What do I mean by ‘nice’ girl conditioning? Well, it’s the conditioning we get as children from our parental upbringing, schooling and societies stereotypes.
Do you remember when you were small being told to be a good girl, to be polite, put others first and not disagree or upset people?
Good manners are important and understandable but add to that the focus on girls at school to be well behaved, achieve good results and fit in. Plus societies stereotyping of women’s soft and nurturing behaviours. It’s not surprising we find it uncomfortable to speak up for our opinions and needs.
I’m generalising, you may have had a very different experience but I certainly resonate with this focus on pleasing others.
In a lot of situations, these behaviours are our strengths – friendships, nurturing a family, building relationships at work. However, in a lot of workplace cultures, they can be a ball and chain that holds you back.
When you’re assertively asking for support or you’re disagreeing with a seniors opinion, having ‘nice’ girl conditioning can make you uncomfortable and even prevent you from speaking up.
If you want to tell a friend they’ve upset you or you’d like to do something different together, again ‘nice’ girl conditioning can hold you back.
How Do I Change My ‘Nice’ Girl Conditioning?
Understanding where you’ve picked up these behavioural beliefs from is a start. Then clarifying exactly what the beliefs are. Is it that you should put others first or that you shouldn’t talk about your achievements. Or that you should respect your elders and betters?
Once you know your personal rules you can either challenge them, ignore them or put in place boundaries for when you’re happy to break them.