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Snow White or Wicked Witch

“I feel agitated. I can’t sit still and I don’t feel like being loving to anyone. I hate myself when I’m like this.” The energy crackling over the phone was palpable as Susan began her coaching session with these words. She continued, “Last week I was in such a good space. I felt calm and peaceful. I was so nice to everyone. I want to feel that way all the time.”

Susan is trapped between the “good” girl and the “bad” girl. She loves being the good girl – so loving, so calm, so peaceful and SOOOO PERFECT! She hates being the bad girl, so selfish, mean and self centered.

The “bad” girl makes you feel like an ugly old witch. But when you’re the “good” girl you’re a goddess in a white robe effortlessly gliding through life. Nothing bothers you as you smile and give to others …  oh, and don’t forget that you’re backlit with a halo of gold. Just kidding!

The “good” girl and the “bad” girl demonize what’s best in all of us – our capacity to give and our power to make boundaries. We believe the lie that giving makes us “good” and making boundaries makes us “bad”.

Worse, the “good” girl and the “bad” girl both kill authenticity. If Susan believes that she’s “good” when she’s loving and that she’s “bad” when she plain doesn’t have it in her to give – then she will reject herself. Now what?

Susan can’t be real so she will model her behavior after this image of the perfect “good” girl that she has created in her mind. She will, 1) agree even when she has a different opinion, 2) do favors for others even if she’s exhausted, 3) consent to take on a new project even if she already has too much on her plate. The list is endless.

When Susan is not being authentic it also means that she can’t accept the praise, the appreciation or the acknowledgment of other people. Why? Cuz she feels like a fake so all that work goes unrewarded.

In a healthy world the cycle of giving and receiving always comes full circle. You give – and then the healthy cycle of receiving needs to come into play.

Susan’s inability to accept her needs – to receive, is the cause of her agitation. Her authentic response to being tired was to pull back. The “good” girl responded by telling her that was “wrong,” “bad” and “selfish.” The agitation was the natural outcome of the tension of these two opposing desires.

I asked Susan what would happen if she simply took the rest she needed. She became panicky and predicted that her kids would think she didn’t love them, her spouse would be hurt and her colleagues would think that she was uncooperative.

Susan was in a no-win situation. She couldn’t take care of herself and she didn’t want to give. Susan was stuck and the longer she remained stuck the more agitated she became.

I proposed a radical idea to Susan. I suggested she give up the “good” girl and the “bad” girl. She couldn’t even imagine what this would look like.

Two simple steps begin the process. First, when you give to someone you don’t label it as “good.” Second, when you take care of yourself you don’t label it as “bad.” No more labels. Just your truth in the moment from your heart.

Coaching Tips

  1. Create an image of the “good” girl and the “bad” girl. Make them so ridiculous that when you hear them talking to you all you can do is laugh and dismiss them.
  2. When agitation hits do your best not to fight it or resist it. Just let it be there. Breathe slowly and keep going. Fighting the agitation only makes it bigger.
  3. Beware of labeling other people’s behavior as “good” or “bad.” When you do that you are only moments away from labeling yourself.

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About us

Anne Marie

Anne Marie Clear

Anne Marie playfully refers to herself as the boundary queen. She loves helping women develop the skills, the confidence, and the security needed to successfully juggle all of the different relationships in their lives while taking good care of themselves too!