Nice Girls

First of all thank you to all the people who got in touch about the F word..I’ll pick up on what you say in a later blog…loads of words of wisdom – thank you.

I’m on a bit of a midsummer madness phase…I can’t get to sleep at night and then this morning I heard one of the boys coughing and work up at 350am and failed to get back to sleep. So here I am writing in garden at 530am.

Last time I was a bit ranty about the f word – feminism and how to bring up our boys.  I’m still mulling and reading (still loving ‘How to be a Woman’ by Caitlin Moran and completely horrified at some of the facts in Misogynies by Joan Smith’

So I’ve been focusing more on us women, and how we oppress ourselves. For example I guilt trip myself. I feel a bit guilty for not being up stairs in bed with Lovely Man and for going to bed after him last night because I was wired and having ideas.  I also feel guilty because I’m in Manchester today learning about A level statistics for Psychology (or at least, that’s what I want to learn).  I also felt guilty that I was late home from work yesterday as I was working with aspiring school leaders.

WHY feel so guilty Julie???

  • What do you guilt trip yourself about?

The course supports my job, yesterday was working – I work to support my family.  Staying up late having ideas and waking up early to walk and write is doing stuff that I love, that make me buzz.

Ahhh…so that’s part of the guilt.  The fact that I’m enjoying myself. I’m looking forward to today.  I quite liked my work yesterday, I love being up early and writing, I’m glad I’ve had a walk at dawn.

But I have so many messages about what ‘nice girls’ should be like and some of them I’ve seen before and written about, but then they’ve manifested in new ways!

So I already know that I have a ‘please others’ driver  which means I have a tendency to put other people’s needs first.  But I’ve only just seen that one of the messages that I have from childhood is that doing what I like/want is selfish.

When I used to spend time in my room, reading and daydreaming usually as  kid, I was called ‘selfish’ because I wasn’t doing the chores.

Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t do the chores, at least, not many and not until I was a lot older and actually I expect my kids do to chores as I think it’s how they learn to look after themselves.  Also, a family is a team, so pulling our weight is part of what teams do. So one son puts away the washing and the other one sweeps the fire and they both help clear  and lay the table.

My mum was also a single parent so I can understand now that she needed help round the house.

But was it selfish of me to spend time in my room, even if it was just daydreaming and reading?  At some level, that label has lodged.

  • Were you ever called selfish?
  • For what?
  • Was it selfish?
  • What do you do that you label ‘selfish’
  • Is it?
  • How might you doing it be the opposite of ‘selfish’?

I was also brought up ‘not to criticize until you’re perfect yourself”.  Boy has this belief caused me trouble.  I have made some very bad decisions about people in the past because I haven’t been discerning enough about their behaviour.

It has also been a strength in that the feedback I get from people is that I am very accepting and non-judgmental…which of course is important for the clients I work with.

The person I’m most critical of is myself.

  • How to you criticize yourself?
  • Would you judge anyone else as harshly?

I thought these and other beliefs were just mine: Nice Girls don’t swear, drink pints, sleep around, get divorced, make money…and on and on.

  • What are your internal messages about being a Nice Girl?

Do you suffer from any of these?:

  • You’d rather not hurt other people, even if it means hurting yourself?
  • You are so good at giving people the benefit of the doubt that you blind yourself to other people’s behaviours or make excuses for them?
  • You tend to blame yourself for things
  • You find it difficult to confront people who have hurt or angered you
  • Do you sacrifice yourself for the good of others?
  • Do you stop yourself from expressing your opinion in case it upsets people?
  • Do you believe that if you treat people well, then they will treat you well in return?
  • Do you define yourself by how you look?

Then you’re in good company.  The more I read and reflect and talk to people, the more I see that many women have these or similar beliefs.  So it can’t just have been my upbringing.  It’s part of the way that femininity is constructed.

So what do we need to learn?

  • To stop letting other people take advantage of us
  • To stop believing that life is fair and that both sides are equal and to know that some people and some views are just wrong for us
  • To set boundaries, to say ‘no’ and to mean it
  • To take care of our own needs
  • To let people know when they have hurt or angered us (if we don’t we’re silently giving them permission to carry on)
  • To develop our confidence to ask for what we want and to stand up for ourselves; to be our own knights in shining armour.
  • To appreciate our own competence and skills. To know what we are good at and to value it
  • To stand up for what we believe, even if it means standing out

Let me know how you get on by hitting reply.

Let’s all experiment with being a little less ‘nice’ and a little stronger this week.

Julie

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