Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

Upgrading Your Expectations of People

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for HowDoILoveMeCover.jpgExpectations can take on a fantasy-like quality when they’re based on perfection. People pleasers try to be perfect for others and expect to receive back in the same perfect way. But they learn over and over that people don’t work that way. And they’re unhappy a lot since their happiness is based on having their expectations met. Most people won’t live up to your expectations. I mean most!


When you expect too much from others, prepare for disappointment.

DoorMats get let down often but like the Energizer bunny, they keep on giving. And complaining. And lamenting about how much they do for others so why aren’t people good to them? “If it was me, I’d appreciate help with moving.” If someone cooked me dinner, I’d at least call to say thank you after.” “I could never take so much without giving something in return!” How can people be like that they ask, believing that others should do what they would.

Because they’re NOT YOU! It’s not fair to expect people to respond or do or say what you would.

They’re entitled to do it their way. Period. And, that doesn’t make them wrong or bad. Even if you give and give and give and give, the people you give to aren’t obligated to give back. It’s YOUR choice to give and the OTHER PERSON’S choice to give to you. Choice, not obligation. DoorMats need to learn this.


No matter how much you do for people, they do not owe you for it!

 It would be nice if they reciprocated but they don’t have to. It’s up to you to accept this and do things without expectations. That might help you choose to cut back on what you give to others. Do more for YOU and expect less from others. That will give you more satisfaction than hoping eventually people will wake up and want to do things your way.

There are many good people you can let into your life more, and cut out those who constantly let you down. But when you establish more realistic expectations of others, it’s easier to be happy. Consistently being let down by those you care about damages your ability to be content. Limiting what you expect greatly lowers disappointment factors and puts you more in charge of happiness. Distinguish between realistic and unrealistic expectations. For example:


Realistic Expectations:
•    Being treated with respect.
•    Keeping one’s word.
•    Getting support when others can give it.
•    You can only do your best.

Unrealistic Expectations:
•    Help with moving, your computer, a project, and anything else you believe is your “reward” for helping them.
•    That all the kindness you give should be reciprocated.
•    Always being rewarded for doing a good job at work.
•    Expecting overt gratitude (reciprocation, thank you notes, or lavish praise for favors or gifts because that’s what you’d do..


When I was a DoorMat I was always complaining about how selfish people are since no one showed me appreciation for all I did for them. Instead of curtailing m giving, I increased m complaints, and unhappiness. Giving just to help someone without thoughts of what it will get you is more satisfing in the long run. If you give to get, you probably shouldn’t be giving in the first place.

Giving when you can, not as a selfless act to gain approval, and expecting nothing in return, is the best way to do it.

When you don’t expect rewards or reciprocation for what you do, you won’t be disappointed. And when you set boundaries on how much you give to others so you can do more for yourself, you’ll begin to feel more peaceful since you’ll have less to complain about.


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.

Please leave comments under my posts so we can stay connected.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Ariel

    I’m trying right now to stop giving too much to someone in a particular way. I have tended to always respond to her lengthy, self-congratulatory e-mails that are all about her. I used to feel obligated to respond with praise, applause applause applause. But would feel frustrated that she never responded to things I’d say about my life. I have lately been not responding to her as quickly; and I respond in just a few words. It has changed things between us; she is now pulling back a bit from me. But I think that’s okay. I am trying to notice which friends communicate with me as an actual dialogue or conversation and which ones dump on me like they are writing a diary entry–all about them and no dialogue flow between us both. For the dumpers, I’m learning that I’m less feeling frustrated if I don’t respond with knee-jerk praise praise praise. And since they don’t ever write to me about me, anyway, I’m not losing anything. They weren’t giving anything in the first place. It seems for now to be a pretty good solution.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Daylle Deanna Schwartz

    You’re right that it’s okay if people pull back because you’re not saying what they enjoy hearing but don’t give back. Sounds like you’re really empowering yourself Ariel! Keep it up!

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