One of the bloggers that I follow, Emily P. Freeman, recently released her first book entitled, "Grace for the Good Girl." I think I first heard of the book from this video:
It tugged on something in my heart, something I've always tried to explain to people, but have never quite been able to communicate. I pre-ordered the book back in the spring. It arrived just about 3 weeks ago and let me tell you, it was worth the wait. I could try to describe it in my own words, but I think Emily's words will tell the story better so here are some excerpts:
When bad girls perform to get their needs met, they get in trouble. When good girls perform to get the same thing, we get praise. That is why the hiding is so easy for us. We work hard, we do right, and we try not to ruffle feathers.
I was praised a lot as a kid. My parents' friends and extended family members commented on what a good girl I was, teachers boasted about my behavior in school, and I rarely got in trouble at home. I put a lot of confidence in myself and in my good reputation.... so my good reputation was where I began to place my identity. But instead of interpreting their words as encouragement, I internalized them and let them become a standard to continue to reach for.
When you are a good girl who finds your identity in your performance, then mistakes mean punishment...My personal truth was I have to be perfect. And when I'm not, I have to pay.
You have trained people to think you have no needs, but you are secretly angry with them for believing you.
One of the good girl's most basic fears is failure.
I hide behind strong and responsible. I hide behind busy and comfortable and working hard toward your expectations.
This book will not hit home with every one. But I'm guessing that a lot of you who just read those quotes are saying "That's me! That's exactly me!" I know. I know.
I'm 40 years old and just this summer a woman who was the mother of a guy I went to high school with came up to me at the post office and said, "I remember you, you had such a good reputation." I laughed a little, then thanked her for what I know she meant to be kind words. Then I spent the rest of the week trying to figure out why what she said made me proud on the one hand, but on the other made me a little depressed. Not much has changed, I still have a pretty good reputation in the community, I'm still a "good girl." This book helped me to realize it wasn't that my good reputation is a bad thing. It is the misguided self-worth and self-inflicted-pressure I derive from it that is the problem. What I really wanted to tell her was, "Lady if you only knew, I nearly had a nervous breakdown in high school because I was trying so hard to be perfect for everyone."
And Emily's book really helped me to see and find comfort that I'm not alone. There are lots of "good girls" out there, ready to own that we do not have it all together, we do have needs and we are doing the best we can. Here is a more recent video Emily put together for the book:
[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/28693612 w=400&h=225]
I feel strongly that this is an important book, and it needs to get into the hands of those who really need to hear the healing words contained in it. Which is why I'm giving one away next week. If you read the above quotes, or watched the videos and it really resonated something in your soul, I hope you will enter for the drawing. And even if you don't win, I would encourage you to buy the book. Read it with a highlighter. Let it really sink in.
To enter the drawing, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post. Any old comment will do. (Drawing will close next week, Monday the 3rd at 11:59pm.)