When Being Good Is Bad


art picture of woman confusedSo you want to make a change happen.  You want to add more healthy foods or more exercise to your life.  And always is the struggle of having to do it right, having to be perfect, wanting to be GOOD. For most of us there is no such thing as being  good enough or perfect enough.

But consider this for a moment – trying to be good all the time can actually be bad for you. “Being good” can trigger the diet mentality, even if you have embraced the non-diet model.  So for many, being good means restricting. And it is not just actually restricting food, but it is also restricting thinking that can lead to “being bad” and an increase in self bullying.

In an article for CNN, Brene Brown says:

Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving to be our best. Perfectionism is not about healthy achievement and growth; it’s a shield. Perfectionism is a 20-ton shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us when, in fact, it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from being seen and taking flight.

Living in a society that floods us with unattainable expectations around every topic imaginable, from how much we should weigh to how many times a week we should be having sex, putting down the perfection shield is scary. Finding the courage, compassion and connection to move from “What will people think?” to “I am enough,” is not easy. But however afraid we are of change, the question that we must ultimately answer is this:

What’s the greater risk? Letting go of what people think — or letting go of how I feel, what I believe, and who I am?

What would it be like for you, just for this week,when you hear those words, “I’m bad, I’m have to be good, I have to be better…” to say to yourself : “As an experiment I will notice, observe, gather data move out of judging myself… just in this moment.”

Artwork by Gigi Marie on Etsy

4 responses to “When Being Good Is Bad”

  1. Mandy says:

    We are all too critical and strive for perfection too much. We all need to give ourselves a break, shed our guilt and strive to be the best we can be.

  2. Debbish says:

    I recently wrote about the concept of ‘enough’ (and never having it / getting it). I agree that trying or being our best doesn’t equal perfectionism and that’s something I’m now trying to focus on.

  3. debbiew48 says:

    Really good topic discuss in this blog post.

  4. […] that Brene says during the talk that I think is worth sharing is “shame is the birthplace of perfectionism.” This is huge if you consider how it might be impacting the way you think about yourself, […]

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About the Author

Marsha Hudnall, MS, RDN, CD

If you’re looking for an embodiment of dedication disguised as obsession, look no further. Marsha is a registered dietitian who has spent the last four decades working to help women give up dieting rules and understand how to truly take care of themselves. Her mission in life is to help women learn to enjoy eating and living well, without worries about their weight. She encourages women to embrace their love of food, which you might call being a foodie. If so, it’s appropriate because being a foodie means you pay attention when you eat. That’s a recipe made in heaven for eating well. Marsha is the President and Co-Owner of Green Mountain at Fox Run.

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