How Religion Trained You to be the "Good Girl"

good girl Jun 01, 2022

As the religious good girl, it's typical to think that shaming yourself is the best motivator to change the things about yourself you don't like. After all, this is how you were programmed to be in your religion. You were given high expectations of who to be and how to act, and when you couldn't live up to it, you were probably met with shame to "Try harder!" And the truth is, shaming can be effective (that's why it's used). The problem, however, is that is does the exact opposite of what is hoped it will do.

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While there might be a temporary redirect of the undesired behavior, being conditioned to be hard on yourself also created this notion that being a "good girl" is the only form of yourself that is acceptable. All "bad" parts must be eradicated. So while you unconsciously continue on with your religious reprogramming (even after you have left) and think being hard on yourself is working, it is actually doing this:

  • Affirms that untrue belief that there is something wrong with you
  • Creates misplaced shame around those "bad" parts
  • Causes you to reject the "bad" parts, which creates more hiding behavior 

Learning how to accept ALL of you now is the path of integration, even the parts of you that you were so deeply engrained to view as "bad".  

So here's your reframe: The next time you experience a behavior you dislike, instead of immediately trying to change it, get curious about it. It's the only effective way to create meaningful and lasting shifts within.

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