I’ve been called a good sport, agreeable, and easy-going. All good things, right?
Wrong. For me, they are not.
I have been accommodating my entire life, starting when I was 2 or 3. I was a good girl – in fact the best behaved child around (my mom’s friends always told her so). Being a “good girl” became my instrument for being liked by others, and getting my family’s approval and love.
I’ve been a people pleaser. With a smile. Happy to oblige. I’ve thought others know better, are smarter, and that I should just do what is wanted of me. To keep this thinking in place, I’ve subconsciously surrounded myself with plenty of people to accommodate.
One example is my ex-husband of 15 years, who was scary-smart, headstrong, and had a temper. It was much easier to say “yes” and do things his way than to say “no” and stand my ground. So I went the easy route. Except it only looked easy.
The very hard costs were my respect for myself, my self-expression, and the absence of a stand for who I am and what I believe. I was lost to my Self. In the end, the marriage ended and I decided that the only way to break that accommodation pattern and allow for my self-expression was to stay away from relationships. That changed when another way of thinking and being came along, called The Back Forty.
In my Back Forty, I have no interest in being an accommodating, people-pleasing, agreeable good girl.
Change is not easy after being a people-pleaser and accommodator for 48 years. It is still much easier for me to agree (with you, them or whomever) than to stand my ground for my perspective, values and desires. Patterns of behaving and thinking are deep and well-established.
My brain has been trained for a lifetime to perceive failure to accommodate as a threat to my survival. The temptation to agree and accommodate is high. Yet I am learning to stand for my Self and my full Self-expression.
It can be messy, like a child first learning to feed herself. And while it can be easier to err on the side of continuing to accommodate and agree, I choose to err on the side of my stand, even if disagreeable. I’m ready, willing and fully able to make mistakes, clean up the mess, and move on. Change can and will only come this way.
I do this because being accommodating is deadly. It kills who I am, it kills my joy, and it kills my relationships and, interestingly, it kills other people… because it doesn’t require them to learn and deal with what they need to figure out or improve about themselves.
I choose to be a stand for my Self, as a way to honor those I love, those I care about, those relationships I treasure, and what is possible for me when I am fully Self-expressed. I choose to be disagreeable and unaccommodating when my Self is at stake and to risk argument and disapproval.
After many years of first-half-of-life research, I’ve learned that being a good girl is overrated. For my Back Forty, I choose ME – and the difference I can make – when I am true to my Self.