Recovering from being a door mat was an idea that was given to me by a friend who has been a great supporter of late as I work through my physical illnesses. He’s known about my people pleasing attitudes to the detriment of my own wants and needs. His advice was to stop being a doormat and become a doorbell.
His words hit me hard. I’ve worked a lot to overcome the need to do backflips for others, mostly for the men in my life. When my efforts weren’t noticed, then I would feel hurt or angry that I wasn’t being appreciated. So, then my usual way of being was to try harder to get noticed, and give more and more and more. I’m sure that you can guess how those actions kept going around in circles. The lesson that I learned from all of those backbends was that if I wasn’t appreciating myself, then why should anybody else?
So, having worked a LOT on my people pleasing patterns, my friend made me realize that, “No, Nance, there’s more work to do!” His advice about becoming a doorbell was a great metaphor for me as to how I could help others who had gotten stuck in repeating patterns that weren’t serving them well. I could see myself becoming the one who announces my presence, and has a say in how I want my world to be, rather than the on whom people scrape their shoes. I liked that!
So, having been a teacher for 27 years, I of course set out to do some research on the Net regarding how to overcome my demeaning tendency. It seems that most women in Western society, or at least my age, have been socialized to say “yes” to whatever was asked. Setting boundaries (a whole other upcoming blog) was never taught to me, except to say no to sexual advances. There’s a whole big wide world of other more subtle things I should have learned to say no to, and didn’t. However, it’s never too late to change patterns and with the insights that I’m constantly being shown by the Divine, I am making headways.
Still, there’s that “you’re being selfish factor” that keeps sneaking its way into my thoughts. I was taught at a young age to always, always think of others first, with my own mother being my prime role model. One of the reasons that I chose not to have children was because I saw all of the sacrifices that she made, and how she didn’t have a life of her own until after my brother, sister, and I were all grown. I know that she deeply loved us, and it would never have occurred to her to live any other way. However, bir myself, I wanted to do more with my life than raise children the way that she had done.
There are a number of good blogs out there on overcoming being a doormat. I especially liked this one on Oprah’s web site…. http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Dont-Be-a-Doormat I hope that you’ll all join me in finding ways to break your own patterns of repeating behaviors and become a doorbell to proclaim your own voice in the world.
If you’d like to learn to change your own repeating patterns of behavior, then please contact me and let’s see if we’d be a good match to work together. At the very least, I could give you some quick and easy techniques in a free Breaking Free session….
firstname.lastname@example.org – 410-730-7413
Have you ever found yourself saying yes to something that you really didn’t want to do? How did you resolve the issue of saying no?
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