Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

Lessons from a Recovering Doormat


Giving Yourself Space

Many of us think that not having activity going on around us is uncomfortable. We don’t know how to handle silence or having a little time with nothing specific to do. When I was a DoorMat, I couldn’t handle what I thought of as “empty pockets of time and space” in my life. If I was with someone and neither of us were talking, I’d jump in to say something because I saw it as awkward to be with someone and not talk. And if I had some free time, I didn’t know what to do with myself.

When there was no one around I’d immediately call someone to chat with. I couldn’t deal with just my own company. I often hear from people who feel the same way. A big factor is feeling not worthy of loving. I guess if I didn’t feel good enough for other people why would I want to be alone with just me? Silence was scary. Free time felt lonely.

Since I began to love myself, I’ve learned that free time and silence are lovely buffers against feeling stressed or  overwhelmed. The more you spend quiet time alone, the more you get used to it. I could never sit with my eyes closed and just breathe, not less meditate when I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin. Now that I am, I appreciate taking a few minutes to just be—to sit quietly and focus on my breathing. It relaxes me. When you can do this, you begin to own yourself and the space needed to decompress and commune with yourself.

It can take a while to get comfortable with sitting with a loved one without having to say a word or being alone with yourself and appreciating it. But it’s worth the effort. I used to treat people to dinner or a movie just to avoid being alone. Now I know I’m never alone when I’m with me. You don’t have to stay busy all the time. When you are, it may feel like you’re filling up a void. But you’re really dodging yourself. The busier you are, the less you have to pay attention to yourself. But you’re the most important person in your world, even if you don’t acknowledge it.

Give yourself the time and space to just be. Allow yourself to slow down and relax with silence. It’s lovely to be comfortable enough with someone you care about to not always have to talk to fill the silence. And it’s even lovelier to enjoy time alone, doing things you enjoy or giving yourself some downtime. You don’t always have to be doing something. Try to just be and enjoy the peacefulness it can bring.
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