As I finally begin to fully claim the power and beauty of my womanhood, I am also becoming aware of the subtle and pervasive "good girl" code of behavior, thinking and feeling that I was handed by my family, my heritage and my culture. The marching orders for being a "good girl" were delivered to me early and imprisoned my soul for a very long time. A good girl is always pleasant and obedient, not "voicey," and so very, very nice. A good girl is always helpful and self-sacrificing, with the care of others her primary concern. A good girl is alert to her expected duties and tasks. She should be bright and intelligent, well-behaved, ever cheerful, accommodating, agreeable, charming, cute and never, ever upset.
Awakening to these strictures, I now mindfully and firmly rebel. I no longer want to be a good girl; instead, I am choosing to be a good woman. In making this self-caring choice, there are five core areas in which I stand with a firm spirit, a brave soul and an honest heart:
1. My first job in life is to learn and love myself.
As a good girl, I understood that my love was always meant for others. This message was given to me with baby dolls and pretend kitchens. It was driven home to me at the age of 8, when I was handed the care of my little brother. I was taught that if I gave all that I am to others, I would get love back. This left me with an empty hole in my chest where a deep love for myself should have been.
As a good woman, I no longer need to seek the love of others for me to feel worthy and good about myself. This is my job. I now actively seek to learn and love myself more deeply each day with gutsy honesty, self-compassion and an ever-growing acceptance of my humanity. The good, the bad and the beautiful are all parts of me.
2. I choose to live inside-out.
As a good girl, my spirit was oriented to an outside world of behaving and achieving gold stars in a game that others created. Without thinking or choosing it, I became the caretaker, cleaning agent and serving person to those around me. My life was all about how I fit into other people's lives -- as mother, sister, daughter, wife, teacher, student and friend. I didn't know I was allowed to have my own life.
As a good woman, I live in the first person -- from a known and loved, inside place of "me." I am courageous and kind, joyful and generous, honest and willing, because living this way makes me like and love who I am. I don't get to wear a halo anymore, but I am also no longer a victim of the role-playing game. As a good woman, I am a full partner in my own life.
3. You are you and I am me.
As a good girl, I was tangled and enmeshed with everyone else's feelings, wants and needs. I was raised to be the "fixer" of other's discomfort, anger, fear, sorrow, confusion and pain. So, I spent my life carrying the needs of others on my back and in my heart.
As a good woman, I know that my emotions, needs, wants and desires are mine -- as are my choices and actions. I am whole within myself. If others are not feeling good, if their heart hurts or if they want to punch a wall, these are their issues. I did not create them and I am not responsible for them. The burden of how others feel I now give back to them with honesty, kindness and grace. I take care of my own soul -- and this is quite enough for me.
4. Love is love and abuse is abuse.
As a good girl, I would put up with emotional, mental and psychological backfires and angry discharges from people because they told me they loved me. In fear that someone would leave me, I would allow them to shut down my voice, trample my heart and deny the worthiness of my soul. "I love you" gave them permission to do whatever they wanted and I would keep coming back. This confusing and manipulative process is not love -- it is abuse.
As a good woman, I choose to think and behave from my own sense of ethics. I will not bow my head, heart or mind to what another person demands as their price for loving me. To love another is to have a caring concern, an honoring respect and an allowing of their soul to fly free. My love is mine to give with joyful grace and open generosity, not something that can be controlled or bartered.
5. My body is mine to care for, cherish and control.
As a good girl, I actually thought it was OK to allow others to use my body for their pleasure and satisfaction. I have participated in situations that have shamed me, made me feel small, foolish and at times "dirty." I have swallowed my own soul believing that it was "no big deal" to turn my body into an object.
As a good woman, I know that my body is the delivery system of my spirit. This powerful machine of flesh and blood, pulsing sexual joy and conscious interaction with the world around me, belongs to me. I am gifted with the responsibility of caring for my body with grace, tenderness and deep love. She is me and I am her. We come as a packaged deal.
I am a good woman who is choosing to soar wide open and brave into the next age of my becoming -- with many, many more years to share, to honor and to give.
Robin Korth enjoys interactions with her readers. Feel free to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook.
To learn about her new book, "Soul on the Run," go to: www.SoulOnTheRun.com
You can also download her "Robin In Your Face" free daily motivational app by going to www.robininyourface.com/whats-new/
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