Beliefnet
Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

The title of this must sound like a weird statement. I make my bed every day! To most people this would seem normal, like brushing your teeth every day. But when I was a DoorMat, I rarely made my bed. It happened when I knew someone was coming over but never on a regular basis. I figured I’d just unmake it at night so why bother making it in the morning?

Looking back, leaving my bed unmade was at least partly rebellion against feeling out of control. It was something I could choose.
I grew up in a home where everything was intensely organized and neat. I had no control over my living space and as a good girl, did as I was told. When I got married, every chore was “women’s work” according to my husband. I silently resented that but again did what I was told. I cooked and washed dishes and did everyday things that truly had to be done. But I could live without my bed being made. If my husband didn’t like it, he could make it. He didn’t.

Low self-esteem helped me tolerate the messiness of my unmade bed.
When I got divorced, I continued my sloppy ways. My bed was always how I left it upon getting up in the morning. It became the norm for me, along with rarely putting away dishes that had been washed. All the clutter became normal to me. Friends commented on how sloppy my place always looked but it just fit with how I felt about myself…until I got on the train out of DoorMatville.

As I began to feel better about me, my habits, or lack of them, mattered more. Before I didn’t feel worthy of a nice living environment but now I did!
A newly developed spiritual outlook made me understand that my environment reflected how I saw myself. I began to clean and get rid of clutter. With each spot I cleaned or made neater, I noticed I felt better about me. Pride! That was a new experience. I’d never felt proud as a DoorMat. Shame was more like it. I didn’t feel good enough for anything. Now I was freeing myself from those feelings by cleaning and organizing!

I felt jubilant as my place looked nicer and realized it was more than the appearance. I was giving myself control over my enviroment. That was spectacular!
Habits take time to break. Often it can take time just to know you have them. After years of an unmade bed, I didn’t notice it. One day I decided that should change. I didn’t even know how to make a bed nicely! My efforts weren’t the greatest. But when I came home to a fairly neat bed, I couldn’t stop smiling and vowed to continue. And I’ve made my bed almost every day since.

Sometimes I’m in a hurry and have an excuse to skip it. But then I remind myself it doesn’t take long and do it.

It might not be as neat as when I have more time, but it’s made. I still get pleasure when I walk into my bedroom and see the bed. I haven’t tired of it years later. Each time I do it is a reminder that I’ve taken control of my sloppiness. It felt so good that I extended this control to the kitchen. No matter how tired I am, it’s rare for me to leave dishes in the sink or dish drain overnight.
And I must clear the dish drain before I go to sleep. This too makes me smile! I’m in control now, not a belief that I’m not worthy of a neat home!

Breaking old habits is a great way to improve your self esteem. The more you take control of one, the more empowered you feel. Plus, the results will usually make you feel good just to have been done. My bed has become a symbol of how far I’ve come. The more I maintain my habit of making it every day, the better I feel about me.
Bad habits can be replaced by better ones. Try to take some control back by identifying one of your bad habits and finding a better one to replace it with. It can take time for it to sink in but when it does, YOU are the beneficiary of that new habit. Taking control of your habits is a HUGE blessing that can have profound results, both short term (like feeling good seeing my bed made every day) and long term (the cumulative improvement in my self-image).

Try it and enjoy the results! It truly increases your awareness for having more self-love!

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