Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

Many people just go with the flow of life, living more by habit than by taking steps toward what would make them happy or fulfilled. It’s so easy to get caught in ruts, especially when you don’t feel good about yourself. When I was a DoorMat, my only purpose was to not rock the boat. I went through the same motions all the time to keep my life steady. But it wasn’t steady. It was unhappy and boring.

Living like a robot–doing everything out of habit and obligation–isn’t really living. It’s going through the motions.

I remember when I actually thought about my life in the old days, I mean looked at it with as much objectivity as I could muster back then. I saw myself as comatose, blindly walking through life and dancing to other people’s tunes. When you live to please others, it’s not YOUR life. It’s an extension of other people’s. That kind of living doesn’t bring happiness. It keeps you stuck and blocks you from having a real life.

I used to live by accident–doing whatever came into my path that would please others. Happiness comes by living on purpose–deliberately making choices in your best interest.

DoorMats make choices based on other people’s best interest so they can score points and buy people’s approval, which they think they need to survive. I did! I never thought about putting myself first. It was too painful to imagine being alone if people didn’t stick around without the favors. But, it was also painful knowing that they might only be my friends because of what I did for them. Deep down I wanted to be loved for me, not my favors.

Finding out who your real friends are can seem like too great a risk when you don’t like yourself.

Once I got out of DoorMatville, I began taking baby steps toward living deliberately. Each little thing I did that felt good made me feel better about me, and motivated doing more things to improve my life. I made a deliberate effort to do things I enjoyed or that brought me great satisfaction. My choices changed from “What’s good for him or her” to “What’s good for me.”

Henry David Thoreau said in his classic Walden: “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.

Convince yourself to live! DoorMats live mostly to avoid anything risky or that might not be what others want. Nice People on Top live to consciously do things to make themselves happy. The more you make yourself feel good, the more self-love you’ll develop. The more self-love you feel, the more good things you’ll make the effort to do. At that point you’re living deliberately, grabbing at life’s opportunities instead of ducking out on anything that’s out of the ordinary or that might not please someone.

Looking back, I didn’t even like many of the people who I made more important than me and who owned my life more than I did. We often don’t stop to think about who we actually need in our lives.

Now I know if I don’t deliberately live to make me happy, no one else will. And happiness is the only path for me to live on. I take risks, say no when it’s good for me, try new things, and live with the deliberate intention to go for my dreams. It’s your choice:

•    Stay in the safety zone of living by rote and doing everything the same way. Maintain the habits you’ve lived by for year. Keep your blinders on. Leave happiness and passion for others, while you envy their happiness.


•    Take a different path, try new things, and experience the kind of happiness I have.

You can. It begins with one teeny weeny conscious step toward something you’d like, despite naysayers or people getting annoyed that you’re making your needs more important than theirs. Go after what stirs your passion! It’s the only way to truly feel alive and brings amazing happiness and blessings! Live with the deliberate intention of making yourself happy!

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