We grow up being told to be the “good girl”, “the good boy” and when we aren’t “good” in the eyes of authority we are punished in some way – either through shame, avoidance, anger or some form of discipline whether it is physical or emotional. It is programmed into us at the very beginning: “Be good or else”. It becomes so normal to us that we forget it’s even there. We continue our lives with this programming running in the background not even aware that it is draining our battery, preventing us from being authentically ourselves and from finding our true purpose in life.
“Being good” is a punishment in itself, right away there is an idea that we could be anything other than that. The assumption that we are not inertly good but have to become good. It makes us feel like failures before we even start living life. It is so deeply entrenched in our culture and society. The roots of it are coming from the story of Adam and Eve in the Christian Bible. That as humans we are sinners, we cannot help it and because of it we will be punished for eternity (Bullshit but ok). Sadly, women are seen as the bigger sinner because they are the temptress, the seductress. Sorry ladies, you have been dealt a bad hand because of your sexiness.
Where does this leave us? It creates a society where we are constantly feeling like we are not good enough. That there is something wrong with us we must fix. It creates an atmosphere of competition. It makes us consume products to be better to be good. It makes us seek external validation through our job, friends and family instead of within ourselves. This effects every aspect of our life and many of us are not even aware we are doing it, because it has become so natural. We have perfected ‘being good’ to survive.
The world of self help, self development and spirituality is not exempt from it. You would think these spaces would be the environment where you would feel free of these ‘pressures of being good’. However, they are still saturated with the idea of ‘being pure, being good’. Look at any typical church goer and I don’t even need to prove this point anymore. Being good creates inauthenticity, fake-ness and an inability to connect with others. It also creates an energy of ‘holier than thou’ and that you are morally more ethical or morally superior. It is impossible to connect with someone if they are not showing their true face. Of course, who can blame them it is scary as f***. They have been punished since they existed for being anything other than what others wanted them to be, or say or do. How horrible would it be for the priest to say they would like to have sex sometime. No, they are meant to be holy, they cannot have desires that every other human being is born having. (This doesn’t just apply in the christian tradition, this is in every world religion). It takes awareness and work to drop the persona, to drop the goodness, to be REAL.
I invite you to look at your life and as you go about your day-
Where am I trying to be good?
Where am I pushing myself to be something more than myself?
Where am I living to an external standard?
Where am I unsatisfied with myself and who told me this narrative? Who told me or showed me I wasn’t good enough?
Now, am I ready to let those stories go, to call back my power from those places and live from my true authentic and wild nature?
Maybe you aren’t ready, totally okay, honour that. You can’t force a flower to bloom before its time, (although you may try because you want to be good).
Being good sucks! It’s limiting, it’s boring it’s someone else’s idea of how you should be and live and it’s bullshit. You owe yourself more, you decided to incarnate, you came through a vagina and were fearless in coming into this world. You are here now, own it. Own yourself, Own your life and let YOURSELF decide what is good for you.
The way to end this trend of ‘being good’ to stop all judgement. Let people go through what they need to. Let them experience life in their own narrative. Stop imposing your ideas, your labels on people. A spiritual person can be a monk that rides a motorcycle. A yogic practioner that is a vegetarian and doesn’t drink can still be sassy, fun and go out dancing.
I am not saying to stop being loving, compassionate and a caring person. No, that’s the wrong interpretation. I believe humans are innately good and wonderful creatures. What needs to happen is dropping the crap we carry that’s covering this up. Because you are already good you don’t need to become it, but because of this idea, we carry shame, guilt, frustration and anger and these emotions are what cause us to react, to act out to do things WE regret because we tried to live up to someone else’s standard.
Now for the spiritual student. It is okay to not be pure all the time, to not be good all the time. As a yogic student and teacher I see this effecting students and it has and does effect me. We strive to be perfect, to be the best but this is not what yoga is. Yoga is to connect, to unite with our true self. As are the other traditions like buddhism, shamanism, paganism. Because we carry this ‘not being good’ deep in our subconscious it effects every spiritual tradition we get involved in. We want to achieve, be the best and be seen as valid and ‘good’. What ends up happening is the practice doesn’t feed us. The practice causes us stress, we feel disconnected. Our ego gets active, we feel competitive, we compare my pose to hers and separation ensues. Instead of being our true self, we become another ‘idea’. We become what we think we should be. Dangerous…. We form a new ego instead of dissolving it. Our true self is again hidden, protected and shy from the world. What could have been a healing opportunity becomes another method of ‘being good’.
Our purity or goodness must come from within. It cannot be forced from the outside in. When this happens we get frustrated and don’t feel like ourselves. For example, if a person wants to make a change like to stop smoking or drinking it has to come from within them. Only when that happens will they stop. It doesn’t matter if someone from the outside with their judgement tries to force it on them, all it will do is create anger and tension in the relationship and this person will not quit- instead they will resent the person for pushing them.
If anything I hope this post has made you think.
Am I doing this to myself?
If you are, which many of us are. First step is noticing, at least you know and with awareness you can shine the light on it and let it loose its power over you. You don’t have to react to it, you can watch it and CHOOSE to BE YOU instead of ‘being good’, instead of doing and being what others want you to be and do.
If you aren’t- wicked! You must be a free soul and that is awesome. But I tempt you to go deeper and to not shy away from the fact that this idea may still be lingering somewhere in your psyche.
Good luck all you goodie two shoes. I love you. May you be badass.