Monday, May 10, 2010

Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History

The great thing about blogging is I feel I have the freedom to be transparent here on these pages. I’m not looking for acceptance or heads nodding in wild agreement with my every thought and rant. Sadly, however, that’s exactly what I sought from friends and family for most of my life. Fear of not fitting in or not being accepted dominated me for too many years. I want to be more self-assured.

Last weekend I had the great honor of sharing a car ride to and from Los Angeles with a smart, talented, and strong woman. She is not afraid to speak truth and she oozes confidence.

Resolute and gutsy women can be intimidating, and therefore are often run out of groups, churches, or businesses. That’s especially true in churches. In religious institutions, I find that religiosity trumps relationships, even though Jesus taught the exact opposite. As I listened to my friend share her heart and her stories, I found myself envying her uncompromising confidence.

I’ve spent my whole life trying to be exactly what I was expected to be. I was “the strong one” in my family and I always felt an obligation to be there for everyone else. I’ve honored my commitments and followed through on my promises to complete projects—even if it meant going without sleep or missing out on “me” time.

I’ve written before about being the “good girl”. For me, being the good girl meant that I was often hushed—sometimes by my own fear of rejection.

When life happened and I had to focus on my own stuff, I stopped doing for everyone else. I was told I was “selfish”. When I expressed an unpopular opinion I was accused of being “manipulative”. When I took a stand against sarcasm and family drama I was told I was “critical” and “judgmental”.

Even though I know in my heart that I speak truth and that surely I have the right to my own feelings and opinions, I have allowed myself to believe the lies. I am convinced that if I do not behave in the manner to which others have become accustomed, then I will have less value. I’ve let the expectations and needs of everyone else dominate my thoughts and deeds. Along the way, I lost me.

I wondered, during that long car-ride with my new friend, how it was that she understood that what others thought of her was their problem. She knows her heart, and I truly wish I had her confidence.

Listen, this is the deal—if you care enough about me to have a relationship with me you will not make assumptions or judgmental accusations, and you won’t attack my character. If you’re confused about something I said, or upset with my actions, you will talk to me and you will believe that what I’m telling you is the truth.

I know my heart and more importantly—God knows my heart. I refuse to be well behaved because it’s what YOU expect from me! Well-behaved women seldom make history!

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