Olive Von Topp
Is Your Good/Perfect Woman in the Driver’s Seat?
I’ve been doing this work for quite some time and have talked to a lot of women over the years and one thing I’ve come to realize, is that a lot of our unhappiness and dissatisfaction stems from the tension between our Good Woman (how we’re raised) and our Badass (our true, authentic selves). I increasingly know this to be true of myself, also.
Our Good Woman or Perfect Woman (or whatever you want to call her) is who we think we ought to be. The ideal woman ingrained in us from childhood. ‘Should’ is a common word in her vocabulary. And many of us spend a lot of time, sometimes lifetimes, trying to be her, thinking when we finally achieve her, when we’re finally perfect, we’ll be happy. And of course, we never are. We can never achieve her. She’s designed to be unachievable. To keep us aspiring for the impossible. To keep us distracted from our true desires. From being our authentic selves.
Often the Good Woman is born before you even come into this world. Ascribed to you in utero. The messages of what is expected of you begin immediately and are reinforced throughout your life:
Good girls/women are kind. They have no needs. They take care of others. They are ‘no bother’. They are quiet and well-behaved. They don’t ask too many questions. They ‘play nice’. They keep their emotions in check. They are giving. Nurturing. Desire only for what their partner desires. They are controlled. Composed. Put together. Attentive. Accessible and available for others. They don’t eat too much. They don’t laugh too loud. They don’t ask for too much.
You know her, even if you don’t think of her consciously. You know what she is supposed to look like. What she is supposed to accomplish. Who and how she is supposed to love. How she is supposed to conduct herself. How she is to be in relation with others. What she is supposed to want.
You know her. And there’s a good chance she is in the driver’s seat of your life.
When I work with women around the areas they feel dissatisfaction in in their lives, it often stems from chasing their Good Woman. Trying to be the version of themselves they think they are supposed to be. Rather than who they want to be. They override their needs and wants because they aren’t in line with who they think they should be. They’re overwhelmed and tired from trying to be all the things to everyone. They’re feeling dulled by the repression of their desires. They’ve lost a sense of self from fluid boundaries; they’re not sure where they end and others’ begin. They feel lost. Disconnected. Like something is missing.
And often something is (hint- it’s your Badass but we’ll talk about her next week)
Before we figure out what’s missing, we need to take stock of who is driving the bus. I ask them to ask themselves (and am inviting you to do the same):
Where does my Good Woman show up in my life?
Where am I attempting to be the Perfect Woman?
Where am I saying “yes” when I want to say “no”?
Where am I putting others’ needs before mine?
Where am I saying “no” when I want to say “yes”?
Where are my boundaries fluid?
Where am I denying myself pleasure?
Where am I not speaking up for want I want or need for fear of upsetting others?
Where am I doing what I ‘should’ be rather than what I want to be?
Where am I taking care of others, but not taking care of myself?
Where am I afraid of taking risks?
Where am I staying small?
She could be showing up when you stay quiet at that meeting, thinking your ideas are stupid. She could show up when you’re exhausted and just want to rest but instead you clean the house and make cookies for your kids’ bake sale. She could be showing up in the bedroom, more concerned with how she looks and her partner’s pleasure than her own. She could be showing up when you decide not to go back to school, even though you want to, because you have a good paying and reliable job with benefits.
She could be showing up all the time.
Once we have a better idea of where she is showing up, we can get some clarity on what thoughts are driving those actions . When you notice your Good Woman showing up- what is the thought you have? What are you thinking before you say “yes” when you want to say “no”?
Dig deeper. Is it a fear of upsetting others? Of people not liking you? Of coming across as ‘too much’? Are you trying to make sure other’s are comfortable? Are you afraid you’ll leave others’ behind or become too ‘full of yourself’?
These are your limiting beliefs. And there are likely a lot of them. And they are deeply engrained. The good news is, they aren’t yours and you don’t have to keep them. You get to decide if you want to keep them. And implement new thoughts if you don't. Use this free resource to help.
Who’s thoughts are these?
Where do they come from?
Who benefits from me having them?
Do I want to believe them?
If not, great. You can begin the journey of unlearning or deprogramming your brain (link to resource on changing your thoughts)
Once you’ve noticed where she’s showing up and decided you don’t want her to drive the bus anymore, we’ll get some clarity on what you DO want. On what you DO want to believe.
Come back next week where we’ll re-acquaint you with your Badass.