Thursday, January 12, 2006

Such a good girl

There has always been such emphasis in my life on being good. Be well behaved, be polite, be a good girl, be a good student, be a good Christian, be a good citizen, be a good wife and mother, be a good employee. Take good care of your things.

I get sick of it all. It's not that I want to be really bad. I don't want to live a selfish life leaving destruction and chaos in my wake without regard for the consequences. In being good though, I have too often let people define me by creating the limits for my life. In being good, I have swallowed opinions that needed speaking. In being good, I hid from myself abilities I could have nurtured. In being good, I have let relationships exist on a superficial level, rather than seek a depth which could have been more rewarding but definitely more troublesome. For me, being good has sometimes been a form of cowardice, and that is definitely bad.

Part of my conflict here is that there are many things I like about being good. I like my tact and my ability to always seek the optimal consensus or necessary compromise. I like my open mindedness and willingness to see the other side of an issue. I think the world runs better when people exercise politeness and responsibility.

In doing those good things I have frequently found that I have to stand very firm. I've surprised people in the past by my unwillingness to budge on certain issues (particularly when collections were among my job responsibilities). I'm realizing now that I need to exercise that firmness more often. When I find myself getting boxed in by other people's expectations, I need to challenge them. Is this expectation something that will help me grow or is it something that just allows someone else to continue in a comfort to which they feel entitled? That's going to take some wisdom and some gut level honesty on my part.

This really isn't an issue of good or bad. It's about defining good for myself and trusting myself even when it makes others uncomfortable. It's about boldness and accepting the consequences. Just writing that sentence opened something inside me. I could feel that tingle of fear and thrill that heralds good and exciting things. When some doors are opened, they cannot be closed. I want this to be one of them.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You want that door wide open, honey. The first two par's here are like the story of my life. For 35 years, I was as good as could be, but I sure wasn't happy. I don't define myself that way anymore--I look for balance. Between good/bad, dark/light, etc. Balance is the key. Tao. Ying-yang. Call it what you will. The world's a much brighter place from this side--and so much easier. No guilt. Just an actual whole complete person.

January 13, 2006 9:05 AM  
Blogger Lisa :-] said...

For me, being good, as you describe it, would be a step in the right direction. I have always had high standards, and tried to live up to them, but they translate to other people as self righteousness. Not very attractive. Could be why my social kills are so lame... :)

But being good can be a crutch. It can keep life on a safe level and help you avoid the challenges that being a little "bad" might create.

January 13, 2006 12:23 PM  
Blogger gigi said...

Good for you, Cyn. Embrace that challenge of striking balance ~ between being good for the sake of harmony and being true for the sake

I think that those of us who were raised to be 'good girls' and learned to define ourselves that way are often very reluctant to muddy those waters. It's self-preservation; stepping off the pedestal given to the 'good one' threatens our vaunted and safe position.

As you say, it is sometimes good; it keeps the peace; and sometimes bad; it costs us our 'selves'. You have chosen a bold path here; I know it won't be easy. I'll bet it will be worth it, though.

January 13, 2006 5:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lisa said, "But being good can be a crutch. It can keep life on a safe level and help you avoid the challenges that being a little "bad" might create."

Just wanted to say: EXACTLY! Carl Jung talks about this in his memoir Memories, Dreams, Reflections when he tells the story of his "forbidden thought": "In his trial of human courage God refuses to abide by traditions, no matter how sacred. In His omnipotence He will see to it that nothing really evil comes of such tests of courage. If one fulfills the will of God one can be sure of going the right way."
Read it, Cyn, if you haven't already--the womanchild might like it too.


January 13, 2006 7:34 PM  

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