As women, I feel we’re socialised to spend copious amounts of time and energy wondering what other people think and seeking confirmation that we are all the things we think we are or want to be. I’ve written about seeking validation in relationships on a number of occasions, but today, I want to home in on the desire to be The Good Girl.

When you’re The Good Girl, you worry about what people think of you even when they’re mistreating you.

How can you assign so much power and importance to someone when they are not acting with love, care, trust, and respect? Aside from that, it’s important to use your own judgement, gut, and instincts because not doing so is ‘bad’ for your relationship.

As The Good Girl, you worry about whether someone who didn’t value you in a relationship will value you now that it’s over.

If someone didn’t give a monkey’s in the relationship, though, why will they now that you’re out of it?

The Good Girl worries about being liked by her peers.

You worry about keeping the peace so end up avoiding conflict and compromising yourself and/or compromising too soon.

Conflict is a necessary part of life and it’s unavoidable. This doesn’t mean we have to create conflict for conflict’s sake but we must recognise and accept that conflicts can and will arise. If we seek to avoid, pre-empt, or resolve quickly without full acknowledgement of what caused the conflict, we’re compromised.

The Good Girl worries about failing but is equally worried about being successful and how others will perceive it.

This puts you in no man’s land. How can this be a good thing if you live in fear and limit yourself over the what-ifs and maybes while these very people get on with their own lives? If people don’t want to see you happy and successful, they’re not people who should be in your life.

As The Good Girl, you worry about about doing the ‘right’ thing. Unfortunately, because of your negative beliefs about you, your idea of what’s ‘right’ often means doing wrong by you.

Is it really the right thing to not only allow someone to act without love, care, trust, and respect towards you but to also mistreat yourself in the name of being ‘right’?

The Good Girl adopts other people’s values but doesn’t stop to re-evaluate when something causes pain or to be out of alignment with her values.

Your values are personal. You can’t take on values that don’t represent you and that you don’t believe in. While religious beliefs, for example, can be important and represent values, it’s crucial to make sure they’re congruent with your values and beliefs. If you don’t, you’ll be conflicted, and that serves no-one–not you, your religion or who you believe in.

As The Good Girl, you think about what they think, feel, and do, and what they need, desire and want, and neglect to ask yourself if any of these things are in line with what you think, feel, and do, and what you need, desire, and want.

Take the focus off them and bring it back to you. While you’re being ‘good’ you’re not looking to check whether you actually feel good. Men, for example, are not the centre of the universe. If they’re thinking about themselves, and you’re thinking about them, who’s thinking about you? You can be ‘good’ and love yourself at the same time.

The Good Girl worries about how things ‘look’ even though she doesn’t see things as they are as she’s too busy dining off illusions.

How can you even start to get real if you’re cloaked in illusions and basing your perception of things on half-truths and a big imagination? If you’re unwilling to see how things look, why worry about how it may look to others? They might actually be seeing it in a real light.

The Good Girl tries to see the best in people and only focuses on the ‘good points’ even if these are only 5% of the person.

It’s not ‘good’ to be so blinded and narrowly focused about people. Ignoring the reality of a person is not only foolhardy but extremely disrespectful to the other person, which is not that good at all. You’re seeking to ignore everything that doesn’t suit, so you can keep dreaming and be ‘good’.

As The Good Girl, you focus on what you have in common instead of looking at the person as a whole and checking the impact of what you don’t have in common.

It’s good to see the commonality. It’s crucial, though, to see the differences but also to see the whole person in context. Whatever the commonality is may be weak, and it’s not enough to foster a relationship or to keep trying if the differences are even greater and potentially damaging.

The Good Girl wants to be loved even though she doesn’t love herself very much or at all. She claims to love others ‘unconditionally’ but ends up loving and trusting blindly and loving without limits.

You’ll eventually see that good love starts at home with the unconditional love of yourself. This totally changes the type of people and relationships that you’ll seek out and be comfortable with.

We want to be The Good Girl, that woman who plods on beaming a smile while crying internally. She keeps on being nice, kind, generous, understanding, likeable, turning a blind eye, and seeing the world through rose-tinted glasses.

The Good Girl is ever-loving, ever-forgiving, ever-trying, ever-nice. No matter how long someone disappears for or the mistreatment, when they emerge from their rolling stone, she’s there. And when this person says things will be different for the 50th time, she believes them.

The Good Girl loves and trusts blindly because she wants to believe the best in every situation and person, even when there is evidence that suggests otherwise. The Good Girl has worked out What Good Girls Do. And even her efforts yield negative results, she believes that eventually, The Good Girl ‘wins’ no matter how dangerous a gamble. She believes that on one of these days, between luck, fate, someone falling out of the sky, or one of her exes deciding to make her an exception to their rule of behaviour, her prince or princess will come.

How important is it for you to be The Good Girl?

Life isn’t quite so black and white that people can be divided easily into good and bad, but what if while you’re being The Good Girl, you’re being The Bad Girl to yourself?

Nobody has asked you to lay yourself out on the sacrificial altar. It’s critical to realise that you are near damning yourself by pursuing a vision of something that’s detrimental to your sense of self and enjoying healthy relationships. Why?

Because aside from all of the reasons above, you’re more focused on being ‘right’ and being ‘good’. Your actions and mindset are focused on proving you’re ‘right’ and ‘good’ and getting others to ‘see’ this. There’s also a fairy-tale ending mentality. You think you’re going to be rewarded with a happy ending for your Good Girl efforts.

You’re so eager to be ‘right’ and ‘good’ that you’ll suffer to maintain your image. But how ‘good’ can this possibly be? This is especially so when your actions get lost in translation and you communicate all of the wrong things about yourself in your half-baked attempts to be ‘good’.

You’re blinded by your desire to look good and carry on regardless even though it yields crappy results because you think that ‘good people’ get rewarded.

Good people who lack boundaries and an awareness of values get taken advantage of. A lot.

We have to examine our need to control other people’s perception of us. For a start, if you know you’re good, you’re good. You don’t need someone else to confirm that. Be careful of obsessing about not being a bad person. The fact that you worry about that a lot is a sign you’re not a ‘bad person’! Loving yourself, acting with love, care, trust and respect, seeking mutually fulfilling relationships and opting out when they’re not — these are all good things.

Being The Good Girl is not about:

1) Having little or no boundaries because good girls let people do as they like, or

2) Not respecting your own values because good girls always win, or

3) Always saying yes.

Have an honest conversation with yourself. Start being authentic for authentic relationships instead of trying to be ‘good’ and ‘nice’ to your own detriment. NO is not a dirty word. Use it, define your limits, but also open yourself up to more positive yeses.

Life is not about being The Good Girl. It’s about being your authentic self with boundaries, values, and a healthy dose of self-love. Instead of obsessing about being The Good Girl, get into being you.

Your thoughts?

The following podcast episodes and blog posts are really helpful for diving deeper into this subject and taking care of you:

Being The Good Girl makes you highly receptive to being in an unavailable relationship. Discover the truth about emotional unavailability and how to break the pattern in my book Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl.

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