The “Good” Girl

“I love you because you are a good person.”

These words of affirmation came from E one day out of the blue.  I stopped what I was doing and my eyes widened as I grasped exactly what he had just said.  Then I looked at hubby with a shocked expression and stood there speechless.  Absolutely speechless.  I was touched that E would say such a thing and pay me such a huge compliment because one – he obviously forgot about the last time I lost my temper and two – I secretly pride myself on being “good”.  Being the square person that I am, I am good at being good.  I have never gotten a speeding ticket, I am a stickler for rules and I try to be “nice” to people and do all the “right” things.  When I was younger, a family friend even asked my mom if I had attended some kind of etiquette school because I was so proper!  Haha!  You could say I am the perfect example of a good little Asian girl.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/freedigitalphotos.net

Lately though, I have been a little tired of being “good” all the time.  I told hubby I wished I could be the irresponsible, forgetful, unreliable one sometimes (I admit though the forgetful part has become more true as I age).  I would like to not feel like I have to color within the lines all the time.  I would like to be able to do something without thinking and not worry about the consequences.  But, honestly, I can’t stop being me.  For one thing, it wouldn’t be natural and I’d need to work really hard at letting go, which would defeat the purpose.  And someone’s got to keep the hubby and kids fed and cared for.

This also made me think about whether it’s natural for me to be “good”.  I believe a lot of times I try to do and say the right things because I know I’m supposed to, not always because I want to.  Whether it’s due to a fear of rejection or failure or just plain stubbornness, I am used to my square ways.  But I’ve learned that unless I am motivated by love to be/do good, it’s all a bunch of b.s.  It’s worth more to be known as a loving person than a good person.  So much more.

But how do I make that jump from being just good to being loving?  This is where my faith comes in.  For most of my Christian life, I believed I could be a good little Christian girl by following the rules and doing good things.  I was the perfect candidate to be a follower of Jesus.  What I didn’t understand though was that if I was so good, why did I need God?  God is not touched by good little Christian Asian girls who do good things and stay within the lines.  He is actually more moved by people who may appear “bad” (broken and ugly) on the outside, but are clinging to His goodness and love in order to live life fully on the inside.

When I was studying counseling, one of my assignments was to attend an AA meeting so I could better understand what life is like for someone with an addiction.  I admit that had to be one of the most uncomfortable and out of the box experiences of my life, not because the meeting was strange, but because it was strange for me (the good little Christian Asian girl) to be at a place where you were supposed to admit you didn’t have it all together and you needed help to change.  What a humbling and eye-opening night that was for me!  For the first time, I saw people who were moved by love and humility to be better people and to live better lives.  I also realized how similar I am to those people – in need of recovery from my prideful and unloving ways – but unlike them, I was nowhere as far along in the process as they were.  Because the first step of the 12 steps is to admit you have a problem and I was still happily hiding behind my facade of being a good girl.

I know I am capable of doing good things, but I also often act out of pride, impatience, and a judgmental attitude, which are all the opposite of what is good and what is loving.  I think I have shared before about trying to be more loving as a person, but it’s only because I have come to realize how petty and unforgiving I can be (especially post-kids)!  Sigh!

I honestly still don’t understand why E said I am a good person.  I know I am definitely not a perfect parent!  If anything, he is the one who is good because he is able to see beyond my moodiness and impatience and still find good in me.  And his unconditional love, and that of the rest of my family and God, helps me know it’s okay that I’m not a “good” girl and I don’t need to try so hard to be one.  I just need to know I am loved and to let that love move me to love others.

A big thank you to my friends and family who love me and my dark side.  🙂

Here’s Kelly Clarkson’s song, “Dark Side“, about the not so perfect parts of ourselves.

Who in your life has witnessed your dark side and still loves you in spite of it?