How do we as adult women heal the good girl within us so we can become the wise, wild, brave leaders we were made to be?
First we need to recognize our internal desire to be “good” and “nice”. We need to recognize that as young girls we were taught to prioritize the needs of others over our own needs. We were taught that being good was more important than being ourselves. We were taught that being nice was more important than being honest. We were taught that our value was based on just how good we were. Good girls follow the rules, good girls are helpful, good girls don’t say no, good girls are happy and smiley, good girls do what we are told, good girls do not question authority, good girls worry about the needs of others, good girls take pride in their appearance, good girls are measured in numbers, good girls are tidy and clean, good girls are concerned with being “right”, good girls don't fail, good girls learn that self-sacrifice is essential and good girls grow up to be nice women. But, our world does not need any more nice women.
We were taught: To prioritize the needs of others over our own needs.
TRUTH: Our needs are the most important needs we will ever respond to. When we respond to our own needs with love, care and attention we teach others how to respond to our needs in the same way. And we teach our children how to do the same.
We were taught: Being good is more important than being ourselves.
TRUTH: Your greatest power comes from being exactly who you are. Authenticity is your greatest asset.
We were taught: Being nice is more important than being honest.
TRUTH: Kindness is far more important than niceness. Kindness is rooted in love. Niceness is rooted in fear-fear of disapproval. Good girls are taught that they are somehow responsible for the feelings of others. They learn not to make others uncomfortable as if this is even possible. (YOU ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANOTHERS’ EMOTIONS EVER). Nice women avoid conflict. Nice women swallow their voices because they don’t want to ruffle feathers. Nice women rationalize silence by saying “it’s none of my business”. Nice women remain neutral so as to not upset anyone. Upsetting others is off limits when your value is determined by being liked. Kindness is truth filtered through the heart. Kindness stands up for injustice. Kindness asserts our own needs. Kindness prioritizes physical, emotional and mental self-care. Kindness can change the world.
We were taught: Our value is based on how good we are.
TRUTH: You are as valuable today as the day you were born. Your value does not change. You are as valuable when you feel good as when you feel bad. You are as valuable when you are supporting another as when you are needing support. You are as valuable when you make a mistake as when you succeed.
We were taught: Good girls follow the rules. Good girls do what we are told and do not question authority.
TRUTH: The rules were created in a patriarchy designed to keep women and marginalized groups out of power. The rules need to be questioned and changed.
We were taught: Good girls don’t say no. Good girls don’t get angry.
TRUTH: Saying NO is the most important boundary we will ever learn. No is a complete sentence. We owe no explanations for our No. Saying NO to things that don’t align with who you are and what you value will change your life. No I cannot help you today. No I cannot volunteer this year. No I can’t provide emotional labor for free. No I will not participate in gossip with you. No I can’t work with you. No, No, No….are you comfortable saying no? Anger is a sign that our needs are not being met. Anger has incredible value. Unexpressed anger turns into depression. The more you learn to say NO the less anger you will carry.
We were taught: Good girls are happy and smiley. Ever heard someone say “you’re too pretty to be so sad”?
TRUTH: You do not owe anyone a smile. Smiling when you are unhappy comes at an emotional cost...to yourself. It’s a way of hiding. ALL of your emotions have value.
We were taught: Good girls worry about others.
TRUTH: Worry does not equal love. Worry consumes your energy. Worry is focused attention on what you do not want to happen. Worry creates anxiety. Anxiety keeps you stuck. Women who feel stuck also feel powerless. Perpetuating worry keeps women small and distracted. Worry is a choice. Women it’s time to say goodbye to our inner worrier and connect to our inner WARRIOR.
We were taught: Good girls always need to look good. Good girls believe that how they look defines who they are.
TRUTH: YOU ARE NOT WHAT YOU LOOK LIKE. As women we spend so much time and money trying to look “good”. Keeping women focused on how they look is a brilliant strategy to keep women perpetually disempowered and distracted from important issues. Imagine what we could do with our time and money if we no longer were consumed trying to look “good”? Imagine if all women prioritized feeling good over looking good?
We were taught: Good girls are measured in numbers.
TRUTH: You are not defined by your size, your weight, your test scores, the amount of money you make, your savings account, the age you get married, the number of kids you have or don't have, the age you have kids, or the number of lovers you've had.
We were taught: Good girls are concerned with being “right”.
TRUTH: No one knows what is “right” for you. The desire to be “right” keeps you outsourcing approval and validation. Only you know what is “right” for you. “Right” is living in alignment to your essence, your values and your desires. It’s time to stop trying to be right and instead trying to be real.
We were taught: Good girls don't fail.
TRUTH: Failure is inevitable if you are human. Failure is how you learn. Fear of failure keeps good girls from taking risks. Fear of failure keeps good girls from trying new things. Fear of failure keeps good girls in their zone of excellence (what you are good at) instead of their zone of genius (your unique power). Imagine if women were willing to risk failure to do what they love and to follow a calling?
We were taught: Self-sacrifice is an essential part of being female.
TRUTH: Self-sacrifice is self-harm. As women we sacrifice our own emotional/physical/spiritual needs, our pleasure, our play, and our purpose for fear of being judged. We fear being seen as needy, emotional, sensitive, selfish, stupid, slutty, as bad mothers and on and on and on.
I am a recovering good girl who believes that conscious disruption is how women can change the world. We must bravely challenge our early conditioning and cultural norms. We must disrupt our own patterns of people pleasing, perfectionism, emotional repression, and self-sacrifice. This shift and healing begins inside each of us. This is how we break generational patterns of pain. This is how we heal the Mother Wound that our mothers inherited from their mothers, grandmothers, great grandmothers and on an on. Dance is my conscious disruption. This is my sacred activism.