Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

Most people want to be safe and there’s nothing wrong with that. But, when you box yourself and  your life in too tight, you lose out on the best fun, opportunities, and other stuff that adds delicious spice to life when you allow it in.

I encounter many people who try not to rock the boat and stay in their well-honed patterns. They choose their jobs based on the benefits instead of the pleasure they could get from a different one. They watch what they say so they don’t annoy anyone, even if people annoy them. They marry the “right” person for them—the one who seems like a good provider or who will make a good parent—instead of one they feel passionately in love with, who makes them feel excited about spending the rest of their lives together.

When I was a DoorMat I did everything I could to maintain the status quo. It felt safer. I let others lead me along instead of making my own choices. It seemed like the safe thing to do back then. I didn’t like many things that went on but at least I knew how to handle them and I got used to people treating me like a DoorMat, taking me for granted and ignoring my needs. It was life as I knew it, for better or worse. I was too scared to stand up for myself or take a risk since I couldn’t know the outcome for certain. My creativity and passion for adventure were stifled. I passed time instead of living fully. Many people do that.

Often we don’t even recognize our patterns when they’ve become so ingrained. I remember when I was going to be in the area where a friend worked and asked if she wanted to meet for lunch. She told me she goes for Indian food on Fridays. I didn’t want that and suggested something else. I was shocked when she replied that she always has Indian food on Fridays. I asked why? She didn’t know. There was no special on Fridays or any good reason. She’d just gotten into that routine and it stuck like glue. I pushed her to join me at a café and she ended up feeling good about it. Now she tries to eat at different places.

Getting into eating habits like my friend isn’t terrible. But it leads to more serious ones that keep us stuck, without realizing it. When I was married, every vacation was to a different historical city that we could drive to. My husband loved that. I did like it too, but never thought about where I’d like to go if I had the choice. When I decided to take my first solo vacation, I had no idea where to actually go. I was so used to someone else choosing for me. It made me crazy.

Then I thought about John Denver’s classic, “Colorado Rocky Mountain High.” I loved being in the mountains and decided to go to Colorado. For the first time—literally!—in my life I spontaneously booked a trip to Aspen. It was summertime. I left two days later to the amazement of everyone who knew me. I was terrified to travel on my own but it was the beginning of a love affair with going places solo. I only went for four days but it woke my desire for adventure and showed me I could comfortably leave my comfort zone.

William Shedd said, “A ship in harbour is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.”

I believe that people are not put on this earth to just pass time like I did for so many years. I went through the motions of daily living but pleasure wasn’t there. Leaving my comfort zone attracted the kind of joy I could never imagine having. Now my life is full of passion every day. My comfort zone has greatly expanded as I’ve tried so many new things that seemed scared but fun.

Take one step out of your comfort zone and see what happens. Then take another. Life it meant to be enjoyed, explored, expanded and lived with passion. I felt comatose when I lived in DoorMatville, taking the same automatic steps every day. Now I wake up and feel vibrant energy every day because my life is MY life. I’m not living for others anymore. Take that first taste! It can be so delicious that you’ll want the whole thing.

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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