Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

Question: Why do I have such a hard time asking for help?

I hear this question all the time. It’s tough for many of us to ask for favors or help or anything else we need. I hear it from both men and women, and people of all ages. You don’t have to be a DoorMat to have trouble asking. Even empowered people often are very hesitant to ask for anything. For many of us, it’s so much easier to give than to receive.

As a DoorMat, I never asked for much and surprise, I didn’t get much. When I did ask, it was so uncomfortable if I didn’t receive that I got used to doing everything for myself, rather than risk being turned down. I think it’s hard for many people to ask. Recently I was asked about how to ask for help by a very successful woman. She said she always does everything herself and has a problem asking for help. This is a real problem for most of us, female and male! We create something in our heads that makes the idea of asking for help so unpleasant that we don’t bother.


So why don’t we ask? There are many factors that can make us hesitant or prevent us from asking. Some of the more common ones are:

•    DoorMat tendencies: Part of people pleasing is not wanting to bother anyone. It might seem as if people will like you more if you ask nothing of them. You don’t have to be a DoorMat to have DoorMat tendencies. I still have them as a residual from my DoorMat days. People pleasing means giving, not receiving in DoorMat thoughts.

•    Unpleasant memories of being turned down in the past: You may be gun shy about asking if you’ve been turned down more than once and it becomes automatic to just do everything yourself. Any unpleasant response to your request can make you not want to try again.


•    Unconscious discomfort with receiving: You may want to do the giving and have a hard time receiving. Better not to ask, or so you think! You may think you’ll owe someone if they give you what you want. Even when you become self-empowered, it can stay with you as a habit unless you consciously change it.

•    Feeling undeserving: Often you don’t feel worthy of help. “Why would anyone want to help me?” Years ago I didn’t feel slim enough to get favors. This leaves you on a lonely road to nowhere, or at least to not getting your needs met. If you try to do right by others and help when you can, you also deserve support!

•    Wanting control over everything: Many of us need to feel in control of everything so we do it all ourselves. I was one of them. Years ago I had a business and hired someone to assist me but never gave him anything to do. He was perfectly capable but I thought I could do it better, or just didn’t trust anyone to get it as right as I could. It was a powerful time for me when I finally began to ask him for help with specific things.


While asking can be hard, it finally dawned on me that not asking makes life even harder, or at least less satisfying. If you ask, you may get turned down but you may get what you ask for. If you don’t ask, you’ll never get what you want! Begin by wrapping our head around the belief that asking makes you stronger and helps enrich your life.

When you’re scared to ask, ASK yourself, “What’s the worst thing that could happen?”

Usually the worst outcome is that the person says “no.” If you don’t ask, you’re saying “no” to yourself for them. Is that what you really want? Not asking guarantees you don’t get help or what you need. This week my posts will all be about asking. On Friday I’ll give specific pointers on how to ask most effectively. Asking for what you need says, “I love me!”


Take the self-love challenge and get my book, How Do I Love Me? Let Me Count the Ways for free at And you can post your loving acts HERE to reinforce your intention to love yourself. Read my 31 Days of Self-Love Posts HERE.

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