Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

You may not have succeeded in everything you want yet. There might not be a romantic partner in your life. Money might be a little tight. But as long as you have integrity, consider yourself a success!

Many people get ahead by being cutthroat. Others say what people want to hear to get more. People screw friends in order to steal their romantic partner. And still others sell a false bill of goods for personal gain. They might seem like they won, or benefited from their ruthless ways. But ultimately, they’re the losers. People around them know what they’re like. And eventually, it will come back to haunt them since what goes around really does come around.

DoorMats are on the other side of the spectrum. They screw themselves in the name of being nice. That’s not having integrity either!

I constantly hurt myself when I lived in DoorMatville! I’d cancel plans to help someone. Nice! Nice! Nice! I was always seeking a path to be nice by doing whatever people wanted, except for what I wanted. I thought I lived with integrity. But I didn’t back then. Integrity means being honest and having good moral standards. I wasn’t being honest with myself! Nor did I have any standards about how I allowed others to treat me, or how I treated myself. My priorities didn’t include respect—not self-respect or receiving it from others. Being liked was all that mattered!

A delusion of being a nice person overshadowed that I didn’t treat ME very well. It was all about others! That’s NOT nice on several levels. The first—allowing yourself to be treated poorly—is obvious. The second—there’s no integrity in being nice to buy the favor of others. I’d treat people to dinner so I wouldn’t have to eat alone and do favors, hoping I’d get them returned and have folks to depend on. I sacrificed my needs to satisfy everyone else’s so I’d be liked.

To me, integrity includes being true to yourself. It isn’t being a mat for everyone to wipe their feet on.

DoorMats want to live with integrity but the invisible welcome mat on their demeanor can blind them to what being a person of integrity truly is. After giving and giving indiscriminately, DoorMats can do a 180-degree turn when they get fed up. After deciding that being nice just got me stepped on, I went in the other direction—from auto-pilot “yes” to auto-pilot “no”—and didn’t help anyone. I had more free time and didn’t feel taken for granted but I didn’t like myself for having a me, me, me mentality! Some recovering Doormats get ruthless as their anger about past behavior reaches a breaking point.

Ruthless people have no integrity. While they get what they say they want, it rarely brings contentment. Those who screw have been screwed and feel a need to do it back. After being hurt over and over as a DoorMat, I wanted revenge. But it honestly doesn’t feel good. People who cheat know they’re cheaters, and must live with that. Content folks don’t need to play dirty. They prefer to sleep well, knowing they’ve done right by others and need no excuses to justify actions because they try to live by a standard of being honest and playing fair.

Albert Camus said, “Integrity has no need of rules.”

Having integrity means doing your best to be fair and honest in your actions and words. We all do things that aren’t perfectly right. People take supplies from work, tell white lies to avoid hurting someone, do some fudging on their income tax forms, etc. But most of the time our standards are better. No one is perfect. If you have basic values to live by and do your best to treat people with respect and consideration, you’ll create a sense of integrity that fits you.

Ruthless people get the fruits of their lack of integrity. I’ve never met one who seemed happy. Or had loving friends. Those are things that create the richest abundance in our lives. When you see yourself as an honorable person, you can feel proud. Pay attention. Integrity truly does attract good people, opportunities and joy that ruthless people can’t get no matter what lengths they go to! And when you’re a nice person who also feels in control of his or her world, life is a blessing every day. Having been on both sides, this recovering DoorMat loves to pursue of life of integrity while helping others, and myself. I am truly blessed by this!

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