Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

While it’s not officially happiness week, I’m calling it that and my posts this week will all relate to happiness. Why? BECAUSE I WANT YOU TO BE HAPPY!! I endured many years of unhappiness when I was a DoorMat. Even when I thought I was happy, looking back, I wasn’t. Often what I labeled happiness was relief at being accepted for a while or having some company for the moment. But those kinds of things were just Band-Aids on my unhappiness. It wasn’t until I left DoorMatville that I understood what real happiness felt like.

Yet wherever I go I meet unhappy people who are trying to soothe themselves with material Band-Aids that substitute for happiness. When I interviewed JD Messinger for earlier posts—Life Lessons from JD Messinger, Part 1 and Part 2 he told me he’d researched happiness in connection to his new book, 11 Days in May, and discovered some sad statistics. JD says:

“The United States is the largest, industrialized disconnected country in the world. No, I am not talking about technology, I am talking about being connected to our hearts. Years or research by valued organizations have shown that we have one of the lowest (if not the lowest) ratings of being happy in the major industrialized world. Why is that? I believe it is because we have lost touch with our souls. … In our search for happiness, we have resorted to buying things we cannot afford (and didn’t need) to fill an emptiness inside. That emptiness can only be filled with love and the first step is to love yourself, and the first step on loving yourself, begins with forgiving yourself.”

Feeling content with my life makes me happy. Yet I see so many people who measure their contentment by what they can buy. I once met a guy who goes to homes and offices to fix computers. He didn’t get to me until 8PM and looked tired. While he worked, his phone rang and beeped constantly. He laughed and said it was going to be a long night. I asked when he’d begun working and he said early in the morning, and added he was used to it as it was like this every day, even on weekends. I asked why he worked so hard.

He opened his bag and showed me all his tech toys, explaining that the only way he could be happy was to have all the latest ones and technology changed so fast he was constantly buying new toys. But he didn’t look happy. How can anyone be if they push to work long hours all the time. His happiness was based on the short-lived rush of buying something new. There’s so much available to buy, but can stuff really give you contentment inside?  I, like many people pleasers, used to base my happiness on making others happy. Looking back, I know I was unhappy most of the time, despite my excuses.

Happiness comes from being content with yourself on the inside. Self-love triggers it and also sustains it. Being content with who you are is the foundation for being happy, which is why I began The Self-Love Movement. When you love yourself, you treat you in ways that feel good. This tech guy was always stressed, which isn’t fun, or loving. He admitted to getting sick a lot. Being rundown causes that. Yet he reassured me he worked thought it all. And it was all to buy stuff he could rarely devote time to!

Buying stuff, pleasing people, and all the other external things you do in the name of happiness are really done to fill some emptiness inside you. But tech toys, new clothes, a new car and all the other things you buy to make yourself happy just fill a void that can be filled by nurturing yourself on the inside. If you want to experience true happiness, begin by treating yourself with true kindness, the kind you can’t buy—by building self-love. When you’re happy on the inside because you’re happy with you, you’ll wake up with an overall feeling of happiness every day, no matter what’s going on in your life.

Having gone after happiness from the outside and finally learning to love me, I can attest that happiness from the inside out fills the voids I used to fill with stuff. I no longer need anything to make me feel happier. Some stuff that I get does make me feel happier. But I’m happy without it too! Inner contentment is where happiness blooms from, so please—stoke your happiness mojo!

Join the Self-Love Movement! Take the 31 Days of Self-Love Commitment 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 HERE.

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