Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

I got a large response for my post that addressed how compassion can help you temper the buckets of anger we often have when someone does us wrong. It’s a great anger-buster! But developing it also manifests many more blessings. It also helps you to be tolerant of others. As I said earlier, compassion allows you to deal with someone by understanding and acknowledging the person is hurting him or herself more. Situations that create anger are usually very emotional.

But compassion can also serve you well in situations that make you frustrated or at times when someone you care about is doing annoying things you don’t understand.

Developing it can help you refrain from being judgmental about what someone is saying or doing or asking. Have you ever tried to get someone to see your way and they just don’t? Do you try again and again to no avail? You KNOW you’re being clear, yet you also know the person isn’t getting it. That can be very frustrating. Often the problem is someone’s inability to see any way but their own. You might do that too. Believing you’re right about something closes you off to being objective about someone else’s response or needs.

We often only see one way—our own. Frustration with not getting your point across is often also a need to make YOUR view the RIGHT one or to change the person’s view to YOURS.

I’m very guilty of this. I admit to sometimes being a know-it-all about some topics and at times have gotten crazy when I try to help someone by telling them what to do and they refuse to see I’m right. It seems so obvious that my suggestion would solve their problem! I used to get aggravated in these situations. Now I accept—with compassion—that they have issues that keep them from taking healthier action. I no longer want to wring necks or shake people up. Instead, I try to understand.

The history that often gets you into bad situations can also keep you from taking appropriate action.

When I was a DoorMat, I was refused to take advice. Friends pushed me to say no to what ended up annoying me, and to blow off guys who didn’t treat me properly. I endured sarcasm, broken promises, punishment for all sorts of issues that I wasn’t responsible for. But I’d hang in, making excuses because I was scared of being alone. Friends insisted I take action. But I ignored them. I did know what they said was true, just as the person you might be trying to help knows, at least deep down.

But when you’re hurting, you look for the easiest way to momentarily ease the pain instead of taking long-term action.

People stay in abusive relationships, making excuses for their physical beatings or verbal tongue-lashings, while friends scratch their heads trying to figure out why. When you feel unworthy of love, you stay in unloving situations and don’t speak up to people that hurt you. It sounds lame but many people (I was one) are scared to take action and lose the person who hurts them. Since I’ve walked in those shoes, I can now show compassion instead of trying to push others to do what I accept they’re not ready to.

You can give love and support while stepping back from someone doing what you know they shouldn’t. You can’t convince them you’re right if their minds are closed by their limitations.

Understanding the other person’s situation is a key to developing compassion. You don’t need to agree with the person to have it. But it helps to temper anger or frustration at someone’s actions or reactions to you. This works especially well in romantic relationships. Men and women tend to think, communicate and respond to situations differently. That doesn’t make either right or wrong but it does cause problems if we treat the other person like he or she is wrong.

When you recognize where behavior comes from, you can step into the other person’s shoes and feel compassion for their annoying behavior, instead of getting angry or frustrated. This understanding and compassion can allow you to tolerate more and have less negative emotions about it. You still may not like it but it won’t irritate you so much. That helps you find the compassion to develop alternative responses.

Compassion and understanding can create peace instead of always feeling at war with a family member, romantic partner, friend, colleague’s, etc. with expectations, responses, and style that seems counterproductive, silly, or irrational.

For example, in my book How to Please a Woman In & Out of Bed, I try to provide men with the reasons behind some behavior they find so annoying in women. Then can respond with compassion instead of annoyance or labeling a chick with a negative term. I’ve heard from many men who thanked me for explaining how much pressure we have to look or act perfect, which leads to needing so much positive reinforcement or asking those dumb—“Do I look fat?” questions—for which there seem to be no right answer.

MANY people don’t know how to express their needs so they do a little dance around it, hoping you’ll figure it out. Women get insecure over the messages given about our bodies. Yet it’s hard to directly ask for positive reinforcement so they may come across as being too needy. Many men need to feel needed, useful, which may come across as being controlling. EVERYONE has reasons for their behavior. When you try to find them, you might be able to have the compassion to find more effective ways to get along.

In my book I ask men to step into a woman’s shoes to grasp how body image in the media and expectations for looking very good can make women a woman question whether she’s good enough.

The biggest factor that kept me living as a DoorMat was feeling that my body was never good enough. I went to the extremes that women commonly go to—if you’re not perfectly thin, you’re fat. Yet there are reasons why we feel this way. Spelling them out in my book helped many men understand what women need, and why. That helps them do what will get the most mileage with their chickies. The key is having compassion for why women need certain things.

Sometimes you may refuse to cooperate with someone because you just don’t understand why they need certain things. Having compassion allows you to satisfy some of the needs you don’t understand but can do without a big effort. It’s better than fighting or walking around angry. Co
mpassion for a woman’s insecurity allows for kinder responses that actually work. Compassion for a man’s needs to feel in control allows you to let him take the reins a little without an argument.

You can’t insist someone understand your point. Okay, you can try but it will probably make them even less receptive to what you think. It’s better to try to understand why he or she is stuck in old ways or negative patterns and accept it. You don’t have to like it but it’s the way it is. When a woman insists that her guy think or act a certain way, it often turns him in the other direction and the invisible cotton goes in his ears for future discussions. Instead, have compassion for the person’s inability to change right now.

Compassion allows to you agree to disagree. I highly recommend it!

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