“Do you ever feel like a bit of a chameleon?”
I remember my coach Lianne Raymond asking me this several years ago.
I froze. My eyes went wide.
“Yes…,” I half-exclaimed, half-whispered.
How did she know?!?
I suddenly felt both seen and exposed. One part of me breathed a sigh of relief, while another part wanted to duck for cover.
After several years of coaching women through the portal from Good Girl to Wise & Wild Woman I now know how familiar this chameleon tendency is, but often, we don’t talk about it or name it.
Chameleons are amazing creatures. They are able to change the color of their scales in order to better blend into their environment. So it is with Good Girls.
Depending on the environment we find ourselves in and the people within it, we begin to morph. Sometimes it is slight and subtle, at other times more noticeable and dramatic. Without even noticing it ourselves, our bodies slide into the mold that we think the other person will best respond to.
Chameleon behavior is a larger part of people pleasing, in that we learn to become the version of ourselves that we believe the other person wants us to be.
What I have also noticed within myself and with the women I have worked with is that this tendency (and overall patterns of people pleasing), are also closely intertwined with empathy. Which makes sense.
When we are empathic beings, we intuitively sense how other people feel, even if they are not making their feelings overt. In fact, our high levels of empathy are what make us so damn good at people pleasing and being chameleons! If we weren’t able to sense other people in this way, we would have a much harder time sliding into the role that we think they want us to play.
The unspoken truth however, is that though Good Girls can tend to have many relationships and people who like them, at our core we feel quite lonely without knowing why.
The reason is that no one sees us.
We don’t even see us.
Therefore, true relationship (which is often what we most want!), it is not possible. We are afraid to reveal ourselves to another as we are, without subtly controlling or manipulating their response.
Our changing colors become a form of armor that we hide behind.
To shift out of the Good Girl and into the Wise & Wild Woman we must become aware of these patterns within ourselves and explore them with curiosity, compassion, and courage. We must be willing to see and to hold our shadows with love – our fear of being unlovable as we are, our unconscious desire for power in relationships.
This simple act of seeing without judgment begins to release the Good Girl’s grasp on us.
This act of seeing with the heart is itself part of the shift into the Wise & Wild Woman.