decision in your life, ask yourself these five questions:
1. Is this decision fulfilling my needs?
2. Would I be making the same decision if other people’s opinions didn’t matter at all?
3. How can I be kinder to myself?
4. Do I actually find this activity enjoyable, or am I just doing it to please others?
5. Do I really want to be around this person? How do I feel after being around them?
Setting more boundaries and putting your own needs first isn’t going to make you a bad person. It will help you to get to know yourself a bit better, help you have healthier relationships, and people will actually respect you more.
Ladies, it’s time to break the chains.
It’s time to take up space.
It’s time to speak up for yourselves.
It’s time to share an unpopular opinion.
It’s time to show off your talents.
It’s time to take off the good girl mask.