A doormat, No More
The day I realized I was a doormat was a bit of a shock to me. I saw some patterns in life, I knew I found it hard to express myself and tell people how I REALLY felt but I often thought it was because I didn’t want to hurt their feelings or somewhere inside I thought it was my fault or I didn’t want to ruffle feathers because “it’s a small world” but these are all classic signs of being a door mat, really. I thought I was being polite and nice, you know, the way I was raised to be… “don’t speak back” “don’t hurt people’s feelings” “think before you speak”… so very often I would simply not say anything in the face of outright bullshit and manipulation. I told myself it didn’t matter, that I was choosing to be kind, and that is all fine and well, but what about kindness to myself?
I wasn’t standing up for myself where I should have been. There are lots of things we should all just ignore and let go of. But when you continually find yourself being walked on, you have a problem and it’s called Self Worth. I was not saying the things that I needed to say. I was not speaking my truth and I was allowing people to walk on me, to treat me less than because in life, for so very long I had no self worth.
My intuitive healing coach will sing a few halllijuiai’s Praise Jesus’ when she reads this as her first words to me a few years ago were “you need to speak your truth”. I didn’t really understand it at the time. Now, I get it. The lessons were many, expensive and harsh at times. I didn’t see that I was allowing and tolerating and even inviting people to treat me a certain way. Christa (click her name to see what she’s all about, you’ll love her!) would often say “why don’t you just tell them how you feel” and I would respond “I don’t know, the words won’t come out”. And then I’d convince myself I was just being kind and nice. I didn’t want to ruffle feathers. But the truth is,I was blind to it for so long. I didn’t see what was really happening or what it was costing me in my life. My internal dialogue was so poor and so low and I was so afraid to speak up that I too often said nothing.
I had convinced myself I was being nice – “how do I stand up for myself and be polite at the same time” – it was confusing. Sometimes polite is over rated. When you stand up for yourself, if it’s authentic it will come from a calm place, not a place of rage. But I had to experience the anger, rage and bitterness over and over and over again until I had, how do you put it politely… ENOUGH. Tony Robbins says we will change when we have experienced enough emotional pain, we hit the threshold and change.
I hit my threshold. The funniest part is it was the smallest of things that was the tipping point… someone asking to give them a meal plan I had lying around. I said no, because that’s not what I do, plus this is my career, if you want my services you have to pay for them… but when I said NO I realized I was feeling guilty… Why wouldn’t I help that person out? As I embarked on a journey of self discovery a few years ago I had the lurking question of “why do I always end up here?”, I couldn’t have imagined that what I discovered was truly me, afraid to stand up for myself, even in the craziest of situations. And that question – why do I feel guilty when I stand up for myself was a core question to my transformation – and it was simply because I always felt like I deserved it.
The list of this stuff is endless, some big, some small. I couldn’t stand up for myself in the smallest of ways even. Sometimes I wonder, especially now knowing how much of a doormat I was, that these people had to have known… they had to know I was like a wet sponge. And how could they do that, really? I mean, that’s not my issue at all, but I do look upon these people with some pity, because I realize that can’t be a nice way to go through life… seeing someone weakness and taking advantage of it…for me, the inability to speak up was everywhere… down to not getting the extended warranty on my new vehicle because they accidentally left it out, causing me to pay almost double in the end. To cleaners losing stuff in my house and me still paying their bill, to clients putting stop payments on their auto pays despite having a contract and I not doing anything about it. To paying accountants to do work for me that was never done, and paying them anyway, and then having to pay someone else to do the work. .. Right down to letting my friends, family, clients often times treat me in ways that are horrific – the way they speak to me, the things they say and “get on with” and I sit quietly “letting it go” because I’m choosing kindness.
There have been so many incidents that it’s almost embarrassing to look back on it – websites paid for and never completed, “trade” services for work – I did my part but they never did theirs and I did nothing about it… but I was angry and bitter and resentful about it. I knew they hadn’t treated me fairly and I often projected the anger onto them, but in truth, it was myself that I was angry with, for not standing up for myself.
We get what we tolerate in life. I continued to tolerate people, often in my own home, disrespecting me. hmmm, that’s something to feel about. Why would I do that? Why would I not speak up and simply say “the door is there, if you can’t behave any better than this in my home, I’d like you to leave”… why couldn’t I say “I’m not paying this bill, because…”, why couldn’t I say “I wish you wouldn’t speak to me that way, it hurts my feelings”, why couldn’t I say “if you’d like my help, book an appointment with me”… why couldn’t I send people to collections for work I completed but they didn’t pay for? Why couldn’t I ever speak up for myself? Ever?
It’s not about being polite or kind, this is about being a doormat.
I realized over my lifetime that all of these things have shown up for me because it was learning and growth for me to step up and stand up for myself. I didn’t realize how much of a doormat I was being. As I laid all of the experiences out in front of me, I couldn’t avoid the reality any longer. I continued to attract these situations because somewhere deep inside I felt not worthy. These situations were a way for me to grow and stand up for myself. I didn’t take most of those opportunities – out of fear of not being liked, not fitting in, of ruffling feathers, of being too out spoken – so I said nothing. But inside I became bitter, angry and I couldn’t understand how people could do those things. I have always been able to stand up for others, but rarely for myself.
It wasn’t until I saw my own value and my own worth that I began to stand up for myself, in a kind way… “sorry, that doesn’t work for me”. “No, I won’t be going to that event, thank you for the invite” without needing to even give a reason. “Sure, I can help you with that, book an appointment and we can review it all” and even “we need to review this, because this isn’t what we agreed on”.
Until we see our own value, others won’t. We’ll continue to attract people who will reflect back to us what we already feel about ourselves. I had low self worth and so a lot of the people I attracted to me over the years, treated me the way I felt, proving my ego right… that I wasn’t good enough. All very sick and twisty subconscious patterning that ultimately leads to our growth or our demise. I don’t do things to get things. I don’t do favours or keep score or keep track… but sometimes you can’t help but notice that you’re giving 150% effort for people who will not give you 10% effort. And that has nothing to do with “keeping score”, it has everything to do with you realizing you’ve surrounded yourself with assholes. Why? Because you aligned with people who didn’t value you because you don’t value yourself.
I love helping people, and I will continue to do so. But I will not be taken advantage of, pushed around or manipulated or bite my tongue when I really need to stand up for myself. There is a difference in standing up for yourself and being polite. When a store clerk is an asshole to me, I can thank them, wish them a good day and genuinely let it go. It has nothing to do with me, really. But when someone crosses the line or does something I don’t perceive moral or right or not what we agreed to it, I will call it out. I’ve learned so many lessons though, that these things rarely happen anymore because I’m much more clear up front so I deal less with these things.
You can’t come into my house, get drunk and act like an asshole and then pretend it never happened. Not anymore.
I have very few relationships or people in my life that behave this way anymore. As I started to stand up for myself, those people either didn’t come around as much or I simply stopped engaging with them because I don’t need friends, family or business associates who don’t value me as a person.
I am a giver by nature. I am a helper by nature. And I treat people the way I am. And sadly, my harshest lessons in life have come from realizing that being nice when you should have been firm only shows them that you’re a doormat and that they can walk all over you. They have their demons to battle about why they would treat other people that way. It won’t change how I treat people. I will still give and I will still be kind, but I will value myself and I will never again find myself in a position of such low self worth that I allow people to take advantage of me or mistreat me.
I have a voice and I will use it, kindly, to show people how to treat me… because we get what we tolerate. And not one more day in my life will I tolerate being treated less than I deserve in relationships, by family, or in business.
Some signs you, too, might be a doormat:
You feel like others are taking advantage of you.
You are unsure of what you need in a given relationship.
You are afraid to speak your mind about how you feel.
You talk badly about others you feel have wronged you in some way.
You do things you don’t want to do then resent it later.
You allow other people to disrespect you.
You maintain friendships with people you secretly don’t like.
You “keep the peace” instead of speaking your mind.
You walk on eggshells around others.
You let another person tell you how you think or feel.
These things were a wake up call to me. I am grateful for every single one of those times I didn’t stand up for myself. I am grateful for every single time that I was taken advantage of. As painful as it is to look at the landscape of my life, especially my history, I am grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow from these experiences. I am grateful that I now see my own worth and value. I am grateful that I no longer need anyone’s permission to be anything.
Most of all I am grateful for those people who behaved in the ways they did because it showed me exactly who I never wanted to be. I am grateful for my moral compass because I’d rather be a doormat than the asshole walking on people.
In the end, I won’t be either. I will be a woman who knows her value, who has been to hell and crawled back from it, stronger than ever. I have survived things that would kill most people. And maybe I was a doormat for a bit while I was learning to find my own footing and place in the world.
I picked up my mat, I shook the dirt off of it, freshened up the welcome letters. My door is open, always, but only to those who treat me and others (including animals) with respect.
“How you treat animals and wait staff tells me everything I need to know about you” and whether my door is open to you. If it’s not, I will still wish you well, and healing because I know you need it as badly as I once did, because you simply do not treat people that way if you’re good with yourself.
Recovering Doormat & Emerging Aphrodite (I’m a lover, not a hater & the 1st person I love now is myself).
PS… I am a Wild Souled Woman – join me and others who are throwing off the chains and the shackle’s in a private Facebook where we can be our crazy selves 😉 Join Here