Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

prison bars.JPGLast week I talked about the importance of speaking up for YOU, your needs and your time in my post called Turning Over Your Welcome Mat. I

call it personal freedom because tying up your time for others keeps you a prisoner of other people’s needs. Setting boundaries on what you can and can’t do gives you freedom over what you do with your life. If you feel like an out of control people pleaser, ask yourself:

•    Am I happy making other people more important than me?
•    Would I be happy to spend my time doing what’s important to me?

If you answered yes to the first, I guarantee you’re not happy. Relieved maybe, to think you’re so nice that it’s enough to bask in the knowledge that you helped others so people will like you more. But, what’s the point of other people liking you if you don’t like yourself???!! I wish someone had asked me that years ago, when I wasn’t thinking at all. I just acted–for everyone but me!

I finally understood that doing things at the expense of your health, happiness, needs or self-image isn’t nice, no matter how many people benefit from your sacrifices.

Do you believe saying “no” isn’t nice? A nice person who finishes first accepts that saying “no” can be the nicest thing you do for yourself. Go to a mirror and say, “I’m doing nothing wrong by making ME important.” Don’t other people do that? Do the people you jump to help jump to support everything you need? I promise that your tongue won’t fall off if you say “no” to a request. Doing a favor should be a choice, not your obligation.

Watch how other people turn you down and learn from them. The first time your say “no” is usually the hardest. For People Pleasers, it can be like learning another language. I’d talk to myself and force “no” out. Initially, it may not feel exhilarating. People may balk. The first negative reaction made me queasy. But it becomes joyful with practice. People often tell me, “I can’t say no.” You can!! But the more you affirm you can’t, the stronger it becomes your truth. It’s your right to prioritize! You CHOOSE to be agreeable. Now CHOOSE to stop! Some tips to begin are:

•        Don’t be apologetic: Why say you’re sorry you can’t if you’re not? If people hear resolve in your voice, they’ll accept your decision. If they hear regret, they’ll keep asking. Apologies bring more requests since they think you feel bad about not being able to help. Don’t reinforce being asked for more favors by saying you’re sorry! Leave just that you can’t.

•    Make each “no” an individual decision: For each request, think, “Is this okay for me to do?” If it’s not inconvenient, consider it. Break out of autopilot by always saying you have to get back to the person. That gives you time to think. Find a balance between helping you, and others. If you’re pushed for an immediate response, explain then you’ll have to say “no.”

•    Start slowly: Baby step, one person at a time, the easiest first. It takes time to break people’s habits of expecting your acquiescence and for you to get used to the discomfort that may come at first. As you see your world doesn’t implode when you say “no,” it gets easier.

•    Don’t succumb to pressure: People may use guilt, etc. to change your mind. Nicely but firmly hold your ground. If someone calls you selfish, point out that it’s selfish to expect you to bend your schedule for their needs, without an angry tone and with a smile. Turn the guilt onto the person making demands!

•    Don’t justify: Don’t defend why you can’t do something. Just say you can’t with conviction. Pay attention to how much, or little, other people explain why when they can’t help you.

•    Be firm in saying “no.” Don’t dance around it. “I’d love to help but…” Saying, “I can’t” tells them to ask someone else.

If you need permission to say “no,” consider it given. I believe that God wants us all to be happy and often saying “no” to others means saying “yes” to something that will make you happy. So take some deep breaths and try it out! It may feel uncomfortable or scary but each “no” is a small step out of DoorMatville. Please share your experiences in the comment section.

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Gary Player book.jpgI’m honored to have an interview with Gary Player, one of golf’s greatest champions. As one of the “Big Three” of golf’s golden era (with Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer), he helped launch golf as a major international sport. He built a reputation of being fearless on the course and steely on the greens. His new book, Don’t Choke is his look at what it takes to achieve success when the pressure is on. While Player explains how and why he became a champion and what it takes to win in big-time golf, he also emphasizes how learning to cope in pressure situations can help anyone.

Player has had a long successful career in business since his playing
days. His book gives a personal glimpse into the mind of a champion and
offers lessons to everyone who faces pressure. Below is some advice and
lessons that everyone can learn.

What important lessons do you discuss in your book?  Patience, the
understanding that everyone fails at some point and the key to failure
is to learn from it. And the power of positive thinking. The mind is so
important both on and off of the golf course and once you learn to
master your attitude your body will follow.

Has success has changed you as a person?  No. I grew up with very little
and knew what it meant to want more. I never forgot what it felt like
so when I reached the success that I did, my upbringing always kept me
grounded. I have never forgotten to give back to those in need.

How do you manage to prioritize your many responsibilities and continue
to live such a balanced life?
 It’s not easy, but the great thing is
that I am doing what I love. Our golf course design business has over 60
active projects around the world. I still enjoy traveling to different
countries and learning about their history, customs and religions. The
work we are doing for at risk children across the world through The
Player Foundation
is extremely important to me. We have raised more than
$30 million. Our goal is to reach $100 million. I spend a lot of time
on my farm in South Africa with my horses. That is my nirvana.

Do you have any health advice?  Eat a proper diet, exercise regularly
and take your health seriously. The problem of obesity is growing
and children and their parents just do not understand how to eat
properly. The amount of fatty, sugary foods that children eat is
frightening. We must educate children, parents and schools about the
need to treat your body like temple.

With so many accomplishments, which do you think is the most important?
It is difficult for me to point to one single accomplishment. On the
course, winning the Grand Slam on the PGA Tour and Champions Tour was
very important for me. Off of the course I am extremely proud of the
school we built at Blair Atholl to help children in need.  

What do you most want to be remembered for?  For being a good father,
husband and grandfather. For giving back to those in need. For
spreading LOVE.

Who has had the most influence on you in your life? There were many
people who influenced my life, but my family had the greatest impact.  I
have always admired Nelson Mandela, Winston Churchill, Gandhi, Mother
Theresa and the Dali Lama.

If you could teach one thing to make a difference in someone’s life,
what would it be?
 To learn about the power of positive thinking. I have
always maintained a positive attitude about life and that has probably
been the most important factor in my success. Love, forgiveness and
patience are all critical attributes to have.

Gary Player lives by the principles he imparts to others. His focus on
giving back for his blessings reflects in his success. Check out his new
book, Don’t
, for more life lessons.

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Question Mark fuschia.jpgMany of the comments for my posts tell me a story and then ask, “Am I a DoorMat?” To paraphrase an old saying: If it looks like a duck and walks like a duck and talks like a duck… Do you think it’s a duck? In most cases, if you think you’re a DoorMat, you probably are, to at least some degree. Most of us have a little bit of DoorMat in us. I still do. It’s natural to want people to like you and feels good on some levels about being agreeable.

But when your agreeable ways lead to feeling unhappy or you’re questioning whether or not you’re a DoorMat, it’s time to do things differently.

In a comment on my post on Turning Over Your Welcome Mat, Jewel asked for confirmation that she’s a DoorMat. She already knows she is. Her ex left her a snotty message that he was in town and if she wanted to see him, she could meet him for breakfast the next day, in a restaurant convenient for him, not her, knowing she’s unemployed so money is tight. She said she always ends up driving to see him and it’s always about him.

Yes, behavior that you do for others that makes you feel low or bad or hurt or any other negative emotion means you need to set better boundaries.

He’s an ex for a reason. Ask yourself why you need to see him? Often, our behavior is a series of habits that can be broken. You might be running to see him because you always have, not because seeing him is important. Make new friends, especially with yourself! Focus your energy on being more loving to YOU, getting your act together and finding a job. Let your ex eat with the people who still allow themselves to be ordered around by someone who makes everyone revolve around his wishes.

The first time you stay home might feel weird, but hold on to the fact that you’re doing something loving for YOU. Let the knowledge that you took control of that situation empower you. I still remember the first time I stopped jumping for someone who made me unhappy with his behavior. I was crazy about him but knew I deserved better treatment and to have my needs respected. My sadness quickly turned to joy when I though about how empowering it was to control what I did, and didn’t do. Focus on controlling what you say yes to and eventually you’ll shed your DoorMat skin!

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Thumbnail image for * LOA logo2.jpgThis is post 90 in my series on the Law of Attraction in Action. You CAN use your power to attract all that you need. I do it every day! Read all the posts in my Law of Attraction in Action Series to see how.

Since the Law of Attraction supports what we think and say, silence can seem like a neutral state for manifesting. But it isn’t if you’re silent in cases where speaking up stops negatives. Think about it. How many women tolerate bad behavior from a romantic partner without speaking up because they think they must tolerate it or be alone?

How many times have you been annoyed or hurt or insulted by someone but chose to let it go to keep the boat from rocking?

Much of the world was silent when Hitler carted millions of people to concentration camps. Later regret didn’t bring back the lost lives. It seems to be human nature to not speak up when things don’t concern you directly or when they do, but you’re scared of alienating someone you think you need. The Law of Attraction reads silence about these things as acquiescence.

Silence about unacceptable behavior tells the person you think it’s acceptable. It gives them permission to continue.

I had a client whose friend was very sarcastic, in ways that hurt her a lot. Jerri complained about Carla often. I asked if she told Carla how she felt. No, she said, it was just Carla’s way. She talked to everyone like that. Everyone accepted it as how Carla was. Then Jerri went off on another rant about how nasty it is. Hello! I explained that just because it was how Carla treated everyone, it still wasn’t right. Silence gave Carla permission to keep putting people down with her sarcasm.

If you’re silent about something that bothers you, the Law of Attraction will bring you more.

People test. If you continuously let someone take advantage of your kindness, the behavior will continue unless you speak up. Two words can stop it–“That’s unacceptable.” As I came out of DoorMatville, “UNACCEPTABLE” became a word I used often to stop people who treated me poorly or used me. As far as I’m concerned, all behavior that consciously, or even unconsciously, hurts another is unacceptable. “That’s unacceptable” breaks the silence and stops giving permission.

Martin Luther King, Jr. “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

How people treat you matters! How people treat others matters! When you hear racial slurs or gay bashing, that’s unacceptable. Physical and verbal abuse is unacceptable. Lying is unacceptable. And much more! When you break your silence and stand up for yourself or for others and let someone know their words or behavior is unacceptable, you attract self-respect. Jerri eventually said those words to Carla and you know what? Carla curtailed sarcasm aimed at Jerri yet they’re still friends. Jerri felt good about that. Carla continues being sarcastic to all the other silent folks.

Each time you stop behavior that’s unacceptable by saying something, you give yourself some love.

Silence can be golden in the right circumstances. But silence also sends a message to the Universe that you’re willing to tolerate intolerable behavior. Speak up! You don’t have to be nasty or loud. Two words said softly with intent can do it. “That’s unacceptable.” Or inappropriate, or find your own words and use them! DoorMats tolerate behavior they hate to keep the peace. Nice People on Top know better. Send a message that you deserve positive behavior ONLY and that’s what you’ll begin to attract!

See all the posts in my Law of Attraction in Action Series here.

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