Why You Still Fight Yourself (and how to stop)

good girl healing religious programming self care Feb 15, 2023

The same high-demand religion that taught you to hate your sinful nature, probably also trained you to use shame as a tactic with yourself when any undesirable behavior (sin) came up. And now that you've left, or at least have deconstructed some of these beliefs, the natural default setting from all of that conditioning is to continue being very hard on yourself. So while you might not use the word sin, you probably still think you have traits or tendencies that are toxic, in need of 'saving' or fixing. Does this sound familiar: 

The thought behind it is a bit ironic because it's incredibly conflicting. Can you see how the cycle now shows up in your life like:

  • You still believe you're broken
  • You get surprised when you do something 'out of character'
  • You think if only you tried hard enough, you'd overcome it
  • You get real mean towards yourself when it doesn't work
  • Start again

This is actually the same cycle you followed as the Religious Good Girl. You were taught to only show the good parts of yourself (where you could earn praise) and hide the rest. 

Can you see how that can keep you stuck in an endless cycle? And unfortunately, it set you up to fail time and again, and it still leaves you feeling like there is no way out (and we're back to feeling broken, which starts the cycle back up again).


Here's how to exit off this hamster wheel of endlessly fighting yourself:

  1. Acknowledge that this good vs bad lens you're viewing yourself through didn't help you while in religion, and it's not helping now. It only continues to pit you against yourself. It's a different side of the same coin.
  2. Accept that ALL parts of you are valid. Yes, even the ones you have viewed as 'bad' (and maybe, just maybe, there isn't good or bad parts in you, after all). There are just parts of you that want to be met with understanding and compassion.

So don't forget, you were trained for YEARS in religious environments to constantly monitor your behavior and fight against any tendencies within you that others deemed 'bad'.  Moving away from this confining black and white worldview takes time and patience! Be gentle with yourself as you're on a new journey now.

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