Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

From Cheating to CHOOSING

I was recently on a train, happily doing a Sudoku puzzle. I do puzzles in ink and it’s a mess if I discover too far down the road that I’ve made a mistake, so I occasionally look in the back at the answers to make sure what I wrote is correct. As I opened the answer page, the guy sitting next to me (a stranger) laughed and said, “You’re cheating.” I was stunned, but remembered that in my DoorMat days, I was embarrassed for anyone to see I checked the answers as I went along.

Now I had a different perspective: Why is it cheating if it’s my CHOICE?

I got annoyed with the guy but didn’t respond at all. The look I gave him said enough (are you crazy?!). I began to think of all the things we call cheating that aren’t cheating and how it can hurt self-image. Cheating isn’t nice. It’s doing something wrong. But I’m not wrong if I want to check the answer to a puzzle that I’m doing for pleasure. I can CHOOSE to do whatever I want!

Using negative words to describe something you’ve done that isn’t bad hurts YOU!

Some synonyms for the word CHEAT are, deceive, defraud, con, take advantage of, and trick. I didn’t do any of those things when I looked at the puzzle answers. I do many kinds of word and number problems and prefer to check the answers as I go. These puzzles are for pleasure only, not to prove to the buttinski on the train that I’m smart enough to do them without help. Yet that word is also used in situations where you might feel guilty about doing something that really isn’t bad, or cheating.

I’ve heard others who also check answers while they do a puzzle say they cheat on puzzles. Yet they’re not deceiving anyone, including themselves, nor defrauding, conning, tricking or taking advantage of anyone. A big one is how many people say they “cheat” on their diets, when all they do it eat something more fattening, which isn’t a crime. But each time cheat is used, your self-esteem gets wounded.

Yet it’s not cheating! It’s CHOOSING to do something that others might disagree with, or that you’d rather not do, or doing things against the norm.

People assume you should finish a puzzle and then look up the answers. My pleasure isn’t in finishing. I love doing the puzzle. So I’d prefer to know if I make a mistake early so I don’t blow the whole puzzle. And it’s OKAY! Now I know I don’t owe any explanations or apologies. Referring to something you do as cheating makes you feel guilty. The guy who accused me of cheating on my puzzle tried to do that to me.

But since I’m empowered now, I believe HE should feel guilty about interfering with my pleasure at doing the puzzle MY way!

People call it cheating when they eat something more decadent than they think they should. Why ruin your pleasure in having a splurge by inflicting guilt? It’s not cheating—it’s your CHOICE. Someone in a relationship who sleeps with someone else is cheating. Copying someone’s answers on a test is cheating. Faking documents or deductions on your income taxes is cheating. Those are all conscious actions, knowing they were wrong or illegal.

Choosing to do something that hurts no one—but it goes against the norm or what you think you should do—is NOT cheating.

Yet so many people perceive themselves as cheaters and then torture themselves with the idea of it, ruining what should be pleasure by seeing themselves as cheaters. I used to be friendly with someone who was always on a diet. I mean ALWAYS! She was very slender and trim but terrified of gaining weight. If she had a bite of my sandwich, she lamented about cheating on her perpetual diet. If she splurged on ice cream, she’d ruin her pleasure with guilt about being a cheater.

I enjoy doing my puzzles while checking the answers and will continue to do so with pleasure. I’ll also enjoy food splurges with gusto. And I will never label myself a cheater because of it. We’re so quick to use negative words when we’re not perfect. I prefer loving ones now! The guy on the train who accused me of cheating must have his own issues if he said that to a stranger who was minding her own business.

Much of what some call cheating is actually choosing to do something that’s not what you think your SHOULD do or that you don’t see as your best or healthiest choice.

Taking a shortcut if it gets you where you want to go isn’t cheating. Nor is eating something fattening, or anything else where you bend the rules for personal satisfaction without deceiving someone else. Watch how you label! Calling yourself a negative name is a self-esteem buster, however subtle it might seem. I love myself much too much to do that now!

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Law of Attraction in Action: Excuses

This is post 48 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 the posts in this series to see how.

Last week I talked about how we sabotage making our dreams come true by putting out the wrong message to the Law of Attraction. I hear clients, friends, people I work with, etc., make excuses for not doing what they say they want. They often tell me I just don’t understand, but I do, only too well. I spent many years yearning to get out of DoorMatville but couldn’t budge to leave. My excuses were too strong. They were the Crazy Glue that kept my feet stuck so I couldn’t make the moves I knew I should.

Excuses tell the Law of Attraction that you’re not ready for what you say you want.

It is sooooooo easy to find excuses for not doing stuff. I was a master at it. Fear can make you a master at it. You may see what you want in front of you and get scared of going for it or scared of actually manifesting more. If you’re not confident in your ability to handle what you want, excuses are a perfect way to postpone making moves.

The trouble is, the more you postpone by making excuses, the more you buy into the excuses and the more they become your reality.

Each time you express an excuse for not moving forward or doing something you would—deep down—love to do, the vibes for not doing it get stronger as the Law of Attraction does its thing. Each excuse strengthens the glue that keeps you stuck as they become your reality. I’ve seen that most excuses are only copouts for being scared or not wanting to try to do something and noticed some common ones:

* “It’s not the right time to do it.” NOW is usually the right time. But if you’re scared or doubtful, you think it’s not right. That attracts more reasons for it not being the right time. It’s so easy to postpone dreams and hard to find the right time. There will always be obstacles, no matter when you do it. But people bring their dreams to fruition every day. I sure do! Work on the fears or doubts and then take a step. If you have a family to support, it might not be the right time to quit your job, but you can set the wheels in motion to find a new one. Then you can quit. The right time to begin taking a baby step toward your goal is NOW!

* “I have no idea how to start a business, even though I believe my idea would work.” That’s what books and classes are for. There’s very little that you may want to do that doesn’t have a book, class or person for private lessons. If you really want to do something, learn how and then do it! I had no idea of how to start a record label but went to seminars and hired a consultant to teach me. My label was successful for 5 years! Lack of know-how is not a legit excuse, especially not with what the Internet offers!

* “I have too much on my plate.” I always say that if you can’t make time for something, you don’t really want it. I’ve been working constantly to finish the book I just turned in. But when I got an offer to write another very exciting one, I immediately agreed and rearranged my plate a little. That’s why I didn’t write my blog recently. If your dream is something you truly want, figure out how to give it some priority, even if it takes baby steps and more time than you’d like. Doing nothing will make reaching that goal take a lot longer.

* “I’m afraid to fail.” Well it certainly won’t happen if you don’t try! So what are you losing? Worrying about failing before you even start sabotages your dreams. Faith counters that. When you accept in your heart that the Law of Attraction supports your intentions, you have NO reason to worry about failure. Worrying about failure attracts failure or inaction and tells the Universe you don’t believe it will happen. Then it doesn’t!

* “I don’t know where to begin.” Take the first, teeniest baby step for achieving your goal. Learn what you need, ask for advice, write down what needs to be done. Then ask your spiritual source for guidance. Whenever I don’t know where to begin, I ask God to show me the best path for my highest good. Then I remain on high alert so I don’t miss an opportunity. I’ve seen something in a magazine that triggered awareness of what to do. Or I hear from someone who can help me. The signs may be subtle but they do come if you’re alert to them. I always get what I need to get something done.

* “I want to ____ but I don’t feel ready to do it.” You ARE ready–from the moment you CHOOSE to be–by putting what you need out to the Universe and EXPECTING it to happen. Put yourself into God’s or the Universe’s hands with confidence, as I do now. The more I do, the more it’s reinforced that I get back my intentions. Things ALWAYS work out when I LET them IF I have faith they will. The Law of Attraction doesn’t let me down, if I don’t let myself down by having doubts. That’s a lovely way to live! My faith gets stronger each time I reach a physical or mental destination at just the right time.

You have the power to manifest and manifest and manifest if you cut the excuses and send the right thoughts out so the Law of Attraction can work with you. Excuses set the Law of Attraction to work against your desires, since it attracts what you think, not what you want. I think about what I want and get it! You can too if you stop making excuses, set positive intentions and let God/the Universe help you. Dropping the excuses tells the Law of Attraction that you’re ready!

See all the Law of Attraction in Action Series..

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I Make My Bed Every Day!

The title of this must sound like a weird statement. I make my bed every day! To most people this would seem normal, like brushing your teeth every day. But when I was a DoorMat, I rarely made my bed. It happened when I knew someone was coming over but never on a regular basis. I figured I’d just unmake it at night so why bother making it in the morning?

Looking back, leaving my bed unmade was at least partly rebellion against feeling out of control. It was something I could choose.
I grew up in a home where everything was intensely organized and neat. I had no control over my living space and as a good girl, did as I was told. When I got married, every chore was “women’s work” according to my husband. I silently resented that but again did what I was told. I cooked and washed dishes and did everyday things that truly had to be done. But I could live without my bed being made. If my husband didn’t like it, he could make it. He didn’t.

Low self-esteem helped me tolerate the messiness of my unmade bed.
When I got divorced, I continued my sloppy ways. My bed was always how I left it upon getting up in the morning. It became the norm for me, along with rarely putting away dishes that had been washed. All the clutter became normal to me. Friends commented on how sloppy my place always looked but it just fit with how I felt about myself…until I got on the train out of DoorMatville.

As I began to feel better about me, my habits, or lack of them, mattered more. Before I didn’t feel worthy of a nice living environment but now I did!
A newly developed spiritual outlook made me understand that my environment reflected how I saw myself. I began to clean and get rid of clutter. With each spot I cleaned or made neater, I noticed I felt better about me. Pride! That was a new experience. I’d never felt proud as a DoorMat. Shame was more like it. I didn’t feel good enough for anything. Now I was freeing myself from those feelings by cleaning and organizing!

I felt jubilant as my place looked nicer and realized it was more than the appearance. I was giving myself control over my enviroment. That was spectacular!
Habits take time to break. Often it can take time just to know you have them. After years of an unmade bed, I didn’t notice it. One day I decided that should change. I didn’t even know how to make a bed nicely! My efforts weren’t the greatest. But when I came home to a fairly neat bed, I couldn’t stop smiling and vowed to continue. And I’ve made my bed almost every day since.

Sometimes I’m in a hurry and have an excuse to skip it. But then I remind myself it doesn’t take long and do it.

It might not be as neat as when I have more time, but it’s made. I still get pleasure when I walk into my bedroom and see the bed. I haven’t tired of it years later. Each time I do it is a reminder that I’ve taken control of my sloppiness. It felt so good that I extended this control to the kitchen. No matter how tired I am, it’s rare for me to leave dishes in the sink or dish drain overnight.
And I must clear the dish drain before I go to sleep. This too makes me smile! I’m in control now, not a belief that I’m not worthy of a neat home!

Breaking old habits is a great way to improve your self esteem. The more you take control of one, the more empowered you feel. Plus, the results will usually make you feel good just to have been done. My bed has become a symbol of how far I’ve come. The more I maintain my habit of making it every day, the better I feel about me.
Bad habits can be replaced by better ones. Try to take some control back by identifying one of your bad habits and finding a better one to replace it with. It can take time for it to sink in but when it does, YOU are the beneficiary of that new habit. Taking control of your habits is a HUGE blessing that can have profound results, both short term (like feeling good seeing my bed made every day) and long term (the cumulative improvement in my self-image).

Try it and enjoy the results! It truly increases your awareness for having more self-love!

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Changing Your Mind

I’m happy to have Clinical Social Worker and Marriage Family Therapist, Michele Germain, also the author of “The Jill Principle – A Women’s Guide To Healing Her Spirit After Divorce Or Breakup (Llewellyn Worldwide) as my guest.

Creating A Healthy Mind
by Michele Germain

Are you trying to “bully” yourself into shape with your self talk? Is your mind flooded with thoughts of self-criticism, should’s and self-imposed pressure? Where did all this negative self-talk begin and why? If you don’t know the answer to these questions then it is time to carefully listen to your mind and find out exactly what it is you are telling yourself. First let me explain where it all begins.

Your negative self-talk begins in childhood. Our natural vulnerability is obvious. When you receive negative messages from your environment, your parents and others, your child’s mind is very impressionable. Unfortunately, those negative messages are taken in and they become part of your self-esteem and self talk.

The negative messages you internalize do not go away, they just become hidden and that becomes part of the negative internal dialog you presently have with yourself as an adult.

Let me explain further. In working with thousands of adult men and women one-on-one and in marriage counseling, I have found that affirmations are simply not enough. Even counseling or psych-therapy where all you do is talk, talk, talk, does not necessarily change your negative thinking.

It is important to connect with the voice of the inner child, name the negative thinking, and acknowledge that it started very early in your childhood.

Then bring compassionate understanding to yourself. Your child’s mind was not mature enough to say,” well my parents really don’t mean what they say; they are just frustrated and did not get the love they needed from their parents.” Instead the child internalizes the messages and now the negative messages and voice of the parent becomes your own. Your parents are now sitting on your shoulder.

We all need to use our minds to manage the changes, stress and the unknown. But, it order to achieve positive results you cannot start with self-criticism. It does take time to change your negative self-talk, but not impossible.

To investigate your inner child’s early programming you might quickly consider going through your day and noticing your negative self talk. If you do this for a few days you will notice a theme. You may notice that you frequently worry about the future, or obsess over past events beating yourself up, to name only a few themes. This self-talk theme you may not notice as it can be silently be going on in the background of your mind. Or, your negative self-talk could be spoken out loud when you are casually going through your day, or when someone ask you “how are you doing”?

How do you change this negative self-talk?

The first step is to just notice that you are engaging in self-critical or fear based self-talk. Most people spend 80% of their time in their minds, either thinking, thinking thinking, or talking talking talking, but not listening. The first step requires that you pause during your day and be silent, stop and listen to what you are telling yourself. Write down five negative thoughts that you are hearing yourself say.

The second step is to be compassionate with yourself, knowing that what you are hearing is the voice of your wounded inner child. Much of the time we spend putting ourselves under a microscope judging and being critical with decision, behavior, etc. Compassion is a critical step to develop and it will be easy now that you know this self-talk started with the innocent mind of the child.

The Third step is where you begin to update your inner child by reprogramming and putting in positive thoughts. This is like putting your inner child on your lap and saying that what she/he thinks is not really the truth of who you are, it is bringing self-love and understanding and the positive viewpoint which is updating the old into the new thinking.

Do not be hostage to your negative thoughts. You can change your negative thinking just follow the three (3) step process, it works. The process can be speeded along by working with a professional who deals with inner child work to help you identify your negative self-talk. Be patience and you will create a healthy mind.

Michele Germain is the author of The Jill Principle – A Women’s Guide To Healing Her Spirit After Divorce Or Breakup (Llewellyn Worldwide) and licensed as a Clinical Social Worker and Marriage Family Therapist in California. She’s a Certified Bioenergetic Analyst, specializing in the mind/body connection, an approach that resolves the emotional pain remaining in the body. Germain is also a relationship expert, and helps individuals find the spiritual gift in their crisis or breakup and does phone counseling. She has appeared on radio, cable television and in print media. She can also be found on www.beyondbreakup.com.

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