By Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist
Last month, I shared my journey as a recovering control freak in this blog:
My need was not to control others. It was to control my environment and circumstances on a misguided search for a sense of security.
As part of that dynamic, I did my absolute best to perform and produce out of a need to please. I believed if I did my part, everything would turn out right.
But, in certain significant circumstances, my partners in these plays weren’t participating. Recognizing that I had no control of these particular outcomes helped me learn to let go. And, I was able to refocus my energy on managing my own mindset as a means of promoting peace within.
So, in keeping on trend, I wanted to talk about a related topic I touched on in that blog.
In my case, the Control Seeker’s first cousin: The Good Girl.
The Good Girl is not about being nice through everyday acts of kindness and living a life of compassion.
Nope. The Good Girl is all that run amok. She doesn’t make those choices from a place of peace. Instead, she lets a life of “should” drive her decisions often to her own detriment.
The Good Girl is the people pleaser. Avoids making waves. Concerned about not being seen as nice. The one who cannot say no. Fears letting others down.
Raise your hand if you know her (or him), too.
Are you the one everyone calls to do things because you can’t say no? Do you often end up with a plate that is overfilled, or in situations in which you would rather not be?
Do you feel like others take advantage of your good nature? Do you feel a sense of stress or resentment that your own needs are not being met? Oh, you bet I know her too! We wrestle quite often in my pursuit of peace. It was that dratted Good Girl who aided and abetted the Control Seeker in my relentless search for security.
In fact, the Good Girl stemmed from my own sense of insecurity, taking over my identity and how I presented myself to others through my personality.
In my case, the Good Girl needs to be needed because she believes she is valued and loved for how she performs and produces. That’s not something that is necessarily top of mind. It is learned behavior that became embedded in my being. And, this is another case where our beliefs, perceived as the only way to be, can actually create an imbalance to our own wellbeing.
I believed the Good Girl would be infinitely more likable and acceptable than my authentic self whom I could hear shouting “no, I don’t want to” in the recesses of my being.
But, to say those things out loud might cause confrontation, or possibly cost my place in my professional or personal tribe, because it wouldn’t be pleasing to others. Potentially rocking the boat felt like it could shake up my sense of stability. So, I said “yes” to satisfy my need for security, because I thought this is what I “should” do.
And, it is that sense of “should” that drives The Good Girl. I should do this. I shouldn’t do that. Defining decisions by the sense of should becomes the barometer for how to go about life. But, living in a state of “should” can be an act of self-betrayal.
We begin to listen to what we hear in our minds rather than we know in our guts. We may lose our connection completely from our own intuition and inner guidance. And, we may lose touch with our own authentic selves as we slap the Good Girl’s smile on our face as a mask no matter what.
\We may measure ourselves by the affirmation of others. And, we keep perfecting our performance for love and acceptance rather than as an act of self-expression.
Under all that pressure to perform, we may experience distress of the mind, stress to the body, negative emotions below the surface and a scattering of our own spirit. Living in this sustained state of should can have an impact on our overall wellbeing, our outlook on life, and our sense of self.
By subverting our own needs and identity, we are not living in integrity with our selves, nor in relationships with others. To be who and all we are truly meant to be, the Good Girl needs to be gone. She’s like the uninvited guest who crashes the party drowning out delight with doubts and downers. And, she is clever at convincing you that everything will be ok if you do it her way.
Because my Good Girl behavior became so entrenched it literally became my way to be. But, coupled with my Control Seeker’s need for security, this prolonged state of imbalance contributed to sustained distress that led to sustained stress that led to serious chronic conditions.
But, it was only after the experience of a life-altering accident, that I became aware of their existence in the process of working with professionals to restore my overall wellbeing. For me, learning about the Good Girl myth was part and parcel in discovering that control is an Illusion.
Together, these false senses of self were complicit in creating a cascade of unhealthy coping mechanisms. My need to feel secure in certain situations, and with my place in the world, overrode my need to know and speak my truth.
With the help of my healers, I learned to shift from a state of sightless insecurity to insightful clarity helped me to see my way to a more balanced way to be. It is that sense of conscious awareness that keeps me from automatically flipping the Good Girl default button.
Now, when feeling discomfort with a decision, I see it, acknowledge it, process it (some would say over-process, but that’s probably a topic for another blog), and then allow myself to make the best choices based on my capacity to give and still be in balance with myself.
Honestly, I still struggle at times. Though I am a writer, I can still feel a sense of dissonance and discomfort when I want to avoid confrontation but need to respond in the moment. And, so, I have learned to work through not only my own inner dialogue but also in gaining comfort with how to express myself to others.
I’ve learned that no is a complete sentence. And, somewhere along the way, I read that Jackie Kennedy would simply reply to requests with something along the lines of “I’m sorry that will not be possible.” I personally like this option. Still no room for debate, nor pushback, because it is also a complete sentence with absolutely no excuses.
For me, making these changes requires digging deep to extricate and exorcize the Good Girl so entrenched in my mind and spirit. I am still a work in progress. But, when I remain present, I can check myself. When I wander off, I can bring myself back. It is simple, but it isn’t always easy. Yet, my pursuit of balance and inner peace, for a higher state of wellbeing, is worth it.
When working with our psyche, aromatherapy can serve as an amazing ally in supporting our effort to enhance our overall sense of wellbeing.
As we do the work at home and with professionals, essential oils can help to support our transition and transformation by:
- Calming the mind and mental chatter
- Soothing our emotions
- Supporting introspection
- Connecting us to a state of higher consciousness
- Encouraging a sense of strength and empowerment
- Helping to bring a sense of harmony to our spirit
I find this effect to be especially expansive when combined with self-balancing practices to create an aromatic anchor. This synergy for the senses helps keep me present and grounded on my path.
In this case, inhalation is often the most effective approach as it has almost an immediate effect on our mind and spirit. For this reason, I prefer carrying my synergies for this purpose in a personal aromatherapy inhaler so I have them as needed in the moment.
In this particular case, I personally practice:
- Intentions – setting a clear purpose and using an aromatic synergy with that purpose in mind.
- Affirmations – replacing negative thoughts with positive thoughts in the present tense with the aid of aromatherapy.
And, here is a synergy created with the purpose of changing my entrenched Good Girl patterns:
Good Girl Gone Synergy
This synergy is grounding, calming, comforting and uplifting to the senses. This synergy can help support a sense of personal strength and confidence when faced with decisions driven by worry.
It can help to bring clarity by encouraging us to connect with our intuition and inner guidance. It can help us to identify and express our own needs in integrity with ourselves and with others.
And, it can support us in bringing a greater sense of balance by helping to clear old emotional patterns and energy blocks and supporting us in releasing them from our being.
What You’ll Need:
- 6 drops Black Pepper Piper nigrum
- 3 drop Blue Cypress Callitris intratropica
- 3 drop Magnolia Flower Michelia alba*
- 3 drop Rhododendron Rhododendron anthopogon*
*Magnolia Flower and Rhododendron were featured as Oil of the Month selections. Check back to see if it will be offered for general availability.
What You’ll Do:
Cautions: Blue Cypress Should not be used with pregnancy or breastfeeding mothers. For Magnolia Flower, we recommend a maximum dilution of 1% for topical application.
Keim, Joni, and Ruah Bull. Aromatherapy & Subtle Energy Techniques: Compassionate Healing with Essential Oils. CreateSpace, 2015.
Shutes, Jade. The Dynamics of Blending: a Guide to Blending and Reference Manual for Essential Oils and Base Materials. The East-West School for Herbal and Aromatic Studies.