Good Girl Gone Bold
We’re raised to smile, be polite to everyone we encounter, and speak with a soft tone in our voice as if little girls with halos hovering above our cute, petite ribbon decorated pig tails. From childhood, when family members give us nicknames as precious, adorable, and angels, we train to be nice girls. By grade school we become of our teachers most delighted students; “a pleasure to have in class” is written on every report card and the best comment is from any stranger who wishes they could have us as their own daughter. When we meet our teenage years our training ends as we conquer good behavior, good grades, staying obedient to our parents rules, and celebrate with a well known title as the good girl. This title often sticks with a girl’s personality into adulthood.
This usually leads the young girl to grow up with the same goal of living up to the expectations of being an amazing woman in all areas of her life- not all based on her idea of good but whatever idea of good will please those close to her. With great goals to reach there are also some downfalls to pay for as a consequence. Some of these consequences include lower self esteem as we look for it to be validated by others, and being walked over by people who take advantage of kindness. Being nice naturally leads us to put aside our wants and needs to meet those of others. No matter how good of a person we are it doesn’t need to translate into positioning ourselves to let others walk over us.
Recently the realization took me by surprise when I discovered I let people walk over me. Throughout many seasonal friendships and even romantic relationships, I reflected each one and was able to see how I had done so with each person. I was disappointed in this realization but glad that I came to it. The people I had encountered weren’t the problem. It was my personal boundaries that had been non existent with each person that led to a greater issue. The more I caved into pleasing people the more I erased my own boundaries. For me it was through late night phone calls of life rants, saying yes to going places that I truly wanted to scream no to because it wasn’t my scene and staying friends with someone who wasn’t good for me because I would’ve felt like a horrible person if I left her and the friendship we had in the past. I had completely abandoned my wants and needs to make others happy. Being a nice person doesn’t mean we can’t have a say in what we want, need and draw the line to cut off anything that doesn’t meet our morals and values. We can stop others dead in their tracks from walking over us when we stand up and refuse to let them take any more steps forward. When we confidentiality say what we want, need and make clear of the standards we have set for ourselves, we let others know they don’t have permission to walk over us and that we won’t tolerate any attempts for them to do so.
Self love is a crucial part to how we take power within our kindness. We can be nice but the more we love ourselves the more we’ll be able to use that as a guard to prevent others who assume they can manipulate our niceness. The more I realized how much I looked down on myself the more I ran to others for validation of my self worth. I can count more than enough accounts of looking for praise and acceptance from others in how I dressed, the attitude I carried, the people who I hung out with and even the type of music I listened to. At one point in my life I was running to others for an official stamp of approval so I could not only fit in but to be wanted, or at least feel as if I was wanted.
At age 23 I’ve finally taken a step back far enough to question the motives behind my actions, especially the ones that don’t meet what I stand for. I questioned the reason why my life is full of seasonal people, why every six months I seem to be making some random change to life in work, friend groups and how I spend my free time. After 23 years of life I had to question who I was and what I stood for. Then the questions that seemed to have had some blurred answered to them became clear. I was the good girl looking to please everyone because I had always looked at myself as not enough, and I was truly lost. I gave myself more hate than love, little did I know I was the cause for the coming and going of seasonal friends, saying yes to going places when I really had no interest and hanging on to who I thought was a friend. I had no idea that I was so desperate to hear someone say “I love you”- so desperate that I’d willingly lay down and let them wipe their feet on me without a single complaint, all the while it was just adding onto the feelings I had of never being enough. I wondered if the saddest part was that she didn’t know how much I had allowed her to use me as a friend or that I didn’t like myself to the point I let her and others do so. I could finally see that I was in control, I had to draw a line, own who I am, and stand firm in my values and beliefs while showering myself in self love. This formula brought a new confidence and boldness that makes my huge heart for niceness glow even more.