Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

Letting go of old habits and people can be painful but it’s often necessary when you’re moving forward to leave DoorMatville and empower yourself. After my post on Monday, Baby Steppin’ to Bigger Success, a reader commented that she’s working her way out of DoorMatville and standing up for herself after being in an up and down relationship for nine years.

The reader says it hurts. She still loves the person but she’s finally faced that she deserves better. Knowing what you have to do, whether it’s setting strong boundaries or ending the relationship completely, doesn’t make doing it any easier. The reader said the baby steps are killing her. While baby steps are small, they’re often hard, especially when they lead you away from someone you love, or at the relationship as it’s been for years. But I can assure you that those steps will lead to happiness in the long run.

Painful steps lead to soothing healing. The other side of the pain is worth taking the steps.

I know this from personal experience. The first time I stood up for me was with my first love after getting divorced. He was sexy, cute and fun. He was also mentally unbalanced and put me through an emotional hell that almost destroyed me. But I needed the other stuff I got so I tolerated much too much to get some delicious bits. Eventually I decided it wasn’t worth putting up with his unfair accusations, mood swings, being unreliable and more. And I ended it.

But it wasn’t over. He’d call and I’d hope he’d change so we could get back together. I missed him like crazy. It hurt so much because I was scared I’d never find another guy who could compare to his good qualities. Eventually it hit me that even with the pain of missing him, I was more peaceful and content without him putting me through the wringer. Realizing that helped me to heal and I vowed never to make anyone so important that I’d fall apart if they were no longer in my life. I wrote a song called Never Again and put it out on my record label. It became a club hit!

It took 2 years to completely get over this guy but I learned from it! A few years later I was seeing a guy I liked a lot. We’d been friends for a year and got along really well. But he had issues from his past that triggered behavior that I didn’t like. I knew where it came from but that still didn’t make it right. While most things between us were wonderful, the issue stuff brought on behavior that was unacceptable. By then I was completely out of DoorMatville and full of self-love. When the final straw dropped, I ended it.

But this time, instead of focusing on the loss, I focused on the gain of my self-respect and how empowered I felt doing what was best for me. I felt elated, not hurt!

Breaking up with him motivated me to write my book, All Men Are Jerks Until Proven Otherwise. While he was the catalyst, the lessons came from the first guy I talked about. Feeling empowered about letting go showed the lessons worked and I wanted to share with other women! When you let go of someone you care about, whether it’s a romantic partner or friend or family member, and you wonder if you’ll ever get over it, work out those feelings.

•    Write down every painful thing the person ever did—every little detail of how he or she did you wrong. Read it when you feel weak as fuel to stay strong and know you did the right thing. I hung my list in my bedroom and it helped me keep my resolve to not go back with him and to heal.

•    Keep reminding yourself that you ended it because you love yourself enough not to tolerate poor treatment. Stoke feelings of empowerment to override the sadness. You took control and that’s powerful!

•    Find the good in letting go and write it down. Say it out loud. “I have more time for me without____ around.” Like the words in Kelly Clarkson’s song, “Since you’ve been gone. I can breathe for the first time.” When I ended it with the first boyfriend, I felt like that. I was always on edge when we were together so it was nice to feel relaxed and do as I pleased.

•    Repeat affirmations such as, “I deserve better than _____ and love myself for ending it.” “Close one door and another one opens.” “There’s someone much better coming into my life.”

It does get easier. The beginning is the hardest. But loving yourself enough to hang in gets you through. Taking the baby steps away from someone not good for you shows the Universe that your intention is to be with someone who treats you well and you won’t tolerate less anymore. Keep giving yourself love and the pain will slowly ease.

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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