The Curse of the Good Girl

December 20, 2010 at 3:13 am (Uncategorized)

Recently I began digging into a bunch of books about the culture of girls.  As a result of a difficult situation with a friend, I really began examining what I have learned over the years (especially the growing-up years) about friendship, conflict, and being nice.  Once I was willing to dig, the Universe seemed willing to lend me some support.

The journey began when I saw an ad for a workshop with Rosalind Wiseman, author of Queen Bees and Wannabes.  I bought the book to see what she was about  and quickly decided I wanted to hear her speak. The decision to go to the conference may seem like a no-brainer, especially since there was a little voice in my head telling me “This will change your life.” However, I really struggled with feeling selfish for taking a day for myself because it meant I would have to depend on several other people to shuffle my kids between multiple schools and take care of them until evening. Imposing on others goes against my good girl nature.

My husband, annoyed with my inability to make a decision, encouraged me in his oh-so-Nathan way: “Go and be awesome or stay home and be lame.” Who was I to argue with that?

After the workshop I came home and did some research about Rosalind and the organizations I learned about while I was there.  Rosalind had a brief endorsement for a book called “The Curse of the Good Girl, ” and again I had a”this will change your life” feeling.  Although I had not ever defined “The Curse,” I knew I had been living under it for my whole life.

So how do you know if you are also living under The Curse?  Rachel gives us some clues.  We are a victims of The Curse when being nice is our primary goal.  We are a victims when we believe that we don’t have the right to complain when people who are supposed to care for us treat us badly. We are under it’s spell when we don’t ask for what we want or stand up for we believe in out of fear of making other people angry, or when we guilt and shame ourselves for experiencing intense anger or hurt.  We are under The Curse when we turn to food or alcohol or any other sort of drug to numb our emotions instead of feeling them and dealing with them.  The Curse is operating when we act as if someone else’s opinion is more important than our own and when we silence ourselves as a result. It is operating when we believe conflict will ruin a relationship and when we avoid confrontation to keep peace, even if we are the one being hurt.  We are manifesting The Curse when we make assumptions about why people are doing what they are doing instead of asking them. It has a grip on us any time we think we are responsible for someone else’s happiness (or lack of it.)  The Curse encourages us to minimize our talents in order to be more likable. It says, “Don’t try that.  You might fail,” and it hijacks our personality causing us to act differently then we want act in order to please another person.  The Curse tricks us into thinking that perfection is an attainable goal.

Yep.  I can relate to a lot of these,  and I sure as hell don’t want The Curse to take hold of my daughters.  I want them to be what Rachel calls “Real Girls.”

“A Real Girl stays connected to a strong inner core of her thoughts, feelings, and desires.  She is able not only to listen to who she is but to act on it.  She maintains a critical balance:  she can manage the needs of others without sacrificing the integrity of her own.  A Real Girl can defend her interests in a relationship or advocate on her own behalf.  Where a Good Girl might meet someone and automatically hope she is likable, a Real Girl will reflect on what she thinks and feels about the other person before deciding what to do next.” (10)

Both Rosalind’s and Rachel’s books show us how to cultivate our daughter’s Real Girl identity.  As we help our daughters we can heal ourselves.

Back when Nathan and I used to attend the Church of Today in Warren, I was always captivated by it’s leader, Marianne Williamson.  Marianne was outspoken and passionate.  She was sexy and spiritual.  She was vulnerable and powerful. She was loved by many and hated by many.  She was injured and she was strong.  Heck, she was Jewish but teaching about Jesus.  Marianne was ying and yang, a whole spectrum of a woman yet centered in who she was. Here is one of my favorite quotes:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Let’s not raise another generation of girls who play it small in order to earn acceptance from others.  Let’s raise a generation of Real Girls raised by Real Moms.  If you choose to read this book and want someone to discuss it with, please, PLEASE let me know.  I’d love to discuss it with you.  Peace to you all!

Permalink 2 Comments