Monday, December 13, 2010

Don't Be A Doormat

I realized that my last post sounded somewhat "doormat-ish"...

or in other words, "If people treat you like crap, love them anyway...or if you get walked on and bossed around, smile and don't get upset, etc."

That is not the message I was hoping to get across. What I meant to say was that if your significant other makes embarrassingly stupid jokes at a party or is/ has been doing other annoying or embarrassing behaviour you don't always need to point it out or shame them or be sarcastic and critical.

Or if your friend, child, boyfriend, girlfriend or spouse wears something that you think is awful or always has the same, tired response or does the same boring routine every day or other such things which can be annoying, you can let it be.

If they have beliefs that drive you crazy or don't make sense to you, or if they engage in activities that you think are mind numbing and worthless you don't need to tell them every time. You don't need to make the point that you are superior or right.

Also, it is important to just accept that people act selfishly sometimes. Everybody does, including you and if you never act selfishly, well maybe you should. The point is that we can love people anyway, no matter how they differ from us.

Even if we have nothing in common, we can still appreciate their humanness. We are all human and imperfect and in many ways we all suck and are wonderful at the same time and it's O.K.

It is true that I did say (in my last post), "Don't be mad if you ask for help and you don't get it." And some may argue that if you do not get the help you asked for you need to stand up for yourself and demand action.

My experience; however, is that this doesn't work on any long-term basis. You complain and complain and then you lose your temper and so you get help one day and then you go back to complain, complain and no one helps again.

If you really want others to help out more the key is to stop doing the job yourself and others will automatically take up the slack. Sometimes it might take a few days or weeks or months, but eventually, someone will step in. For example, when there is no more clean laundry, or no food or the house is so dirty you can't walk through it, or the kids are still awake and it is past midnight.

Then when others naturally take over the work, you can help them.

O.K. if no one takes over the work then let others live in their mess and you can just take care of your own stuff.

I told my teenage kids that I was no longer doing their laundry. They didn't believe me until they ran out of clean clothes. They have no choice except to do it themselves.

I also don't pair my husband's socks or put my 5 year old to bed because my husband can do that.

Whatever I feel I would like help on I just don't do.

If I ask for help doing something I care about, but no one else does and so no one helps me then I just need to do it myself.  If I'm the only who cares that it gets done then it is my job to do it.

I know that I personally hate being pulled into doing a job I really don't care about at all. Living for someone else's agenda sucks out all that is good about life and free will. However, if I freely volunteer than that is another story. Sometimes you can get more volunteer help by making it fun or rewarding. (i.e. if there is a treat at the end or a family or friend activity).

There should also be natural consequences for behaviors that affect other people. For example, I have a policy of taking my 5 year olds toys away if she leaves them around the house. She gets them back, but not for a month (which she hates) and if she can't remember what the toys were then they get donated to our local thrift store.

Another good way to not be a doormat is to set boundaries. If people start manipulating, criticizing or annoying you, you can say simply no thanks, excuse yourself and go somewhere with a locked door and some peace. 

In this quiet space you can pray, read, dream, plan and figure out how to get the life you want.

Love yourself, be selfish sometimes...

 and despite all the crap that everyone else may bring to the table...love them anyway. It's O.K. That's life.

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