Liberate yourself from “Good Girl Syndrome”

Sad girl sits at table

Liberate yourself from “Good Girl Syndrome”

Many women at all different ages had it inculcated into them as children and teens to be “good girls.” This generally means being polite, having nice manners which are good but also being a perfectionist, bending over backwards to help others and suppressing aspects of one’s own unique personality for a façade deemed socially acceptable. Lots of women in the baby boomer generation tried to mold themselves into good girls and ended up divorced.

Today, many young women, supposedly liberated via the feminist movements of every historical age, most notably in the 1970’s, still try to fit a cookie-cutter mold of the perfect woman. Polls have shown that women today are actually less satisfied than they were in the 70’s. The reason? It’s harder for women to juggle family and career responsibilities. They also, like everyone else nowadays but perhaps more so, have little to any time to themselves. Many older women particularly of the baby boomer generation have regrets of trying to fit the “good girl” mold. Trying to please everyone makes you end up not pleasing anyone. Lots of women in this age group feel it took them years, even decades to pull free from this stereotype.

Lots of women for instance seek parental approval. But what they have in their hearts may be very different from what it is that their parents want. Changing out of a people-pleaser is hard, but living a lie even harder. It’s true that age plays a factor as well. All a teen wants is to be socially accepted. In our twenties we seek to find our adult identity. This may last into the thirties when we are trying to find our adult selves and build our adult life. But as we grow older we start to care far less about what others think about us or how we are perceived. Women especially shed the insecurities they had as younger versions of themselves. They start to form opinions about what things are really like and who they really want to be. This of course can shove up against the “good girl” persona.

In their love lives they may pursue someone whom their friends or family approves of but who they themselves don’t feel a strong connection with. This is a big mistake a lot of women make, and it ends up in a loveless marriage or a courtroom. When you reach a certain age it can feel very liberating that you aren’t obligated to please anyone but yourself. It’s important to love yourself and stick up for yourself, though in an appropriate manner. Be secure, firm but polite. Be direct but allow whoever it is to say their piece. It’s important to be true to yourself. If you ignore it, it will not go away. But if you listen and speak with that little voice inside you, you will never know such freedom and joy. For more advice read, Overcoming the Good Little Girl Syndrome: How to Stop Being a People-Pleaser by Linda Ellis Eastman.

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