Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

I was working out today with my trainer. As I pushed myself to new heights with free weights, he told me I’m an animal. I acted hurt and told him it’s not nice to call a girl an animal. But I knew he meant it as a compliment, even while I teased him. This was a far cry from the exercise I did when I was a DoorMat.

Part of what kept me stuck in DoorMatville was feeling very fat. While I wasn’t the big fat pig I saw myself as, I did have extra flab and the cellulite most women have. Back then, I thought I was the only one. I had a boyfriend who once let me lift free weights with him and I loved it. I finally got up the nerve to join a gym, excited to try working with free weights again. But when I arrived, I was directed to a room with some simple machines and women chatting as they acted like they were working out. The people who worked there told me that was where I belonged. And the DoorMat in me accepted it.

I hated using the machines designated for the chicks while the guys got to use the free weights!

One day I got brave and went into the free weight room. My desire to work out was too strong to ignore. I wandered around the room, trying to figure out what to do. I had so little experience with weights. No one offered help. I asked one of the guys who worked there for guidance but he told me to go back to the girls room. The guys watched me with smirks as I tried to figure out which weight was right for me. It got too uncomfortable and I gave up. I never went back to a gym again.

Over the years the memories remained strong. I avoided gyms. That seemed the best way to deal with my frustrations—until my desire to work out got strong again.

This time I felt more in control of myself. No more DoorMat acceptance of my “place” in the gym! I decided I needed to work with a trainer to guide me. I researched and found one who could do slow motion weight training with me. It taught me form and made me strong fast. After a year of that, I joined a local gym and got a trainer who continues to push me. Since I began, I’ve been determined to become as good as I can be.

So I push myself hard, practicing having excellent form and enjoying every minute.

Now I feel completely at home in the gym! My training has paid off. The muscily guys in the free weight room accept me. Sometimes they encourage me when I’m using some heavier weights. Even when I’m there without my trainer, I belong now! Today when my trainer called me an animal, I knew I’d come far. He reassured me that it meant he was impressed with what I do.

No more DoorMat who cowers on the side and doesn’t belong in the free weight room! I’m an animal who’s earned her place there and it feels great! Overcoming a fear of doing something or tackling something you’ve been told you can’t do is a great way to improve your self-esteem. Next time someone says “You can’t do…”, give them my un-DoorMat response—“Why not?” And then I make the effort to do it. I never thought I’d like being called an animal but now that I own myself, I can feel good about it. You can do things you thought you couldn’t do too once you let go of old messages and decide to do it!

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This is the 18th post in my Law of Attraction in Action series. It’s my first interview with someone who exemplifies its principles, combined with my Embracing SUCCESS series. After interviewing Suki Duggan, I knew she belonged here. After starting off with nothing but her great spirit and determined beliefs, Suki was able to put out her intention to succeed, and she didn’t stop until she did. Even today, she keeps going, showing the Universe what she wants. It returns to her multiplied. Suki is a fantastic example of the Law of Attraction in action!

Suki owns Donsuki Townhouse Salon, with 5-stories that houses top industry stylists, estheticians, nail artists and makeup artists under one roof in Manhattan. Her business keeps booming, due to her talent, tenacity, and good business principles. Suki came to NY from Korea in the 70’s, knowing minimal English, to study violin at the prestigious Julliard School of Music. When she realized her true passion, she dropped out of Julliard to begin her hair career. Her salon is now a multi-million dollar empire. Suki brings her upbeat spirit to her business and attracts the SUCCESS she is determined to have.

What made you decide to come to NYC? I play the violin and wanted to go to Julliard. That was my goal. I had some basic English grammar and could read enough. Having a conversation was more difficult. But it was my dream! I was 17 and got into Julliard. I was more excited than scared.

How did you switch from the violin to hair? During summer vacation, I wanted to make some money. One day I looked up to the second floor of a building on 57th Street. There were a lot of people, hustling and bustling around, with blow dryers and doing many things in a salon. I went in and asked for a job. The boss was a Frenchman. He was impressed with me, didn’t ask if I had experience and hired me to be his assistant. I’d never even seen a blow dryer! I watched very carefully. About two hours later he gave me a client to blow dry. I told him I didn’t know how. He said, “Didn’t you watch me for two hours?” So I started doing it. That was the beginning of my career.

How did you move up? I learned by doing it. My persistence helped me and I set goals—in three months was going to be the best assistant! My boss told me to find people to practice cutting hair on. I stopped people on the street, and asked if they’d like to have a free haircut. They came after work to the salon. I cut their hair and showed my boss. He was surprised that I’d done so well and loved every haircut! By the end of the summer when my vacation was over, he gave me my own chair and I began to make money!

Was there a turning point? A New York Times journalist came to have her hair cut. She wrote an article about it. Then I had a long line of people. I was very innocent then and didn’t know why all these people were coming. I started making so much money I never went back to school. I decided that if I’m going to be a hairdresser, I’m going to do it all the way.

How did you get your first salon? I worked very hard for a few years in the salon. Then I met Donald, my partner, and we opened a salon. We hired 14 people. It was a very nice business. But in the late eighties/early nineties, there was a very big thing with AIDS. I had eleven people die from it and was left with just two hairdressers. My rent was $20,000 a month. A lot of people say I’m always happy because I’m always smiling. But I did a lot of crying. There was a rumor going around—“Suki is going to close.” I was upset with this! I said to myself, “Suki doesn’t have failure in her vocabulary!” I had to make it.

How did you stay strong? Since everybody talked about me, no one would come to work for me. Meanwhile, there was $20,000 in rent to pay. I realized that rent was the same if I worked Saturday and Sunday too. So I gave 50% off if they came on Sunday and cut from 9AM to 8PM. I got up at 6AM and gave out fliers. Sometimes it was very cold. People asked how I could do it and called me a cheap person. I didn’t feel shame. You know what? You have to make it happen! So I continued to do it. You have to see positive things and deliver. As I got more clients, more hairdressers came in. My husband supported me mentally and spiritually, 100%. And we made it happen! Then we bought the building we’re in now. And here I am.

What kept you going? When I was a little girl I had no parents. So I had to always do things by myself. I realized young that I had two choices—either you go downhill, or you only know about going up. That’s all I had. It’s very, very hard to go up but easy to go down. As a girl I learned to try my best. When people said, “Suki is going to fail,” I decided to get sweet revenge. I thought, ”I’ll show them what I can do.” This is how I am.

How does spirituality help you? I always tell my daughter that if you try to go fifty inches, God will give match it with fifty more. If you try for eight hours, God will give eight hours more. This is my belief! If you don’t try and think that God will just give it to you, it won’t happen. You have to take your control. You may wait, thinking that tomorrow is another day and will be good. But I keep going NOW!

Do you think you’re lucky? People tell me I’m so lucky to have a building. Lucky? Yes, because God gave me good health so I could work. That is lucky. Let me tell you. Lucky doesn’t come when you sit down and watch TV or take vacations and days off. That doesn’t bring luck. I work hard. Many people don’t like it when you’re happy. I don’t understand that but it’s true. They ask, “Why are you happy and smiling all the time?” I say, “Excuse me? Life is beautiful. Why not smile. You’re alive. Go to hospitals and see how many people are dying. Then you’ll realize how lucky you are.” Is there anyone who has no problems? No. But it depends on what you make of it.

What do people need to understand about being nice to others? Kindness and stupid are very mixed up by many people. If you’re kind, people ask what’s wrong with you. “Why is she nice to me?” Hello! Why do you hav
e to be tough to be a strong woman? Don’t misunderstand kindness.

What does courage mean to you? Strength. I always have strength and am honest. When I pray every night, I thank God for everything up until now and ask for the strength to be a very courageous person. If I don’t have strength, then I’m nobody. So that’s what I always ask God for. Nothing else. I don’t ask for money or other material things. I just want the strength to do it myself. I also get courage from thinking positive. When my daughter says “in case…., if this doesn’t work” I tell her not to say “in case.” Say, “I’m going to do it! That’s the end of the story!” I tell her to say three times—“I can do it! I will do it!”

What does SUCCESS mean to you? It’s funny, because a lot of people think I’m successful. I don’t feel it about my business. My SUCCESS is being happy—having a wonderful husband and three children. That makes everything successful. My SUCCESS is being able to have the freedom to do what I want to do. I can take time off for my family. If I didn’t have the success with the business, I couldn’t do that.

How do you handle fear? I look in the mirror and ask, “Why should I feel fear?” Then I look myself in the eye and say, “God is with me, let’s go!” I do this whenever I feel a little down. I say, “God is with me, why should I feel fear?” Three times. I scream it.

What’s your best advice for achieving a goal? Be patient and don’t ever be negative about it. Don’t think about “If I don’t make it…” If you do that, you’ve already lost. Always be positive. You can’t think—EVER—that you can’t do it. Be positive, be patient, and keep going. It may not come tomorrow but it will one day. When I opened the salon in ’89, I said that in the next decade I’d have success. It didn’t happen in ’91 when 11 people died, or in ’92. But I had the strength to know that it would come. So I kept going. You cannot stop. If you do, that’s it. You have to keep going!

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With so much holiday gift giving going on, it’s important to think green. I’m delighted to have Christine Kirk, director of the Outdoor Education Center, as my guest to give suggestions for choosing kids’ gifts that are environmentally friendly. This week I’ll post suggestions for gifts that nurture and many of them are green. Being conscious of buying gren is a gift to YOU, your family and your future.

I’m Dreaming of a Green Christmas
By Christine Kirk

How do you pick eco-friendly toys? If want to buy your kids “green” holiday presents, you have a variety of options:

1. Locally Made: Choose toys made with natural, recycled or easily recyclable materials. Look for leather, wood, organic cotton, metal or fabric. Avoid plastic, which is a non biodegradable petroleum-based product. Buy locally-made if possible. The farther toys must travel to reach stores, the larger their carbon footprints.

2. Long Lasting: Toys that last a long time and are even passed down to younger kids are inherently green. Select toys made with quality materials that are designed to stand the test of time.

3. Recyclable: Unless their components can be recycled, all toys will eventually find their way to the landfill. Those that can be disassembled and then recycled are considered green.
A few of my favorites meet these eco-friendly criteria. They are US-made from natural materials, are sturdy, and they either teach recycling or parts of them can be recycled. They also are educational while providing for fun memories.

Some more specific suggestions are:
Puzzles: SunsOut Puzzles offers a huge variety of puzzles – many with environment themes. Shop online at. They even use recycled packaging!

Balance Boards: I recommend those from Indo Boards or Back to Basics Toys. If you have a handyperson in the family, this is an easy toy to make. It includes a sturdy wooden or plastic cylinder and a wooden skateboard-sized board with non-skid strips affixed. Playing with this toy is great exercise and improves balance and muscle control.

Paper Making: Recycle scrap paper. Any paper without a glossy finish can be torn up and pulped to make new, handmade paper. You can make your own with simple materials or purchase ready-made kits at larger craft supply stores or online. The best-known kits are by Arnold Grummer.

Kids’ Gardening Kit: A pair of kid-sized gloves, a small trowel, a watering wand, and several packets of plant seeds all placed in a 5-gallon bucket make a great kit. The gift keeps on giving when you help your child to prepare and plant a garden with native plants that will make flowers and seeds wildlife needs. You will be amazed at the variety of birds and butterflies that will find your native garden – whether it is large or small. Some native plants can even be cultivated in pots if you are short on space. Ask your local garden supply store for advice on this.

Bat and Bird House Kits: These are fun for both boys and girls. You can find lots of ideas and plan sets for bird and bat houses on the Internet. Bat Conservation International has pre-made houses and kits for sale online, as well as downloadable plan sets for people with woodshops in their garages. Providing shelter for birds and bats helps them to overcome habitat loss, and it allows you to view them from your back porch. Bats are especially good for controlling insect populations – each night that bats are active they can eat their own weight in insects.

Clay: Clay is perhaps the most natural gift you can give. It comes straight from the earth, and has been used for millennia by the most amateur and the most professional artists. Sculpting kits are available from any art supply store, though a ball of clay all by itself can inspire imagination from any young person.

There are many books that can help instill a “green” ethic. Books are nearly endlessly reusable; they can be passed down through generations. Reading is also a great skill to encourage in your kids by giving books that are fun and interesting. Here are a few of my favorites.

Some kids are innately drawn to machines. Encouraging this interest with innovative holiday gifts can bring out the Thomas Edison in them. Innovation in solar and other non-fossil fuel energy is poised to be the next big wave of technological breakthrough, and kids who understand how energy works will have a comparable competitive edge to those who got to play with computers in the 1970s.

Alternative Energy Kits: Solar car models from Silicon Solar, Inc are designed for a range of ages. They add fun to learning about solar energy by creating opportunities for solar powered races. Alternative energy exploration kits from Sundance Solar allow kids to build an alternative energy house model and to discover the physical properties of solar energy with a complete “Physics Solar Workshop Kit.” These kits are for kids who like things with lots of little pieces. Sundance Solar also makes compact solar chargers for iPods, mobile phones, digital camera, and other rechargeable devices as well as other solar kits and solar-powered toys.

Balsa Wood Airplane Kits: Perhaps one of the simplest ways to discover stored, potential, and kinetic energy are with balsa wood airplane kits. These kits range from very simple stocking stuffers to more complicated kits that introduce concepts of aerodynamics. Kits from Turner Toys and Guillow are available at local hobby shops, such as the Toy Train Shop in Anaheim, Hobby Central in Dana Point, and Hobby People/Hobby Shack in Fountain Valley, Lake Forest, and Orange. Note: balsa wood comes from trees that grow quickly and that are sustainably harvestable.

Have a happy green holiday season!
Christine Kirk is director of the Outdoor Education Center. Her passion for nature and helping people understand the value of preserving Southern California’s natural resources and cultural heritage, combined with proven leadership skills, guides her to develop educational and recreational programs that provide local local youths an outdoor adventure close to home. She’s helped create programming for each of the Outdoor Education Center’s three themed camps – Astronomy Camp, Ranch
Camp and Mining Camp.

Stay tuned for my gift suggestions this week!

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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This is the 17th post in my series on the Law of Attraction, inspired by watching Louise Hay’s You Can Heal Your Life, the movie, expanded version. You CAN use your power to attract all that you need. I do it every day!

I recently heard from Rob (name changed), a regular reader of my blog who said he definitely was a doormat but aspired “to become a recovering doormat and finally a recovered doormat!!” He said:

I was repeatedly treated unfairly at work, shouted at etc. but never had the courage to speak up. One day I abruptly left my dream job (not the best way to leave a job) and my career just started going downhill. I did not leave in the best possible way, spoke up angrily against the person who tormented me. He was senior and more powerful. It back fired and I lost all connections with my previous employer and to add fuel to the fire, this person got promoted!!

Now things are getting better. But I always have a feeling of loss, feeling of guilt (why didn’t I speak up sooner or leave silently), just a feeling of emptiness, embarrassment etc. I get very conscious when I bump into my co-workers from my previous job. I just feel that I am not the same person I used to be. I feel part of me died in the process. I want to get better. I am trying hard and just wanted to let you know that your blogs help me a lot.

I responded to Rob but said I’d write a longer response here. His situation is very common. You get angry at ongoing situations or treatment at work, or by family or neighbors or a romantic partner, etc. but don’t speak up, while stewing silently.

Silence tells the Law of Attraction that the treatment someone gives you is okay. Then it comes back to you with more treatment that you know really isn’t okay.

Each time you’re treated unfairly, a bit more anger builds up. Rob may have reached the boiling point when he abruptly left his “dream job.” Anger buildup fosters poor judgment. It’s hard to see clearly through the haze of feelings it creates.

So he burned bridges by speaking up with his anger, instead of rationally and politely explaining how he felt.

Was that unhappy situation really Rob’s “dream job”? We don’t dream about being treated unfairly or feeling lousy or unappreciated or shouted at, at work. Some of this dream sounds more like a nightmare! There’s more to a dream job than just the actual position. I have clients who defend staying because it’s what they want to do. So they put up with a disrespectful boss, a stressful work environment, hours that are too long to see their families, and more, just to stay in that “dream job.”

Leaving a bad situation is good! When you think of it as empowering, it empowers you. When you beat yourself up for doing it, that’s the energy you attract.

Staying in a job with very negative factors, despite doing work you want to do, is similar to being in a relationship and settling for a partner because he makes you feel complete or is a good financial provider; or she’s great in bed or everyone thinks you have the perfect partner because she’s attractive and a model housekeeper. But if the loving connection that solidifies a good relationship isn’t there, other factors won’t compensate in the long run. Or if he or she is abusive or nasty or controlling or treats you ike a DoorMat, you’re settling to be in a relationship.

It’s the same with work. While you can’t have it all, if your job is what you like doing but the environment is negative or aggravating or toxic, it’s time to leave!

Rob focused too much on the importance of being in that “dream job.” But it’s not a dream if you’re not happy in it. It’s frustrating to love the work but not like how you’re treated. It’s like finding a perfect apartment after looking for ages BUT, the neighbor above you clomps around, disturbing your sleep and peace of mind. Despite all the perks of your living space, you’re not happy from the noise.

If speaking up politely doesn’t change your situation, it’s time to move!

I prefer to speak up first, but nicely, not in a confrontational way. When my upstairs neighbor was noisy, I nicely explained, consistently, how it affected me. His family quieted down. Talk to people at work if things aren’t right. If your boss is unfair, go to him with a list of specific grievances, and a smile. But if none of this works, wake up from your dream and leave. Rob waited for his breaking point. It’s better to leave on good terms.

But, if you do leave after mishandling the situation like Rob did, get rid of the anger and remorse. It’s OVER!! NOW is all that matters and now you have new choices.

You’re living in the past if you wallow in regret, since you can’t change it. Why let it hold you back or hurt yourself more than you already were? That’s YOUR CHOICE, not a sentence! It’s always best to go forward instead of looking back. Otherwise, you can beat yourself up with thoughts like:

* ”Why did I do that?”
* ”That was so stupid of me”
* ”How I wish I could undo what I did!”
* ”Maybe it would be different if I’d……”
* ”Now I’m screwed.”

Meanwhile, the Universe picks up on these thoughts and guess what you get back?!? More of the same thoughts and bad vibes. Looking back with what ifs and regret and wishing you’d done things differently is wasted energy. LEARN from mistakes instead of beating yourself up. Ask:

* How did I speak to the person I alientated? LESSON: “I must force myself to speak more politely next time.” Letting anger motivate your tone creates remorse after. You may have momentary relief at releasing anger, resentment and frustration. But it will turn into thoughts that will bring you down.

* What did I say that caused a problem? LESSON: “I must think and plan before I speak out in a situation that’s important.” Anger creates evil thoughts at the moment it gets unleashed. And it makes you irrational—saying what will later make you look back and think, “what the heck did I do?” If you write down your feelings and figure out words to express them, you can get your point across in more effective ways that eliminate a need to kick yourself in the butt later!

* What’s making me most angry? LESSON: “I must figure out what’s truly causing my anger and address that.” Sometimes you may express what really isn’t the direct cause of your anger. Or you may explode at something insignificant because a bigger issue gnaws at you. Take time to figure out what’s so annoying. Does your boss remind you of a controlling father or romantic partner who criticizes? Or are you angry at yourself for allowing unacceptable behavior to continue for too long?

Once you see the LESSONS in the behavior you regret, let it go and focus
on moving forward to make your situation good.
Rob still suffers from residuals of leaving his “dream job.” That only results in feeling bad and prevents the Law of Attraction from bringing the good opportunities he deserves. You all deserve the best and would get it if you accept it! I now have. When I was a DoorMat, my thoughts attracted poor treatment and experiences.

It’s hard to feel good if you always feel wrong on some level.

Now that I’ve recovered, I know my worth and EXPECT to have good things happen. The Law of Attraction responds with them. And so to Rob, and all of you who still have this kind of problem, I recommend taking the steps to heal any wounds from guilt or remorse about past mistakes or ill-advised actions:

* Let go of anger. Rob is still angry. The guy who provoked him got a promotion while his life fell apart. But that’s history. Write a letter to the person with every detail about how your feel, express forgiveness, read it aloud and then burn it. When you let go of the anger, you attract more positives. I discuss this in my post, Trading Anger for Compassion.

* Express gratitude for the good lesson. Learning is ALWAYS good! Feel gratitude that you’re more enlightened now. Gratitude attracts more things to be grateful for.

* Adjust any guilt or remorse you feel. IT’S OVER and serves no purpose! Accept that it’s impossible to go back and change what happened. Read my Lightening Guilt Part 1 and Part 2. Rob needs to let go of what ifs. NOW is what counts and NOW you can choose to live your life on a forward track. The embarrassment, shame, guilt, regret you might feel in these kinds of circumstances matters to no one but you. And it just attracts more, unnecessarily. Love yourself enough—however slowly—to let go of it.

* Forgive yourself for being human. Self-forgiveness is CRITICAL for moving on. You may not feel forgiving right now but say to yourself, “I love me enough to forgive me.” Over and over. Self-love takes time to develop but it can in anyone. That’s what fueled my exit from DoorMatville. I hated myself when I began but said, “I love you” in the mirror, even though I didn’t. Eventually it sticks. Then self-forgiveness is easier. Keep trying. It’s worth it!

* Do something nice for you. Be more loving to yourself. Treat YOU to something special. When you do, say “I deserve this!” Being more loving is a good catalyst for self-love. The more self-love you feel, the easier it is to let go of old hurts and regrets. I love me now enough to not want to hurt myself. You can reach this place too!

* Reclaim your spirit. Rob says he feels like he’s not the same person and that part of him died in the process. Sometimes we lose old parts of ourselves. I’m not the girl who got stepped on as a DoorMat. That’s good! But I am still me. Your spirit can feel wounded or lost when you’re looking back at negatives. Push forward! See it as a good thing and as you heal, allow your spirit to blossom on a healthier level.

* Force yourself to walk tall. If you see someone from your past experience, fake confidence and act like you’re doing well. They’ve probably forgotten. If asked how you’re doing, “Terrific!” They get their cues from you. If you show them a positive front, they’ll assume you moved on from the incident. So get movin’!

* Be patient! This is a process. I felt like I was shedding an old skin as I became an empowered woman. It took me years, but there was progress in each little step. Rejoice in each bit instead of wishing for more. Remember that gratitude brings more to be grateful for!

The old DoorMat is gone but I’m still me—in a healthier package—inside and out. I know that Rob can rejuvenate his soul and become a happier person than he was before—just different. Focus on NOW. Be kinder to you NOW. List your good qualities and hold them in your heart as you go after your healthy dreams—living a life you love, in a job that is a dream because you enjoy the work and the people around you, and feeling kindness around you because YOU’re being kind to YOU. Let the Law of Attraction bring you lots of goodies by adjusting your thoughts to bring them in.

Life after being a DoorMat is a process that brings so many rewards. Please join me! ?

Law of Attraction in Action Series
Law of Attraction in Action: Concrete Use of This Power
Law of Attraction in Action: Service People
Law of Attraction in Action: Kindness
Law of Attraction in Action: Easing Your Way to Joy
Law of Attraction in Action: Smiling in Your Mirror of Other People
Law of Attraction in Action: Age
Law of Attraction in Action: Who Are You?
Law of Attraction in Action: Revenge
Law of Attraction in Action: Too Blessed to Be Stressed
Law of Attraction in Action: Recovering Your Health

Law of Attraction in Action: Respect
Law of Attraction in Action: Miracles Part 1
Law of Attraction in Action: Miracles Part 2
Law of Attraction in Action: Clear Intentions
Law of Attraction in Action: Luck
Law of Attraction in Action: Criticism

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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