Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

Guilt & the Law of Attraction


I’ve been writing about guilt and how it hurts our lives. It gives other people power over your life and happiness. Often your choice to assuming guilt is a lose/lose situation.

You lose if you give in to what the person makes you feel guilty about, such as canceling your plans to help them, loaning money you don’t want to (and know you probably won’t get back), giving a referral about someone you don’t really trust, etc. Guilt makes you do things you don’t want to. That makes you unhappy.

You lose if you don’t give in to what the person wants from you if you let guilt take over. That too makes you unhappy.

The Law of Attraction means you get back what you put out. If you put out that you’re accepting a mindset that brings unhappiness, you attract more unhappiness, probably in the form of more guilt. Why do that??! It brings nothing good. The people who make you feel guilty aren’t satisfied with one time. Guilt can be an ongoing process:

* Mom may moan about how much she needs you to call and visit her more, do things her way, raise your kids according to her standards, dress differently, attend functions you hate and a gazillion other demands on your time, beliefs or desires that you don’t want. It gets worse if she pulls the “woe is me” card. But it won’t change with you feeling guilt, which tells the Universe you need to be punished, even if you’re not sure why. So you continue to be punished with more guilt, or letting it make you give in to Mom when you don’t want to.

* Your romantic partner may blame you for his abuse, for her not wanting sex, or for all their ills. “If you didn’t____, I wouldn’t be in such bad shape.” Fear of losing love or companionship or sex makes us assume the guilt they throw. It’s so wrong! That tells the Universe your partner is justified in making you feel at fault, so the guilt, and unhappiness continue to come to you.

* Your boss thinks you should work all the time—late during the week and even on some weekends. If you don’t go along you’re not dedicated to the company. So you feel guilty for wanting to spend more time with your family, or just getting enough sleep. And guilt sets in like a black cloud over your life. When you work longer, anger is generated. If you leave on time, you’re guilty. Lose/lose. Guilt tells the Universe that you believe you should work more. So they cycle continues—working more than is fair to ask for or feeling guilty during your time off. The Universe supports your belief that you should work more to please your boss by creating more “opportunities” to work longer hours.

* Your friend always counts on you to drop her kids off informal babysitting or to fix his car—even though it limits your free time and isn’t reciprocated. If you say no, you’re made out to be a bad friend. She complains you’re screwing up her meeting, since she can’t bring her kids. He digs that you know how to fix cars and he doesn’t so you should help him. Until you squash your guilt by accepting that just because you can do something, you don’t have to—and, people can be hired to baby sit or fix a car or whatever else you’re needed for—the Universe will keep sending you more requests.

Guilt tells the universe that you’re wrong, so you attract more of that. The more that’s requested of you, the more guilt—a vicious guilty cycle that only YOU can break. The ONLY thing that can break that cycle is setting boundaries, which creates a different dynamic! Making your needs important changes the energy you put out and attracts more positive goodies.

If you don’t want to do something, don’t, and tell yourself it’s okay! Put out the message that you’re taking care of you.

If the actions you deem in your best interest get accusations of guilt, affirm that you’re doing nothing wrong.

We attract what we put out. Walking around with guilt brings more of the stuff that creates guilt. Saying no WITHOUT guilt shows you know that it’s okay to make your own decisions about what’s right and wrong. That attracts more acceptance, and folks will get used to the new and improved, guilt-free YOU! The people who continue to hurl guilt bullets should feel guilty about their unfair expectations of what you can give.

When you own the belief that you’re entitled to decide what’s right for you, even if others disagree, you’ll have the Law of Attraction on your side to support keeping guilt out of your head. It lightens up the darkness of your life that guilt creates.

So let the light of guilt-free shine! The Law of Attraction will shine good stuff back to make you feel even better.

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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Lightening Guilt—Part 2


On Friday I posted a response to a reader who asked for help with managing her guilt. She’s feeling guilty about the fallout from her divorce. Yet her husband drank heavily and refused to give up his contact with a woman he’d become very close to. When I was a DoorMat I lived with lots of guilt. The few times I turned down requests for my help, guilty feelings pervaded my existence.

After my divorce I had a boyfriend who blamed me for all the wrong HE did. It was MY fault when he misinterpreted things I said that were clear and full of loving intentions. It was MY fault that he didn’t show up when he said he would. He had many problems that were beyond my control and were there long before he met me. I knew that on a rational level. But insecurity makes the nicest of us irrational.

I’d apologize profusely while a voice in the back of my head asked why? I’d done nothing wrong!

In retrospect, I see that my insecurity pushed me to be perfect, which is impossible to be. Yet I gave it the ol’ DoorMat shot, especially with my guy. I was afraid to lose the good stuff I thought we had. He was hot! Cute, great body, and amazing under the sheets. My need to please and be perfect made me try to fix situations that I didn’t break. Perhaps my guilty reader feels the same way. Developing better self-esteem woke me up.

Stomping out guilt requires assessing what you did that makes you guilty—in a way that’s fair to you! It also requires ACCEPTING that you can only be responsible for your own behavior.

That’s hard for many of us! The ingrained desire to please creates guilt habits. People like to blame their bad behavior or troubles on others. Some ACT as if they like you better if you accept the guilt they throw on you! But their behavior is NOT your fault. Some men blame their abusive conduct on the women they hurt. “If YOU hadn’t done this or that, I wouldn’t have to hit you.” NO ONE has the right to abuse anyone, physically or mentally! Or blame you for what is really their fault.

So what’s a guilty girl or guy to do?? Stop accepting guilt carte blanche!

It’s hard to break guilt habits, but you can. It’s YOUR choice to let guilt ruin your day so practice choosing not to! If someone blames their troubles or unhappiness on you, do you reassure yourself or wallow in bad feelings, even if you don’t understand how you’re responsible? Consciously evaluate whatever makes you feel guilty, let go of thinking about what you get for taking blame or how the person will like you more, and objectively decide if you realistically deserve it.

Not giving someone their way when you have no obligation to isn’t wrong, unless what they think is more important to you than your view.

Be honest about whether or not guilt is warranted. Pay attention to what triggers it and change your perception of the situation. If someone tries to instill guilt, remember that you’re a good person who can’t do it all. Guilt is self-punishment. Love yourself enough to skip that! If you feel guilt brewing, ask yourself:

Did I purposely hurt them? If the answer is no, assess why you feel so guilty. Not jumping when someone wants something from you doesn’t make you wrong or bad.

Was what I did in my best interest? Often people would prefer you do what’s in their best interest. But that doesn’t make you wrong when you take care of you.

Did I try my best? If that wasn’t enough to satisfy someone, oh well! That’s all you can do. And you shouldn’t feel guilty if you can’t be what others would like you to be.

• Was I truly wrong or is someone trying to make me feel that way? I’ve found selfish people are first to call others selfish – to guilt them into giving in to their requests. Be objective instead of worrying so much. Not doing it his/her way doesn’t call for guilt.

Have I done something that warrants ruining my day with guilt? Did you commit a crime? Screw someone over? If your intentions were good and you accept you can’t be everything to everyone, there’s no need to suffer for not being perfect in someone else’s eyes. Guilt won’t make the person more satisfied or undo a situation, so move on from it!

When you forget to do something, don’t have time to help a friend, say something inappropriate, or do anything that brings on the ol’ guilt vibes, put it into perspective:

• Feel bad it happened for the moment.
• Apologize if necessary.
• Forgive yourself for being human.
• Let it go.

When I left DoorMatville, I also cut back dramatically on guilt. If I do something I think was wrong, I apologize and it’s over. I know I’m a good person who doesn’t purposely try to hurt others. Sometimes we goof or have less than stellar judgment. That doesn’t make you a bad person. Now when someone tries to put blame on me for something I know I wasn’t responsible for, I refuse to feel guilty. I’ve actually asked, “Why do you think I should feel guilty when you….?” If I accidentally do something wrong, I apologize but refuse further punishment.

I won’t give someone the power over my joy anymore. DoorMat days are over!

You can’t be everything for everyone, including yourself. Stopping guilt in its tracks is a loving act that makes your perception most important. If you can’t see how you’re at fault, affirm, “I did nothing wrong and shouldn’t feel guilty.” As you trust your judgment more, you’ll have fewer reasons to go there. Accept that you’re a good person and don’t owe everybody what they’d like. Forgive your mistakes.

Let guilt take a back seat to self-love. That keeps you keeps your happiness factor at a smiling kind of level.

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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Lightening Guilt—Part 1


A reader wrote to ask me about guilt. She told me the story of how when her husband began to drink too much, she lost her desire for sex. He continued drinking heavily and she withdrew more. Then she discovered his “friendship” with another woman and demanded he end it. He refused and it eventually ended their marriage.

Now remember the sequence—he drinks too much, she withdraws because of the drinking, he cheats and blames her for him turning to another woman, static leads to divorce. And she’s guilty!

Hello! His drinking was the first thing that initiated the sequence. She took the blame because he’d complained about not having enough sex, while his escalating drinking caused her lack of interest. Now she’s divorced and struggling with mounting debt as she tries to raise her two kids alone. Guilt made her assume responsibility for debts that her ex-husband was responsible for.

As she tries to take control of her life, he continues to hurl guilt bombs at her.

Guilt is a big happiness buster. We all feel it at least sometimes. Your mom or romantic partner may be especially good at making you take responsibility for what they don’t like. But if you accept it, guilt can eat at you like rust on metal. At first, rust discolors but eventually it breaks down the surface. If it’s allowed to continue, it spreads and makes holes. Guilt does that to your happiness and self-esteem when you let others control what’s right or wrong with you or your behavior. Then you feel unworthy to receive all of life’s goodies.

Yet most guilt is unnecessary and unfair to you! Let’s put it into perspective.

There’s no need to let guilt pervade your life! Happiness can’t thrive amidst guilty feelings. In my DoorMat days, saying “I’m sorry” was more frequent than saying hello. I rarely knew what I’d done wrong but if something didn’t go right or someone didn’t like my choice or behavior, I figured it was my fault. Many of us are conditioned to feel responsible for the displeasure of others.

If we don’t live up to standards that are often too high, we beat ourselves up with guilt.

Women are “supposed to” nurture everyone and fix problems in a relationship. If your guy treats you wrong, do you believe you must deserve it? NOT! Guys are “supposed to” be providers and earn enough money for his family’s needs. Do feel it’s expected that you protect your family, know how to fix things and handle every situation well? If you don’t make enough money or you make a mistake, does guilt make you feel like a failure? NOT!

Being human, which you are, makes you imperfect. And not being able to live up to roles or making a mistake (or three) isn’t a good reason to beat yourself with guilt. Yes, just accepting responsibility for something gone badly hurts you. Feeling wrong never feels good. If you purposely hurt someone, it might be warranted for a limited time. But some of us live guilty as a lifestyle.

It’s hard to be happy if you live in a constant state of doing wrong.

Be careful. Guilt is often used to manipulate. Someone wants something and blames you for her unhappiness or his failure so you’ll do what they want. Some moms are pros at laying on the guilt to keep us jumping. But friends, co-workers and lovers also use it for their benefit. If you’re not enlightened, you may give in to soothe bad feelings as you wonder what you did wrong.

If you want to be self-empowered, and happy, be fair about whether guilt is necessary.

Feeling it often reflects that what someone else thinks is more important than your own perception. Why let her make you guilty for saying “no” because you’re busy? Why allow guilt to be dumped on you for doing something reasonable that he doesn’t like? You don’t have to accept what someone decides you should or shouldn’t do. You’re responsible for you just as others are responsible for their choices.

It’s your choice to accept guilt if you did nothing wrong or said “no” to something not right for you. Why let other people’s opinions override yours? Why punish yourself for not being perfect? Why let guilt dilute your happiness if it’s not your fault? Reframe the thought that creates guilt into a fair perspective about your role in what makes you feel guilty. For example:

• “I feel guilty not helping her.” can be “I’m sorry I couldn’t help but I have no time.”

• “I let my buddy down” can be “I can only be in one place at a time and while I wanted to be there for my buddy, I had to be there for myself.”

• “I wasn’t able to give him what he needed” can be “I can only do my best.”

• “I broke her heart” can be “There’s no easy way to break up with someone but I had to do it and wish I didn’t have to hurt her in the process but that’s life.”

In my reader’s case, she allowed her guilt about not giving into her drunken husband’s need for more sex to color her perception about everything else. She ended her email with:

“So, I guess the guilt stemmed from 2 issues really. 1) The guilt from not having the money to pay the (OUR) bills. and 2) Having made the kids fatherless (his words). I still don’t understand why if we are not married (or together) they have no daddy.”

I don’t believe that! I think the original source of guilt comes from not giving him enough sex. Then she carried it over to feeling guilty about her marriage ending, not crediting his drinking or infidelity. Mind you, I don’t know every detail. But I do know how guilt can skew our outlook and make us take on other things to be guilty about. As she said:

“1) The guilt from not having the money to pay the (OUR) bills.”

She took on bills that he should have contributed money to and now is guilty about not paying them. Hello! Guilt is a seed that sprouts into more guilt and clouds your view. My reader chose to pay the bills, I believe, out of guilt. Now she’s guilty that she can’t keep up with them. More guilt! It can stop by facing that your guilt is NOT warranted!

And “2) Having made the kids fatherless (his words). I still don’t understand why if we are not married (or together) they have no daddy.”

She doesn’t understand why he considers his kids fatherless just because they’re divorced, yet she feels guilty about it. This is all guilt by acceptance. The reader is accepting blame for what her husband claims is the reality, which it isn’t. Her kids have a father. HE has chosen to see them as fatherless. Again, letting this make you guilty is letting someone else choose your perception of what’s your fault and what’s not.

No one MAKES you feel guilty. You make yourself feel gu
ilt.
It’s YOUR choice to accept the view of someone else, or trust your own instincts. And it’s YOUR choice to say NO MORE. Personally, I would get turned off if my guy came home every night sloshed. Drinking too much indicates a problem, which I bet my reader didn’t cause. So to me, the guilt should rest with him, as that’s where the problem began. To my reader, and anyone else carrying around guilt that hurts your lives—–go to the mirror and say, “NO MORE GUILT!” and then add, “I love you and will take better care of you.” And do your best to be good to yourself.

On Monday I’ll post more about how to deal with guilt. Stay tuned!

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. Thanks!

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I Promise Not to Eat It All!


I went to my local diner for breakfast and next to me was a solo chick. She ordered an omelet. The waiter asked if she wanted home or French fries. She chose home fries, then added, with a guilty look and tone, “But I won’t eat them all.” I perked up. The waiter gave her a weird look as she emphasized a need to make it perfectly clear that while she wanted the potatoes, she intended to leave some.

Did she really think the waiter gave a rat’s behind whether she ate them? Guilt about eating something fattening made her qualify out loud that she believed she was bad for eating them, thus she planned to leave some. Penance for a desire to eat tasty food? She wanted the potatoes too much to say no to them altogether, but wouldn’t let herself enjoy them! I ate mine as I listened in and felt compassion for this woman who wouldn’t enjoy the yummy potatoes that I savored. What was she really saying?

Interpretation: “I know I’m a bad girl for eating potatoes. Therefore, I’m going to reassure myself—and ruin my pleasure in eating them—by making it clear that I know I shouldn’t eat them and will leave some.”

Many of us were trained to feel guilt about eating something yummy with many calorie. I hate being around folks like that! I try to eat healthy but indulge when I feel like it—guilt free! Yet many women ruin their pleasure by believing they’re wrong to eat what they’d like if it isn’t low in calories. That can increase a desire for goodies since it’s harder to feel satisfied if you don’t enjoy your treats.

Growing up, I remember people watching how much I ate and discouraging me from having another cookie or seconds of anything that didn’t grow in a garden. That’s how sneak eaters get their bad habits! As a young adult I remember time and time again being asked if I really wanted that second piece of pie or helping of something. The DoorMat in me used to drop her fork or pull back quickly to avoid looking like a pig. The more I loved food, the more guilt I had.

Nowadays, being out of DoorMatville, if I’m asked, “Do you think you should have that?” I ask if they think I’m an idiot who doesn’t know what she’s doing.

It shocks them. I’m not stupid and can certainly decide for myself what I choose to eat. I get “I’m just trying to help” types of lame statements. To which I reply that I know what’s best for me. It often shuts them up. I hate being around women who punish themselves with guilt about having something that’s a little fattening. It’s one thing to gorge all day long. But I eat healthy most of the time and if I go to the diner for breakfast, I’m gonna enjoy my bacon, eggs, potatoes and toast!

Yet food guilt is strong in many women. And it can ruin the pleasure of those around them.

I love fudge and feel it’s my duty—yes, my duty!—to indulge if I see it when I travel. I don’t get it at home. But one of my favorite vacation treats is fudge—just one small piece time because I have sugar limits—and I enjoy the heck out of it! Years ago I went on vacation with a friend. When I bought fudge, my very slim friend bought a small piece too. I was in fudge heaven until she began ranting about what a fat pig she was. While I’m much larger than her size 4 frame, I’m not a fat pig. Yet she bemoaned every bite and ruined my joy.

I put the rest of my fudge away for later when she wasn’t eating hers. She was determined to ruin her own pleasure and in the process ruined mine. I told her to lighten up. She was so thin and one small piece of fudge wouldn’t hurt her body. But she was in agony. Agony! From a stinkin’ little piece of fudge! I had mine later when she wasn’t around. But I never traveled with her again. Treats are for enjoying!

It’s good to try to eat healthy. I do. But if you indulge, enjoy it! The woman in the diner kept picking at her potatoes like she was afraid the fat police would come and arrest her. Eventually she told the waiter to take her plate because “I shouldn’t eat more.” Again, did this waiter who didn’t know her care? Did she think he never saw a woman eating potatoes and was judging her?!?

I wanted to tell her to lighten up. There’s certainly no need to justify eating habits to a waiter. Being secure in who you are makes you secure in your eating habits too. Try your best to eat healthy most of the time and enjoy treats when you don’t! Then be a little more careful with what you eat next. Some people who know how I look would think I should be guilty about saying that since I can stand to lose some pounds. But now my self-image is hot and sexy, despite what anyone else thinks. This DoorMat has come far in loving and accepting herself, extra pounds and all!

So anyone who judges my indulgences can stick a potato you know where! ?

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. Thanks!

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