Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

Empower Yourself with Don’t or Won’t

There are many things we know aren’t good for us but it’s hard to resist. From food to romantic partners, to your job, we often have to use strength to hold fast to a healthier choice or one that in the long run will serve you better or will set boundaries for the future. That can be hard, whether you’re fighting an urge with yourself or standing up to others. If you were brought up to be nice, you’re used to using nicer words and may be focused on “shoulds.“


So much of how you talk to yourself and to others is from habit, many of them made when you were a people pleaser. Even when you try to stay strong about not doing something, the words you use can make you feel weak, or at least not express good resolve. Pay attention to what you say when you try to resist something and make your words more definite. Being wishy washy or letting your desire still come through will lower your resolve and make you feel like it’s a struggle to resist. It should be an empowering moment. For example:

•    “I know I shouldn’t eat that.” That statement leaves room for a “but…” which can lead to you making an exception. Saying “I don’t eat desserts during the week” sets a more concrete boundary.


•    “I can’t go back to him.” If you were in a bad relationship and broke it off, that statement indicates you think you can’t but can also reflect a yearning for the good stuff you got. “It’s over for good.” sets a better tone for staying away from him.

•   “I hate when you do that.” So you hate it. That doesn’t mean the person must stop. If you want them to stop, then say, “Stop! Don’t do that anymore.”

•    “My boss is impossible to work for so I should get another job.” It’s impossible yet you’re still there. “I won’t work here anymore and will get a new job” will get you out of there faster and feels more empowering.

Those first statements can make you feel like you’re trying to resist something you still want and that you feel deprived about not being able to have it. You still want the dessert, the guy or the job but don’t want the negatives that go with it. The most important aspects are those negatives. Using the firmer words—don’t, won’t—keep you focused on why you must resist instead of allowing the longing to keep you from feeling strong about resisting it.


Watch the words you use, both to yourself and out loud. Make sure you use words that empower you instead of weakening your resolve. You’ll get a lot more positives that way!

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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