Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

I’m delighted to bring my Self-Empowerment blog to the Beliefnet community and show you techniques for being a nice person who CAN finish first. For those of you who followed me here–BIG thanks! For those of you who are new to my blog and have come to get to know me, I’m delighted you’re here! I write Lessons From a Recovering DoorMat because I lived through the pain of being an out of control people pleaser with very low self-eMOnday photo.jpgsteem for many years. It’s my privilege to help others learn what took me ages to grasp about taking control of your life in nice but effective ways to become a very happy person.
When I was a guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show, she asked the audience what was more important–being liked or being respected? One person after another described how much they do for others and affirmed that “being liked” was worth the inconvenience of catering to others and being a people pleaser on autopilot, often to the point of self-disgust. Even guys admitted to making an effort to please. Insecurity is a strong motivation to put everyone else’s needs in front of your own. Many of us were raised to give and give to be accepted.

I want to show you how to empower yourself by building your confidence to take control of your life. If I did it, anyone can!

After developing strong spiritual faith and appreciation for my good qualities, I took my first steps out of Doormatville and a lifestyle of letting people take advantage of my inability to say no to requests. Developing self-love was the fuel for learning to take care of me. Those who know me today can’t believe that for a majority of my life I felt worthless, fat, and ugly–all because I wasn’t perfectly thin.

My forehead no longer says welcome and I’m filled with self-love!

Today I’m a self-empowerment counselor, speaker, music industry consultant and author of 12 popular books, with more in the pipeline. I write about self-empowerment, including Nice
Girls Can Finish First
and also try to teach musicians how to empowerment themselves with my music business books for Billboard/Random House, including Start & Run Your Own Record Label. While I’m getting older and my body isn’t thin, I’m VERY happy being me! I’ve learned what’s most important–to accept me as I am and treat myself with as much love as I can give. Beating myself up for my flaws makes me unhappy. Loving myself brings me a glorious sense of joy.

Which would you rather have?

Being conscious of taking care of me gives me a lot more energy to help others, unconditionally, without trying to buy anything but the pleasure of being a good person. I’ve seen too many people who have what you may think will make you happy–a good body, youth, a relationship or lots of money–who are far from happy. I wake up smiling every day since I found the love, joy, and satisfaction of self-acceptance.

This blog explores many reasons, situations, stereotypes and ways of thinking that may hold you back from being more empowered. It includes tips for building confidence, getting taken more seriously at work and play, learning to say “no” in effective ways, developing self-acceptance, increasing self-love and MUCH MORE. And every week I’ll have a post for my Law of Attraction in Action series that I’ve been writing for almost 2 years. You can read the archives.

My confidence began to increase when I was dared to make a rap record by students when I was teaching. They insisted that a white woman couldn’t rap. Not wanting them to grow up believing in stereotypes, I became the first white female rapper and the first women that I know of to start an independent record label. Navigating the All Boy’s Club of the music industry taught me many of the lessons I share in my book, Nice Girls Can Finish First.

Being my nice compliant self with men I did business with didn’t get me taken seriously. So I took the other direction and became tough and overtly assertive. People listened more but nobody like me. Worse, I didn’t like me. Luckily, I figured out ways to softly and nicely let them know I meant business. Think Meryl Streep’s character in The Devil Wears Prada–with a smile and kind intentions! As my confidence increased, people stopped messing with me! Yet I was still a nice person so they liked me too!

I believe in talking softly and carrying a big stick–an attitude that commands respect.

I was in a lot of pain when I lived in DoorMatville because I didn’t value myself and let people walk all over me. Happiness was an elusive state that I thought I’d get from the people I went out of my way to please. But other that snippets of joy when someone I’d done a lot for threw me a bone of appreciation, happiness eluded me. Anais Nin “There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” After many years of unhappiness, I recognized that there comes a time for everyone when you have to make a choice:

•    Do I want to remain stuck in a place that seems secure in because I don’t rock the boat and keep people around me happy at my expense?
•    Do I want to be happy because I stopped being a people pleaser and set boundaries on what I can give others and what I give to me as an act of self-love?

I chose the latter. The more I turned down requests in favors of being more loving to me and being respectful of my needs, the happier I felt. When I helped someone because I wanted to, not to buy their acceptance, my joy increased. It was a process that took years but each small victory over my fears felt delicious! I thoroughly enjoy what I called my Journey Into Self–discovering what a wonderful person I am and recognizing I deserve all the joy and love I can get.

The purpose of this blog is to share all the lessons I integrated into growing into a woman who wakes up happy every day and does much more for others than I did when I was a DoorMat–for the right reasons. The more I give to others, the happier I become. A people pleaser gives at their own expense to make people like them, and always feel drained. True nice people nourish their own souls first, do whatever they can to show themselves love and help others from a place of love and fullness, not a depleted need to buy acceptance. When you love and accept yourself, you have so much more to give honestly.

Now that I love myself, life is perpetual joy. Self-acceptance and love bring much more joy than chasing what the media says you need or should be. Please stick around and subscribe to my blog. It will have practical insight into an old problem that hasn’t gone away–developing good self-esteem in an age of insecurity. You CAN find your way if you CHOOSE to! Good self-esteem is a CHOICE. So is having self-love. Join me in choosing a happier path that makes your life feel satisfying and helps you live your desires.

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