I prayed today that god please strike me dead if I ever tell one of my boys that they are “being good.” I know that more than likely I will slip at some point and utter that reprehensible phrase. I know that I already have and it makes me want to throw up. It’s so ingrained in our culture to say that “so-and-so is being so good today and ”even the less direct but still offensive “isn’t so-so-so such a good girl?”
I am utterly and completely offended by the word “good” being used to describe someone and/or their behavior because we have it all wrong on such a fundamental level that thinking, saying, believing that a person is “good” or “being good” wreaks untold and unnoticed havoc throughout every facet of our lives.
Being good’s meaning is so screwed up because 99% of the time what we really mean is, “Your behavior is making my life easier and that is so nice for me.” Most of our school system is built on being good, i.e., behaving in such a way that the authority figure’s ability to conduct crowd management is enhanced. Parents use it in the same way, when they say it they mean the child is acting in a way that the parent likes.
The problem is that people pleasing is not particularly useful to living a wildly successful life. If you look at any off-the-charts-successful person’s life you will find that she did what she wanted, that he followed his instincts against all odds, and it paid off. The story is never that “Mary did everything that everyone else wanted her do all her life, she followed every societal norm and rule and then she died wealthy, successful and happy.” No, by definition the trailblazers, the inspirations, the groundbreakers set out on their own path, inevitably pissing a bunch of people off in the process.
I have such a push in my heart to spread this message especially to women, although men certainly fall prey to it, too. But a lot of times it’s the women who grow up following all the rules, who get the As, who join the clubs, who do everything that anyone ever asks of them, who get the five gold stars by their name anytime gold stars are being given out, who aren’t too noisy, who walk in a straight line, who are never late, etc. etc. etc. Then they go out into the workforce and they just get hammered and they can’t figure out why. They are doing all the work for none of the credit. They get paid less, they get the crappy hours, the crappy projects blah and blah and blah.
It’s because they have a vow to “be good” which means that they always put themselves last, that everyone else’s needs are more important than theirs and they end up feeling burnt-out, under appreciated and completely dissatisfied with life.
In real life, the vow to be good looks like not charging enough for your services, being overextended time-wise, having way too many activities booked for the available time, overworking, over eating, over anything often means that the person has vowed to put herself last.
I can speak to this subject intimately because it is one of my biggest vows, a program that I ran continuously up until January 2017. As I sat in meditation holding the intent to find out what actions I needed to take to get myself out of a career that I despised, the message that came through was, “You need to start showing up for yourself.” Over and over again, that was the message. Every day spirit encouraged me, “Show up for you. Put yourself first. Today, we work on you first.” It was not what I wanted to hear. It was wildly uncomfortable and required a complete overhaul of my thought patterns, which were basically, “Make a to-do list of what everyone else wants you to do, or what you ‘should-do’, do that, and then do what you want.” But my inner guidance system was relentless in pointing me in a different direction, “Your rebel boots. Wear your rebel boots and do what you want. Right now. No more delay. Do what you want right now.”
The truth is you are good. You don’t have to “be good.” You are “not a good person” or a “good girl” or whatever soundtrack is playing from your childhood. You are good. No matter what. The end. You are good. No evidence required. So set down the obligation to be good and go do what you want.