Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

We all do it at least sometimes—going to a negative place while waiting for something you want to happen if you don’t get good news immediately. You may be waiting for a call from a friend who you just reconnected with and worry that she decided you aren’t worth the time. Then she calls and apologizes for the delay but her mom was sick. You feel relief and relax about it. But do you consider all the wasted stress you created by worrying she’d never call? Probably not.

It’s not terrible if you do this very occasionally, though it’s better to completely break the habit. But some of us do it as a regular response to waiting for something you’re anxious about. This was me back in my DoorMat days. When waiting to hear from someone who meant a lot to me or for news I was anxious about I’d put myself through the wringer while waiting. What ifs were abundant—always assuming the worst. And I’d suffer from getting the worst, even though I hadn’t gotten anything yet. Usually the result wasn’t even close to the terrible things I imagined.

If I went to the doctor and he was late in letting me know my test results, I’d agonize about having an awful health issue. That often would create symptoms from the stress I caused my body, which fed into my fear. Then the nurse would call and say everything was fine and I’d be so relieved. Yet I’d already lived with the idea that I had a health problem, sometimes for days or more. So I suffered unnecessarily over and over.

The worst was when I’d meet a guy I liked and waited to hear from him. I often hear women going crazy waiting to see if he’ll call, as I used to do. I’d cry as if we were over, look for all the things about myself that could have turned him off and whine to friends constantly about how badly I felt. And then he’d call a week later and asked me out for dinner. By then I’d mourned our breakup that didn’t happen. Yet we do this to ourselves without thinking.

Self-love and strong faith allowed me to develop the patience to wait for the call or news without going to a “what if?” place. If I’m waiting to hear if I got a book deal, I trust I have the right one at the right time and don’t dwell on it. If I like a guy and hope to see him again, I trust that if it’s meant to be I’ll hear from him. If I might have a health problem, I trust that I’ll be okay.

It’s unloving and unfaithful to suffer through consequences that your mind creates, which are of the worst cast scenarios that never happen. Yet we suffer like it’s a done deal, which I now see as self-punishment in a way. I used to justify it by saying it made the relief of my fears not panning out more sweet when I’d get the call or good news. But that was a copout! Doing that puts you on an unhealthy emotional seesaw of highs and lows.

It’s so much healthier to keep your faith and patience strong enough to just wait. Love yourself enough to do that! Then you can deal with something you don’t like if it ends up really happening. But more often you won’t have to deal with any negatives at all, which makes life so much lighter.

Take the 31 Days of Self-Love Challenge–a pledge to do something loving for yourself for the next 31 days–and get my book, How Do I Love Me? Let Me Count the Ways for free at Read my 31 Days of Self-Love Posts from 2012 HERE.

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