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5 Tips to Stop Being a Doormat (and be Respected)

by Ashley

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Person on doormat

No one wakes up and thinks to themselves that they want to be a doormat that day. Yet it’s easy for us to fall into the same trap of allowing others to walk all over us.

When you stop being a doormat, you awaken to a sense of self-love and respect that causes others to treat you differently. And you stop prioritizing the feelings of others who do not deserve your time, making space for the experiences and people that really matter to you.

It’s time to stop letting people wipe their messes all over you and leave your doormat mannerisms behind. This article will teach you how to do just that while simultaneously elevating your love for yourself.

Why do we let people walk all over us

This is a fair question. It seems obvious that we shouldn’t allow others to treat us poorly. But life just isn’t this simple.

As humans, we tend to have this innate desire to please others. This is especially true of those who are authorities or even those close to us.

This can result in us bending over backwards to please someone or repeatedly forgiving someone who continues to commit the same offense.

And while this tactic may “keep the peace” for a while, it will start to take a toll on you and your self-esteem.

Research shows that when you constantly forgive someone and allow them to take advantage of you this will negatively impact your sense of self-respect.

You can begin to see that when you’re allowing others to walk all over you, you’re valuing their respect over your own personal respect for yourself.

And in the long term, this is a recipe for disaster.

The long-term impact of being a doormat

You may think that being a doormat is helping to keep your relationships in life easy going. But remember that you’re neglecting the most important relationship you’ll ever have: the one with yourself.

When you’re constantly going with what others want and letting them dictate your decisions, it’s easy to lose sight of who you are and what you want.

And when you lose sight of who you are and what you want, it’s a slippery slope for your mental and physical health.

Research shows that people will even eat more to the extent that they don’t feel well in order to keep those around them happy.

I know personally that when I’m being a doormat, I experience depression. This is because I’m allowing others to control my life instead of jumping into the captain seat.

As someone who loves to please people, I understand it seems appealing to avoid conflict and be the doormat. But if you continue to be the doormat your whole life, you’re missing out on creating the life you want.

And that’s a high price to pay just to keep the peace.

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5 ways to stop being a doormat

If you’re ready to stop being a doormat and ready to start being the person who is walking through the door instead, then these tips were made just for you!

1. Begin with self-love

At this point in the article, it’s probably blatantly apparent that being a doormat stems from a lack of self-love. If you don’t love yourself, then you may never learn to stand up for yourself.

I always think about what happens when someone says something offensive or tries to walk all over someone I love. I wouldn’t think twice about standing up to that person.

Yet it’s so much harder for me to do the same thing for myself. I’m getting better with intentional practice, but it is still a work in progress.

Self-love means taking the time to reflect on what you appreciate about yourself and aligning your actions in life to reflect your goals.

This doesn’t mean you start being a gigantic jerk and become selfish. It simply means you love yourself enough to know when enough is enough to set healthy boundaries.

2. Realize it’s not your job to make others happy

This one is always a bit of a reality check for me. Because I like it when other people are happy around me.

But the truth is that you don’t have control over making that person happy. Only that person can decide to be happy or not.

So if you think that by being a doormat you’re going to make the person happier, think again.

I remember I used to always agree with what my boss said no matter what because I didn’t want to upset him. But one day I finally got brave and said what I was really thinking.

If you’re waiting for the happy ending on this one, sorry to tell you it’s not coming. My boss was irritated after it for a while.

But he came around and I realized that it’s his job to make him happy and my job to make myself happy.

They aren’t lying when they say happiness is an inside job.

3. Learn to say “no” respectfully

In order to stop being a doormat, you may need to master the art of saying no. For most of us former doormats, our favorite word is usually yes.

Saying yes means we’re going along with what that person wants and once again avoiding conflict.

But how many times have you said yes when you really wanted to say no? If you’re anything like me, too many!

Saying no means you’re saying yes to yourself and your desires. And that is always worth saying yes to!

This comes into play with my friends sometimes. I used to have a friend who would constantly “forget” their wallet when we went out for food. Now I get that we all forget our wallet from time to time, but it became clear after the fifth time that this person wasn’t planning on paying anytime we went out.

I don’t mind paying for someone here and there, but I quickly felt like this person was taking advantage of me. It took me ten times of paying for this person’s meal before I finally worked up the courage to say no.

The friend was grumpy with me and then ended up getting the money from another friend. And once all of our friend group stopped paying for them, they stopped coming to eat with us.

So they weren’t really interested in our friendship to begin with. By saying no and not being a doormat anymore, I came to realize who my real friends are.

4. Be the example

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “Lead by example”. In the case of not being a doormat, you may have to do just that.

Sometimes people don’t realize that they are stomping all over you. In these cases, it may be best to communicate your needs and then demonstrate the type of behavior you would like to see from them.

This was the case with my ex-boyfriend. He used to call me last minute and expect me to drop all of my plans to hang out with him.

At first, I obliged. But then I realized this was not a healthy pattern for me long term.

So I kindly told him that I wasn’t going to always be able to drop all of my plans for him. And I started demonstrating communication by putting in place firm date nights on a calendar.

He eventually got the hint and gave me more notice of when he wanted to hang out.

If you don’t want to be a doormat, make sure you’re not treating others that way and then show others how you would like to be treated.

5. Practice using your voice

This tip goes hand in hand with learning to say no. The only way you can stop letting people walk all over you is to use your voice to respectfully stop them.

Now I’m not saying to go tell someone to shove it where the sun doesn’t shine. I know it’s tempting from time to time.

I’m saying learn how to respectfully communicate your thoughts and be okay with disagreeing.

I run into this almost on the daily in my work environment. Patients have strong held beliefs about medical interventions or treatments that I don’t always agree with.

I used to just want to keep the patient happy, so I would nod my head while inside I secretly disagreed. But with practice, I’ve learned how to respectfully communicate my thoughts on certain interventions without disrespecting the person. It’s all about being assertive.

This allows us to have more effective interactions in the clinic. And I don’t feel like a doormat bending over to every patient’s will at the end of the day.

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Wrapping up

You don’t have to let yourself be the doormat that’s stomped on by everyone else’s messes. You can choose self-love and respect by implementing the tips from this article into your day to day life. And when you start to love yourself, others will take notice and show you the respect you deserve.

Have you ever allowed others to treat you as their doormat? What’s your best tip to stop being someone else’s doormat? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

Ashley Kaiser AuthorLinkedIn Logo

Physical therapist, writer, and outdoor enthusiast from Arizona. Self-proclaimed dark chocolate addict and full-time adrenaline junkie. Obsessed with my dog and depending on the day my husband, too.

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