Beliefnet
Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

fistI grew up hearing about what females are “supposed to do.” My friends and I pretended we were brides when I was young. It was a goal we all aspired to achieve. We played with our dolls to practice being mothers—another goal that we were taught to strive for. Boys were told they had to be good providers and keep their emotions in check, which can create a lot of pressure. Neither sex asked foe their “supposed to dos” but we got them anyway.

I got married at twenty because I dated my husband all through college and our parents decided it was time. I hadn’t lived yet or been on my own but I thought I was supposed to get married so I did. He was a teacher and I was pushed to be one too so we’d have the same hours and vacations. So my twenties were spent teaching school, which I never wanted to do, and being a good wife. I felt like I’d lost myself. DoorMats often feel this way.

Both sexes are raised with beliefs about what they’re “supposed to” go after. But just because something is the norm, doesn’t mean you have to do it! You don’t have to be a DoorMat and become part of a system that stereotypes men and women into adopting roles that are considered acceptable.

It’s normal to wasn’t to live up to someone else’s expectations—your parents, your spouse, your teacher, etc. may think they know best for you, but what you do should be YOUR choice. Making your life based on what someone else wants for you is giving your life away. You only have one so own it!

I know how hard it can be to get the courage to be true to you as I talked about in my post Why Do Friends Judge What Makes Me Happy? When you try to step out of the role you’re expected to have people may judge or criticize you. Getting a negative response can make you run back to your old ways.

Building self-love saved me. The more I loved me, the more I wanted to do what I thought would make me happy. I knew I deserved it! Eventually I burned the renewal form for my teaching license so I’d have no choice but to reinvent myself. And I did. Loving me gave me the courage to be what I wanted to be. Following your passions is the best way to live, even if it means less money. Ask yourself:

* Am I happy doing what I’m doing?
* What would make me happier?
* Would my life be better if I followed my heart?
* What’s the worst that could happen if I try something new?
* Could I handle it?
* Is being true to me worth a possible backlash from friends and family?
* Do I deserve to be happy?

I can answer the last one for you—you do deserve to be happy! Try some smaller things to build your courage. As you make a change let your pleasure motivate courage to keep going. Love yourself enough to let the true you come out to play. It’s your choice to live the way others want you or to own your life.  After living in the shadow of other people’s expectations for years, I can say from experience that living for you is the happiest kind of life.
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Join The Self-Love Movement™! Take the 31 Days of Self-Love Commitment“I commit to do my best to do something loving for myself, however big or small, for the next 31 days. and get my book, How Do I Love Me? Let Me Count the Ways for free at http://howdoiloveme.com. Read my 2014 31 Days of Self-Love Posts HERE. Join the Self-Love Movement™! on Facebook. Watch the video made with Hoobastank’s song–The reason–that illustrates the power of self-love.

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