Beliefnet
Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

Everyone has experienced some hurts in their lives. It just happens. But many of us feel hurt as a lifestyle, though we may not recognize it. When I was a DoorMat, I pleased everyone to try to offset my insecurity about feeling fat and ugly. When I made someone happy, it eased my fears for a short time. Since my big concern was being lonely, pleasing others kept people around. Looking back, I realize that I used being a DoorMat like a Band-Aid, to cover the wounds I felt.

Many people use what I think of as emotional Band-Aids to temper painful or scary situations or to avoid doing what they know—at least deep down—that they should do.

People pleasing is just one. Excuses are jumbo emotional bandages because they keep us from facing reality. If someone hurts you but you don’t want to lose the person, you might rationalize why it happened. “He didn’t mean to lash out at me for nothing. Working two jobs makes his nerves frayed but he doesn’t mean me harm.” “She loses her temper and insults me because I keep failing in her eyes so it’s my fault.” These kinds of excuses keep us stuck with people and situations that hurt us. Like Band-Aids, they protect the wound somewhat.

But real Band-Aids help a wound heal. Emotional ones prevent healing since they keep us in the situation that hurts.

We learn a variety of defenses and ways to escape painful situations growing up. Someone in a big family may learn that being the agreeable one gets them the attention they’d otherwise be deprived of. Some people develop a sense of humor that allows them to laugh when people pick on them and think it protects them from being hurt.

People pleasing protected me from being lonely but it also kept me stuck in DoorMatville. The false sense of security I got from it made me think I eased the hurt I had inside, but it really kept me from doing what was best for me. What’s your defense over things you don’t like? When you can identify what you do to protect yourself from people or situations that hurt you, you can slowly try to figure out how to change the situation itself.

Emotional Band-Aids keep you from taking steps to improve the situation, since they act as a buffer against the pain caused by it.

Butt the pain is still there. Anger gets repressed but not dissolved. It shows up in upset tummies, anxiety, headaches, etc. The only way to heal is to let go of the Band-Aids and face whatever it is you don’t like, so you can begin saying “no”, or leave someone who disrespects you, or set boundaries on negative behavior or the other healthy actions you can take. Don’t wait until the Band-Aids leave you too depressed or insecure or your self-esteem is too low to move forward towards a happier life.

Begin to be more loving to you NOW!

When you deal with what hurts you, instead of masking it under emotional Band-Aids, you can heal your life and love yourself more. Start slowly but start. Just like a physical wound has a scab after a Band-Aid is removed, you’ll probably have some residual discomfort at first once you begin to take control of situations or your response to people, instead of ignoring how people hurt you. When you ignore them, you still feel the pain. When you change your response, life gets better!
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Take the self-love challenge and get my book, How Do I Love Me? Let Me Count the Ways for free at http://howdoiloveme.com. 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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