Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

I’ve heard it before, “Ha, ha, what I said was a joke.” But, it hurt! Comments that make you wince or embarrassed or hurt aren’t funny. Period. And people who put you down are unhealthy for you to have in your life. When I was a DoorMat I was a target for people to make the little jokes or innuendos about one of my flaws. I’d laugh but each one gave my fragile self-esteem another little beating.

As I got stronger, I realized how unacceptable these mean comments were. I didn’t need someone to point out my extra weight or unruly hair. I had eyes and could see it for myself. But it seemed like the more I felt good and improved my life, the more some people needed to find things wrong with me, and say so. They were like potholes on my way out of DoorMatville. I’d be feeling more empowered and SLAP—someone would point out what was wrong with me! A conversation with a lovely woman with her act together opened my eyes to the reality:

People who criticize others do it because they’re don’t like themselves and need to bring others down to share their unhappiness.

People who feel good about themselves want to make others feel good and don’t need to knock the joy out of someone. It was a revelation for me and made lots of sense as I thought about the kind of people who loved to point out flaws. They were also unhappy with themselves and often lamented about their extra pounds or being unable to find a job they enjoyed or believing they weren’t meant to be happy.

People who are dissatisfied with themselves try to bring others along for the ride. That’s a good reason to seek out people who are happy with who they are.

Mark Twain “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” I’ve gotten rid of my critics and made new friends who appreciate me and want to cheer me on, not tear me down. We support each other. In my DoorMat days I felt too insecure to be with people who had strong self-esteem and confidence. Being with those types made me feel worse about who I was. So I gravitated to the wounded and insecure people who felt better when they pointed out my flaws.

Pay attention to who you spend time with and how they make you feel. Friends should build you up, not try to make you feel worse.

I don’t need friends to point out my extra pounds. I can see them. If I say something wrong, I can correct myself without being the butt of a joke. Choose your companions wisely. Whether friends or relatives, seek to spend time with positive people. If people pick at your flaws, let them know that you find their comments unacceptable and they need to stop. Don’t get angry and bark at them. Just gently communicate that it must stop. And if it doesn’t, walk out of the room or hang up the phone. No one has a right to use you for target practice. Love yourself enough to stop it and seek out kinder people.

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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