5 ways to stop being a doormat

Shababa Iqbal explains five ways that can help one understand his or her own worth and stop letting others use one as a doormat

09A doormat is a tool; a rug that we use out on the porch of our homes to keep dirty shoes from trailing mud indoors. We don’t think about the doormat, we just use it and walk on it, leaving our dirt all over it. People are also called doormats. Have you ever met someone who does everything asked of them irrespective of whether they really want to do it or not? Typically, doormats seem to be on a constant mission to please the people around them, be it a friend, a partner, an employer, or even an acquaintance. Doormats allow people to walk all over them, and they tend to assume that people will like them more or validate them if they ignore their own needs and meet the needs of others instead. The truth is that when doormats give up their own needs and priorities to keep others happy, not only do their needs go unmet, but they are also belittled and exploited by those around them. There is a dangerous loop here. Being a doormat results from low self-esteem and then once you have let yourself become a doormat, you cause further plunges in your self-esteem, it’s a vicious circle. Being treated like a doormat is unacceptable. Here are five ways to stop being a doormat under any circumstances:

Create your own value system
The most important step to stop being a doormat is creating your own value system. Which means, figuring out what is important to you and what you value most and making sure you work to achieve them. One may become a doormat when he/she does not know what he values and thinks it’s best to lead life in terms of what others value or what is important to others. For example, you might want to be single for the time being and figure out what you want with life. But your friends or the society or even the media and movies could make you feel like it’s more desirable to be in a relationship and you decide to accept their value and start looking for a relationship even if you don’t really need to be in one at the moment.

Don’t allow disrespect
The old saying, ‘You teach people how to treat you’ rings really true. If someone is treating you like a doormat and that seems to be acceptable to you, they’ll keep doing it. Perhaps a friend made some offensive comments, and you did not speak up, or maybe your partner stays out all night and does not bother to let you know. In circumstances like these, your job is to teach them not to treat you so lowly or leave the relationship.  You need to speak up and gain their respect by telling them to stop it. You also need to remember that you can choose not associate with this person, if they are regularly treating you like a doormat. You deserve to be around people who treat you with respect.

Don’t be a people-pleaser all the time
Do you bend over backwards to take care of the people around you even when they don’t do anything to reciprocate? If so, then you’re a people-pleaser.  People-pleasers love to keep people around at all costs. That cost is usually sacrificing their own happiness and dignity to make others happy. When asked to do someone else’s project or assignments, or give someone a ride that is miles out of your way, your instinctive response may be to say yes, but inside you are infuriated with them—and yourself for being such a pushover. Say you can’t help, and stick to your position, no matter how much pressure is put on you. Just politely say sorry and it works.

Build your confidence
Maggie Kuhn once said, ‘Speak your mind even if your voice shakes.’ If you are used to people walking all over you, chances are that you don’t assert yourself. When someone orders his or her favourite dishes at a restaurant without asking about your choices, be confident enough to stand up for yourself and order your own favourite dish, even when the other person does not like that dish. Remember not to be rude to the other person while being assertive, but let them know kindly of what you really want.  Don’t let other people make decisions for you. Trust yourself to do what’s best.

Don’t Lower Your Expectations
There may be times when you feel like it’s easier to stay quiet and expect that with time someone will feel indebted towards you and finally give you respect or importance in their lives, but it doesn’t work like that. However, lowering your expectations and accepting bad treatment from people can be seriously damaging to your self-esteem.
Being treated like a doormat can happen to anyone; but the good news is that people tend to walk all over you or take advantage of you only if you allow them to. So, value yourself enough to let people around you know what is important to you.

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