09 April 2015

Unlearning the Good Girl Syndrome

Being a good girl.

For a certain portion of my life I have prided myself on being a "good girl." 

I thought that was what mattered most in life and so I aimed to succeed at being a great good girl. I defined goodness in two ways. First, my "goodness" was based on if I did or didn't do certain actions or behaviors. In my mind, good girl's were those who didn't do the following: drink excessively, smoke weed, do drugs, have sex before marriage, wore slips under their skirts, and always sat like a lady. 
This was the message I had told myself over many years, and only until the last few months have acknowledged that and begun to unlearn those lies.

Looking back on that list now, I see how judgmental and even legalistic this mindset is. To base my worth on what I do or don't do is not healthy...not to mention how I looked down on others who didn't meet these "good girl" standards and expectations.  I held myself to such high standards, and held others at times to even higher expectations. 
In a way, I used to think that being a "good girl" was THE most important thing in life. For a lot years, I hide behind the facade of my "goodness" and lived under a system I came up with myself about my worth. I wore a mask that on the outside always had a bright, smiling face, but on the inside was empty.

Second, I based my goodness on how much I did and hiding behind my good performance. Likewise, I thought goodness meant it was important to be liked, follow what other people's expectations were of me, and to not rock the boat at all possible cost. I knew and had people telling me my best was enough, but somewhere deep down it wasn't for me. 

And so I kept trying harder and harder, it was like my best efforts were not enough for my own high expectations. I was chasing perfection at all cost instead of holding myself to a standard of grace. Eventually, chasing perfect will wear you down. 

It did for me.
I shouldn't do this, of course.
I know where my value and worth comes from.

I can see how I have been plagued by this perspective that has me ever striving toward a make believe notion of good enough. When at the end of the day, I am good enough just the way I am. Flaws, sass, and sins all combined...there is more to life than just being a good girl. 

I am tired of chasing perfection in life. And so slowly, I am unlearning all the crazy, unhealthy lies I trained myself to believe for so many years. Unlearning the good girl, just try harder life is freeing.
So stop trying. Stop hiding behind the good girl mask. Hold yourself to a standard of grace, not perfection. Because that's what God calls all of us to, grace and not perfection.

Any other recovering good girls out there?! How did focusing on just being a "good girl" wear your soul out? What area's in your life do you need to stop chasing perfection?

This book has been encouraging for me as I continue to unlearn the good girl syndrome

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  1. Oh my goodness, YES! I will definitely be checking out that book. Thank you so much for this post - it really resonates with my soul.

  2. Everything about this is excellent. I was given that book not too long ago, but I've never had a chance to read it... Maybe I should make the time.

    The Starving Inspired

  3. I resonate with so much of this post. I always felt the need to be the good girl, do everything right, get good grades, not do bad things and sometimes I feel like I missed out on life because I was so worried about not being good I'm now this boring person. Some may be true and some may not be true I don't know. I heard Emily speak a few years ago and she was excellent. I will have to add this book to my list.

  4. thank you for this post...it resonates (^^)


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