Always Well Within

Calm Your Mind, Ease Your Heart, Embrace Your Inner Wisdom

How a Good Girl Became Not Such a Good Girl and Discovered Her True Self

Dragonfly

Editor’s Note:  This is a guest post by Sharon Harding.  It’s part of my monthly series Stories of Transformation.

“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Good Girl

I was always a good girl. I was the angel, the good child in the family, the one who was never any trouble. My report cards were full of words like co-operative, helpful, pleasant, and quiet.

Yes I was a good girl.

I believed that I was responsible for the happiness of everyone around me, so I did whatever it took to keep things running smoothly. I was the ultimate people pleaser and could become whatever others needed me to be.

  • I would like the music others liked.
  • Watch the shows others watched.
  • Believe what others told me to believe.

And above all things I was a GOOD GIRL.

But deep down inside there was another girl.

  • A rabble-rouser
  • Playful
  • Mischievous
  • Creative
  • With a really wicked sense of humour

But this free spirit was held captive by fear. I was terrified of upsetting other people, and afraid of showing the real me, so I held her down in chains. The trouble is that when you live a lie the truth eventually finds a way to come out. When you live in fear it makes you sick. Eventually that trapped person deep down inside becomes very angry and bursts out of captivity. And that is what happened to me.

The Crisis

  • First I got seriously ill.
  • Then my marriage suffered a crisis and broke apart at the seams.

I tried really hard to hold on to that marriage, because good girls don’t leave their husbands. NOT EVER, even if their marriages are horribly unhealthy and destructive. Eventually my life collapsed and in sheer desperation I made the decision to leave. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. It was also the best decision I ever made.

My family picked me up. They assured me of their love, got me into counseling, and listened to me talk for hours.

The Healing Begins

Slowly I began to heal. I discovered that I had given so much that I had lost myself in the process. There is a picture book called “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein. It is a story about a tree that gave and gave and gave to others. First his apples, then his branches, and finally his trunk until nothing was left except the stump.

I was the tree. There was nothing left of me except a stump! I had no idea who I was. I couldn’t even tell you what kind of music I liked. I wrote:

Who was I once?
Before the hopes and dreams were shattered.
Who was I before I tried so hard to become someone else?
The person he wanted me to be
The person they wanted me to be
The person who wasn’t me.

But I was not alone. My Higher Power is in the business of bringing forth new life from dead stumps, so one step at a time I walked the road of transformation. And my Higher Power was with me all the way. Friends rallied round and I was supported and upheld.

Not Such a Good Girl Makes an Appearance

Slowly the free spirit deep down inside was released and I began to experience transformation and healing. I learned about self-care, something I still find hard. I learned that I was not responsible for the happiness of others (imagine that) and rediscovered my creativity.

One of the first things I did was to create a new e-mail account using notsgg – NOT SUCH A GOOD GIRL.

People began to notice the difference. I heard things like

  • “You look so different.”
  • “Goodness I didn’t recognize you.”
  • “You look so much younger.” (My personal favourite!)

Apparently I even walked differently and didn’t look so burdened down.

The Road of Self Discovery

It wasn’t always easy. I had to embrace new ways of thinking and living. I had to discover who I really was. Those kinds of changes come slowly and painfully at times. I had to give up some close friends who condemned the new me and tried to pull me back into old ways of behaving.

It has now been four years and I am still on the path of transformation. There are times when I’m stressed or tired that I revert back to old ways of being. There are times when I realize that I still have a long ways to go. I’ve learned to be gentle and compassionate with myself and I know that full healing will come when the time is right.

Meanwhile I walk forward. I met a wonderful man whose love and acceptance has brought healing and joy into my life. When I see how far I have come I am astonished. My life is totally different.

During this process of transformation I found songs to accompany me on the journey. The song “This is Home” by Switchfoot expresses so many of the thoughts and feelings I’ve had along the way.

Almost one year after I started out on this journey of transformation I decided it was time for a small act of daring. A picture of a blue dragonfly was tattooed onto my shoulder. Dragonflies have become a special symbol of rebirth and transformation for me. In the course of their lives dragonflies experience a radical transformation, change into something quite beautiful, and then fly free. Just like me!

Sharon Harding is a librarian, writer, and blogger who writes about putting aside distractions and creating strong family relationships at Rediscovered Families. She lives a simple and very happy life with her partner in northern Canada.

Image Credit:  Join the Dots

 

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13 Comments

  1. Wendy

    Dera Sharon
    I have known some of your story for a long time but it has never touched me so deeply as it did just now. We are like kindred spirits in so many ways, keeping things bottled uo inside and the fear of hurting others . Sure wish you all the best in your new life, it sure does look GREAT on you!!!!

    • Thank you Wendy – you are right we are kindred spirits. Coming to realize that I am not responsible for the happiness of others was a massive revelation and very liberating. Obviously I wouldn’t deliberately set out to hurt someone, but I have found that I actually hurt far fewer people by being myself.

  2. Bev Topola

    Thanks for sharing Sharon! It has been wonderful to walk with you and watch you on your journey… Thanks for being transparent and honestly sharing your story to give others courage to take their first step.

    • Thanks Bev. I know this journey would have been a lot harder without your support and prayers. I am so blessed to have you walking with me as I find healing <3

  3. Jean Sampson

    What an inspiring story, Sharon! I know it wasn’t easy, but the journey to yourself was so worth it! I am an almost transformed good girl. There are still some areas that are not totally free, but I am able to say “no” to things I really do not want to do, and, for me, that is huge! Thank you for sharing your amazing life’s story!

    • Thank you for your encouraging words Jean. I found it really helpful to write my story as I suddenly realized that I had experienced quite a transformation. I really identified with your phrase “almost transformed good girl.” I think we all have areas in which we struggle, but being able to say no is massive!

  4. Hi Sharon,
    I like the honest and candid description of a good girl who became better with her own efforts! Many people never come out of their inhibitions and fears…they are just unable to take the essential step to move forward and abdicate the scary past, often they need help of professionals. It is commendable that the metamorphosis in your life has given you a flight to find a new happiness!

    All the best! Keep your inspiration and courage ignited.

    • Thank you Balroop. It is really, really hard to take that first step and frankly it took a crisis to get me to that point. I was really blessed to have such a supportive family and friends to help me along the way.

  5. Joy

    Sharon, You are very brave to share your story. Thanks. You walk with a light step and a glow to you in the last couple of years that is so wonderful to see. Enjoy your newfound life and happiness.

  6. Thank you Joy. It is a huge encouragement that others can see the change in me. It helps me realize that it is real and not just in my imagination 🙂

  7. Hi Sharon
    You’ve gone through a radical transformation,as I can make out from your story.
    One thing that striking is your attribute of giving.Giving ,truly is an immense blessing because it has the biggest potential to accelerate our spiritual growth.
    And at the same time the giving must coem from a genuine center of givingness,and not as a means of sacrifice,coercion,or placating others.That intent makes a big difference.Do we feel good in the giving, or do we do it out of some compulsion?That question defines the authenticity of our giving.
    Glad you’ve bounced back and are making good headway.It’s inspiring to read your story.
    Thanks Sandra for sharing this story
    Mona

  8. You hit the nail on the head when you say that “giving must come from a genuine center of giving, and not as a means of sacrifice, coercion, or placating others.” At first I found it really hard to discern my true intent when I was giving… now I can see the difference. When I’m tired or stressed I tend to default to giving as a way of placating, but usually realize it afterwards… I’m a work in progress!

  9. Boy does this hit home! What a beautiful post, I’m so glad you wrote and that you are no longer plagued by the “Good Girl Disease”. This is something I continually work on overcoming!

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