Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

Oh No, She Didn’t! But She Did

Last night I caught part of The Bachelor. There was so much hype about the ending that I was curious. Jason, the bachelor, who lost when he was one of the final two on The Bachelorette, had to choose between 2 lovely women. He knew what it was like to be one of 2 candidates hoping to win the heart. Yet he learned nothing and was so selfish in his decisions. From the snippets I’ve seen, Jason has been like a pig at a chick smorgasbord. He kissed (and probably a lot more in private) as many women as he could get his lips on.

Joy Behar sprayed his lips with Purell before she kissed him on the View! ? He did get around.

So after being rejected by Deanna, all of a sudden Jason was ‘the man.” Women begged for his attention and he gave it in exchange for physical contact. I never watched full shows yet I saw a lot of making out and fondling. And, he spent the night with several. My thought throughout was “What self-respecting woman would want to be with a guy who jumped into intimacy with woman after woman?” The “winner” got to see it all on TV after.

When a woman gets intimate with a few guys she’s labeled a slut and scorned, which is totally unfair! Yet Jason was treated like a king by women who knew about his chick jumping.

I hate this double standard but more importantly, I hate seeing all these women—gorgeous, fit, and otherwise bright —throwing themselves at this guy, begging for crumbs, and fighting for his attention, and love. DON’T THEY GET IT YET THAT YOU CAN’T WIN LOVE ON A TV SHOW! Yes, Trista and Ryan are still married and have a baby. But that one possible success out of a boatload of failures doesn’t compensate. Nor do we know if they’re really happy.

Meanwhile, many women watch this show and seeing these attractive women set a poor example of how desperate women can be.

At the end of the show, Jason dumped Molly, explaining that he’d fallen in love with Melissa. Molly left hurt and angry. She warned Jason that he’d made a big mistake. Jason said he knew better and was very much in love with Melissa. After only 6 weeks and 25 women, Jason couldn’t have fallen in love. People jump into relationships so fast that they don’t let the sexual chemistry settle before declaring their love. And what made this situation go from bad to sickening is that Jason, who expressed so much love for his son Ty, brought him into this scenario.

“Here’s your new mom Ty!” But as Ty bonded with Melissa, Jason changed his mind. On the after show, he explained that his feelings were different for Melissa since the show ended.

He acted forlorn as he matter of factly said that now he realized he should have picked Molly. Hey, you can send a dish back in a restaurant! Why not trade one desperate woman for another. He tried to act all sweet but there was an arrogance in his decision to end it with Melissa and order a Molly meal. Jason was confused about why it felt different now with Melissa. Hello!

Jason, you jumped into it without knowing each other and now that you do, don’t like what you know! Relationships take LOTS of time to develop.

Needless to say, Melissa wasn’t happy. But does out boy Jason learn? NOPE! He then declared his love to Molly. She looked at him like he was crazy when he asked if he could start seeing her and go slow this time. Okay, maybe he has learned a teensy bit. She kept giving him an “I know you didn’t!” look as he professed his feelings. Here I was thinking that she’d give Jason his comeuppance. Say no. Tell him he’s nuts.

Or “How dare you expect me to jump in again when you explicitly said you loved someone else when you dumped me.”

But she made me ill when she smiled and hugged him. And kissed him, expressing how relieved she was to have him back. Double YUCK! Does she have no self-respect? He dumped her, told her he loved someone else. But now that it’s over with Melissa, he wants to try Molly next.

I wrote the book All Men Are Jerks Until Proven Otherwise. One thing I ask women is “Who really is the jerk?” when they allow men to get away with stupid behavior. Molly barely gave Jason a hard time. She welcomed his slutty mouth back. So he made out with a lot of women, probably slept with a bunch too, and chose someone else over her. He wanted her back and that was all she needed. No apologies.

Jason smiled sheepishly and Molly caved. So again I ask, “Who’s the jerk?”

I truly hope the day comes when more women wake up and get smarter about how they expect men to treat them. And, that they don’t make men more important than having self-respect. And they don’t sacrifice their happiness to feel what they consider complete. We all deserve to be loved with respect and treated well. Men aren’t jerks. Women just teach them that it’s okay to have bad behavior because they’ll always be forgiven.

I’ve never been happier since I completed myself. Molly needs to learn that settling for a guy like Jason will break her heart down the road. He falls in and out of love like some folks do their laundry. Grrrr… I hate to think about all the women watching this show and thinking it’s okay to take a guy back who behaves poorly.

When you reach a place of contentment like I have, and self-love like I have, you’re much less likely to tolerate disrespectful behavior. I know what I deserve and won’t settle for less!

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“Just This Once” NOT!

morguefile.com Have you ever looked at a yummy piece of cake when you’re on a diet or put your hand out for a cigarette after you quit smoking and said, “just this once?” As I’ve tried to improve my habits and be as healthy as possible, I’ve learned that “just this once” is rarely once. We all have weaknesses for something, whether it’s cookies or drinking or getting lost on the Internet, or going back to a lover you know will hurt you, etc.

Will a desire for something control you or will you take control of the need?

WILL POWER. This is something we’d all love to have, without having to fight cravings. But it doesn’t work that way. Often we find ourselves battling against a strong desire for something that we know isn’t good to have. We want will power but holding onto it takes work and perseverance. It’s hard. Hard but worth it!

Instant gratification is much more appealing than depriving yourself.

When I was a DoorMat, my will power was weak. I was basically unhappy so I grabbed for anything that felt good for the moment. Saturday was cheesecake night. Unless I was somewhere that kept me from it, every Saturday night I either went out to a diner for some or brought a piece home. I indulged in anything that tasted or felt good. And I smoked. And chewed sugar-laden bubble gum. Since I didn’t value myself, there was no motivation to stop putting junk into my body.

Something yummy right now can seem much more appealing than the potential to lose a pound, which can take a while. And when you don’t love yourself, it’s hard to see past the cookie.

But I’ve learned why having will power is important. It really is a strong act of self-love. Knowing this doesn’t necessarily make it easy to say no to things that bring momentary pleasure, but it does make it more doable. With my slow metabolism (yes, I’ve been tested!), I have a hard time losing weight, even with a relatively healthy lifestyle. But this past fall, I gave it more serious thought and got a message, which I believe came from God, that I had to break my sugar habits.

I finally made one of the biggest decisions of my life. While I did eat healthy, I had habits for eating sweets that I had to break. That was the end of October.

I’ve gone on diets before. It’s been slow but I’ve lost some weight at times over the years. But this has been different. I didn’t give up sugar. I broke my habits, and I had lots of them. One that I always saw as harmless was having a starlight mint (or more than one) after every meal. One is only 20 calories so I justified that it was okay. I had dessert every night. Something small. I used to have a Heath bar, which I love. It’s less calories than most. Sometimes I could resist and have only a half of one. But this was another sweet habit.

Something in me clicked when I began. I didn’t want habits to control me. The first week was like being in withdrawal from a substance addiction as I stayed off of sweets.

It got easier as I continued. I still had sweets, but much less often and not during the normal times I had in the past. No more mints after meals! That was tough. I still reach for them sometimes, but can stop more easily now. I still have one occasionally, like after eating something very spicy. But maybe 2 a week instead of 3-6 a day. I have to ask myself for permission now before I have one. ?

It makes me feel so much in control of my intake instead of feeling controlled by my whims like I used to be.

I have a sweet on the weekend, but after lunch instead of dinner like my habit was. And I still pig out on special occasions. So I don’t feel completely deprived of sweets. But I rarely have sweets at times I used to. Having them is no longer a habit. I can even walk past the mints in restaurants without reaching for a handful!

Oh, and I’ve lost 8 pounds without changing any of my other eating habits.

I wish I could say that my cravings have stopped, but they haven’t. I still want sweets. But the cravings aren’t as strong. There are still times it’s hard to generate will power to resist them. But I do! And, that feels wonderful, so powerful. Cravings no longer control me! I control them! I’ve found that one of the biggest deal breakers for controlling an addiction, whether it’s for food, cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, seeing an abusive/unhealthy person you think you love, etc., is three little words:

“Just this once.” We always think we can have it once and then stop. But addictions don’t work that way.

I consider anything you crave and find hard to resist an addiction, be it a substance, food, person, activity, etc. Allowing one “just this once.” leads to another “just this once.” It’s never “just this once” when it comes to cravings. But you CAN generate the will power to begin to control the cravings, IF you want it enough and CHOOSE to. Here’s some tips I’ve learned:

* Show yourself lots of love! The more you love yourself, the more you want to take care of YOU. It’s a no-brainer! When you care about your well being, it’s easier to do what it takes to be healthier. Think of will power as an act of self-love and feel the love with each temptation you resist. Be the best friend to yourself that you should be and support your efforts to break habits.

* Postpone, don’t automatically deny. When I got disgusted with my Saturday night cheesecake habit, I told myself I’d wait an hour and then get it. After an hour, I chose to wait another hour. Then a half hour. Each time I postponed made it a little easier to wait. After all, I wasn’t withholding the treat. I was just waiting a little to have it. But I didn’t have it! Eventually it got late and I decided I could go without it. The rest of the night I reveled in being able to control my need for the cheesecake. I began to postpone other treats, and slowly broke the habit. Sometimes I did have it, and it was okay. But I didn’t need it all the time and my need became an occasional treat instead of a habit..

* Plan treats. I enjoy my sweets and allow myself to indulge, with some limits, on the weekend. If I have that to look forward to I can wait. I can also get addicted to playing computer games but I control this by allowing specific times to play them. If you have an addiction you can’t do in moderation, treat yourself to a massage or activity you enjoy.

* Find less addictive substitutes. There are some sweets I can have a little of and stop and some I can’t. I know I can’t keep a box of Oreos around as they talk to me. I’ll eat much too many! So, I don’t get them. Then there are cookies I like but don’t love. That’s what I buy if I get cookies. Find something else that gives you pleasure and avoid those that weaken your will power.

* Make a habit piggy bank or jar. Every time you resist buying something to eat or cigarettes or a drink or treating someone to get into their good favor, put the money you’d have spent in a piggy bank or jar. Save up for a trip, an electronic toy you’d like, new clothes or whate
ver would make you happy. This is a great way to reward yourself and see the fruits of your will power.

* Talk to yourself when you say “just this once.” Ohhh, I’d think, “I can splurge and have cake after dinner at home, even though it’s a Tuesday and that was my habit.” But I know it will lead to more exceptions. So I tell myself I can’t do it, out loud if I’m alone. I explain why, to myself. It usually convinces me that I can’t do it “just this once.” It’s really important to acknowledge the craving and praise yourself for not giving in—out loud if possible. I actually tell myself firmly that I can’t let myself start succumbing to “just this once” since it won’t be once.

*Take conscious pleasure in being able to control your desire. I congratulate myself for taking control instead of succumbing. Feeling empowered can give you a rush that makes up for not having a cookie or whatever it is you want.

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Law of Attraction in Action: What Are Blessings?

This is post 28 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.

I interviewed a woman named Cheryl Harvey Hill, who’ll be featured on this blog in the next few weeks. Three times she’s been so sick the doctors put her into hospice care and declared she wouldn’t survive. Three times she’s recovered! I get chills from how much Cheryl inspires me! When I asked how she puts her health problems into perspective so she can go on with her life in the face of doctors saying she’s going to die, she said:

As simple as it may sound, it really is a matter of counting your blessings. Seriously. You only need to look at the six ‘o clock news to see folks who are much worse off than you are. Then too, I have been blessed with amazing friends and family who are so positive all the time; they are great cheerleaders. It’s all about choices. You can choose to feel sorry for yourself or you can choose to concentrate on the positive things in your life. I have a lot of positive things in my life so I choose to concentrate on those things. My illness can fend for itself.

Cheryl’s spirit got me thinking. I have my Conscious Gratitude list on Yahoo that people have the opportunity to post blessings on. Few post regularly. I try to post every day. Most people don’t. Some post occasionally when they have some big news or something special happened. Cheryl finds things every day to focus on, and that helps to heal her. I try to do that too when I post my blessings every day! And when I read what others post, it reminds me of other things I should express gratitude for.

When you recognize almost everything good in your life as a blessing, it’s easier to feel very blessed.

And when you feel blessed, you attract more blessings. In Cheryl’s case, she attracted better health by being grateful for all the good things in her life. She recently left hospice again after her docs told her husband that she wouldn’t make it this time. Cheryl beats the odds by choosing to get well and letting her blessings heal her. By not focusing on her illness, she makes it easier for healing to come to her. She attracts the happiness she attracts from her blessings.

Focusing on your blessings tells sends a message that your intentions are to have blessings. That allows the Law of Attraction to attract more blessings.

I learned one of the most valuable lessons of my life when I was young. I had a friend (I’ll call her Meg) who was VERY spoiled. She had every toy, every doll, every game, every music album, etc. Not surprising that I envied her! One day I asked my mom to buy me a doll that Meg had. She wouldn’t, explaining I had enough. I balked and whined that Meg had so much while I had so little. Mom vehemently disagreed. She pointed out that Meg rarely seemed happy in her pursuit of the next new purchase to bug her parents for. With all of the wonderful things she had to play with, Meg was more focused on what to ask for next than on what she had.

While I was too young to understand the concept of counting one’s blessings, I did learn the importance of appreciating what you have.

Mom pointed out that I loved my 2 dolls. Meg had many more but tossed them around like garbage. Mine were special to me. I still remember their names—Nancy and Abigail. Meg barely named hers since they were expendable as she continued getting new ones. I cherished mine as my babies. After that, I paid more attention to Meg’s lack of appreciation for everything as mine increased. I did love what I had and I took more pleasure in it! Since then, my attention to the small details of the good in my life increased. It helps me to wake up smiling every day!

Counting your blessings helps prevent taking your life for granted, which I think a majority of people do. Every little joyous thing is a reason to celebrate life if you recognize it as a such. I do!

I got out of DoorMatville! I’m grateful for that every day. It doesn’t get old or fade away. I am happy! I am confident! I feel powerful! I help others to feel this way! I never get tired of being grateful for that! I post blessings on my Conscious Gratitude list list almost every day. Often I give thanks for the same blessings over and over, like sunshine, sleeping well and good friends. It makes me more conscious that these are things that make me happy, which in turn makes me happier. Blessings shouldn’t get old by taking them for granted. Appreciation for all the good in your life attracts lots more to appreciate!

I saw Meg at a school reunion. She still seems unhappy and continues trying to organize activities. Meg seems to still need entertainment or extras. It was a great reminder to never take blessings for granted. Look around you? What do you have that you like? Acknowledge it out loud. Write it down. Let all the blessings you may not acknowledge often bathe you in the warmth that gratitude brings. For me, appreciating all the little things I like stokes my happiness each day. After being an unhappy DoorMat for so long, I love the smile they keep on my face. ?

Stoke your own happiness and good health by letting the Law of Attraction respond to your thoughts about your blessings!

Cheryl conquers life with her blessings and I try to do that do. Pay attention to what you have instead of what you lack and to what feels good instead of dwelling on what feels bad. It can put you in a better mood, improve your health and attract more blessings. Stay tuned for a full interview with Cheryl Harvey Hill.

See all the Law of Attraction in Action Series..

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Interview with Terrie M. Williams

Terrie M. Williams began her career as a social worker. When she saw an article about public relations, she says it lit a fire in her. She launched The Terrie Williams Agency into one of the most successful PR firms in the country. Still wanting to help change people’s lives, Terrie began the Stay Strong Foundation and also wrote books. The range of her accomplishments definitely makes her an inspiration as part of my Embracing SUCCESS series.

Terrie’s latest book, Black Pain: It Just Looks Like We’re Not Hurting (Scribner, 2008), has touched many people with its candid look at the effect of racism on black people and her own depression from it. There’s a foreword by Mary J. Blige and testimonials from an impressive assortment of people, including Danny Glover, Sean “Diddy” Combs and Patti LaBelle. I admit it’s a tough read. Terrie speaks the truth! But as the saying goes, the truth can set you free. If you’re black, you’ll gain a lot of understanding about your own behavior and the people around you. Other races may also recognize parallels in themselves, and gain an understanding about why some black people act in unhealthy ways. It can also make everyone more aware of how they treat folks who are different and the effects it can have.

When I taught school, kids expressed the pain they felt from comments and treatment that they’d experienced because of their race. As a white person, it’s hard to imagine what it’s like to have so many stereotypes about people who share the color of your skin used against you. This book is eye opening. EVERYONE, no matter what your color or experience, should read this book to understand the often underlying or subtle racism that still exists. It can help foster more consideration and compassion toward people of color. Anyone who cares about people should read Terrie’s book! I’m posting this interview in honor of Black History Month. Here’s what Terrie had to say:

How would you define Black Pain? The dark emotion and space in all of us. There’s a particle set of circumstances that affect people of color who experience pain and depression. It’s a learned silence from the days of slavery. You’d be beaten, tortured, raped, sold from your loved ones, but you had to act like you weren’t hurting. I think that’s been passed on for generations.

Why does it lead to depression? Because we’re not meant to hold our stuff in–the childhood wounds, scars, trauma and day to day slights we experience. We’re not meant to hold in anger, disappointment and rage. When these things are not dealt with, it causes depression.

Why do you think the pain and depression is different in the Black community from other groups? We were raised that you can’t speak about it or there will be repercussions. It’s also perceived as a sign of weakness or being crazy. We’re a very faith based people so we think to do anything other than to pray to God is a betrayal.

What inspired you to write your book? I went through the fire and came out on the other side. I heard the voice of God saying that I had to share my story. I used to wonder about people who’d say that God told them to do something, but I clearly heard a voice one day that said I had to share my story. It’s been an amazing blessing, liberating and has helped me understand what I’m here on this earth to do. Every experience in my life brought me to exactly this point. I am a social worker and one who manages depression so I know what that feels like and am more compassionate. I know how to market and promote a message and I had access to the media and celebrities. So I tied it all together to make an in your face, up close and personal message for people to understand that they’re not alone.

What would you tell someone who doesn’t understand how someone with your level of success could be depressed? Pain is a human condition. It has nothing to do with what I have. We come into this world shaped by the pain we have inherited from our parents, no matter how loving they are. We inherit their gifts and talents too. It gets passed on from generation to generation.

When was your toughest time? What happened? Four years ago when I had a breakdown. It was 9 months of hell. But when you come out of it on the other side and you’re still standing, you’ve got to share. I’m still very much a work in progress.

How did you keep your pain hidden from the people closest to you? I lied. That’s what we do. Three of the hardest word in the English language to answer honestly are, “How are you?” when you’re the one other people look to.

Why is it so important to share your message with children? I think we set our kids up to fail when we don’t tell them how we’re really doing. They learn that the way to move through life is to lie and wear a mask. They’re smart and don’t miss anything. So when we lie and say we’re fine but we’re not, they know differently. We ought to share our frailty, our flaws, our challenges with them, and let them know how we pick ourselves up. We need to share with them the tools that we use to steady ourselves when we go though the fire. I tell them the hell I went through when I had my breakdown because they can see. Then, they start to open up in amazing ways because they’re unaccustomed to adults speaking the truth to them.

How successful do you feel now? I have to work on the happy part but I feel successful in that I am amazed that my life has come full circle. That everything I did along the way prepared me for such a time as this.

How would you define courage? Feeling the fear and doing it anyway because the fear is there but you just have to move through it. If you don’t get up every day with butterflies in your stomach and they don’t feel good, if means you’re going through life being pathetic or flat-lining. Whenever you have those butterflies it means that you’re about to challenge
yourself and take your game to the next level.

What helps you move through it? I try to remember that there are people who go through a whole lifetime and they don’t have butterflies in their stomach. I know the butterflies mean I’m where I’m supposed to be.

What do you want white people and other races to understand about Black Pain? Be aware. When I flag a cab, especially at night, if I have a hat on I take it off because I have short hair. I have long earrings on so I cannot be mistaken for a brother. I try to have NY Times in my hand so I can flag the cab so the driver will see that there’s one with a NY Times, so maybe she’s okay. I start smiling literally when I get a glimpse of an available cab, so they will see there’s a friendly one. Maybe that one’s okay. I do that whenever I take a cab.

When black men walk too close to a white woman or get on the elevator, nine times out of ten she’s gonna clutch her bag closer to her arm or in some way convey fear. So it’s not easy to be a person of color on the planet. If you’re a big, tall black man and have a deep voice, you start to speak softer and smile extra, so you’re not so intimidating. You stand differently. One brother said he wears suits on weekends when he travels. A dark skinned black man tends to be more intimidating to others. So they smile extra to be perceived as nicer, better, like saying, “I’m not gonna hurt you.” All of those things, just because they become second nature to you, doesn’t mean they roll off your back. I try to be an aware person and know what other cultures experience. We really are all the same. We want and need the same thing.

What makes you grateful? I’m gratified because I get letters from people telling me that they’re relieved to see they’re not alone. More people have to read it to get to know who we are and why we kill each other every day in the streets. Black people understand for the first time understanding why they do what they do. I’ve heard from people in prisons who say, “I finally understand why I’m here. Now I know I’ve been depressed for as long as I can remember.” I thank God every day to have been able to do that. It’s not an easy book to read. The tears flow.

What’s your best advice for someone who’s scared to move out of their current way of life or to try something new? You’ll be pathetic or flatline for the rest of your life if you don’t. Thank God that you’re scared, because it means that right before you is something that’s going to take your game to the next level. So go for it. Listen to your inner voice and treat everyone the same. You never know in what disguise God is coming to you.

Check out Black Pain: It Just Looks Like We’re Not Hurting. It was recently released in paperback.

If you enjoyed my post, please leave a comment and/or click on the bookmark and write a short review at some of the sites, especially Stumbleupon and Digg. Thanks!

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