When we think of a “good girl,” what comes to mind is a quiet, well-behaved, loyal, and obedient girl who does everything she can to make others happy. These are the characteristics of someone who has the ‘good girl syndrome’. It may seem harmless, but it can affect a woman’s self-esteem and confidence over time. Read on to know the signs of good girl syndrome and how it can affect your mental health.
GOud girl syndrome is not a recognized condition or diagnosis. But it refers to a woman who internalizes stereotypical social and cultural behavior regarding how she “should” act, says Ritika Aggarwal, Consultant Psychologist, Jaslok Hospital and Research Centre, Mumbai. That is, the woman may believe that she will not be loved if she does not behave in the expected manner.
Signs of the good girl syndrome
Women with good girl syndrome are always nice and do everything they can to avoid conflict. Here are some signs:
1. People pleasing behavior
These types of women tend to be people pleasers, looking for external validation, or always trying to be perfect, the expert says. They tend to prioritize the needs of others.
They consistently go out of their way to make others happy, while neglecting or undermining their own self-care, desires, or goals in life.
3. Difficulty saying no
They have a hard time saying no, even when they don’t like something or feel uncomfortable, and they are overly compliant for fear of rejection.
4. Difficulty in expressing opinions
They find it difficult to express their own opinions or emotions, for fear of judgment or criticism from others. Sometimes they have difficulty expressing themselves for fear of hurting someone else’s feelings, says Aggarwal.
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5. Fear of disappointing others
Not only do they worry about the disapproval of people around them, but they are also afraid of disappointing others.
6. Feel responsible for everything
Whether positive or negative, taking responsibility for your own actions is good. But feeling responsible for everything and taking on the burdens of others in an attempt to please them is just not right.
7. No boundaries
Women with ‘good girl syndrome’ have difficulty setting and maintaining their boundaries, says the expert.
8. Need to excel
They always have the need to be the best and perfect in everything they do. So they are more likely to follow the rules as a result.
How Good Girl Syndrome Affects Mental Health
Taken to extremes, this behavior can affect a person’s physical and mental health, as well as personal, social and professional relationships. It affects a woman’s self-esteem and self-confidence, causing her to lose confidence in herself and appear indecisive, the expert says. A constant need to be perfect can lead to mental disorders such as anxiety and depression. In relationships, they may tend to become a passive follower rather than a leader, for fear of being criticized or called aggressive. This can lead to frustration, unhappiness, burnout, and feelings of unfulfillment and resentment. It can also affect their chances of promotion or the way they are viewed in the workplace.
Tips to stop being a “good girl” all the time
Everyone has a different opinion, so you don’t always have to agree with the person in front of you to be seen as someone who is ‘good’. In addition to learning how to have your own voice, you can do the following:
• Start by learning that it’s okay to put yourself first, and that you need to learn to love yourself first
• Start a journey of self-discovery
• Identify your strengths, passions, values and goals and let them guide you
• Start trusting your instincts
• Embrace imperfections and celebrate your uniqueness.
• Practice positive self-talk and compassion
• Don’t be limited by what society expects of you
• Set clear boundaries and respect them for yourself.
If you need the help of a professional, don’t feel ashamed. Just approach a psychologist who can guide you well.