People pleasers, aka doormats, accept others negative views as absolute truth because we’re programmed not to make waves, or disagree. Even when we think otherwise. Stuffing down our own feelings and opinions is harmful and results in self-doubt, low self-esteem and inordinate amounts of stress. Allowing other people’s thoughts and values to govern our lives is especially dangerous when it determines our self-worth.
A brief scenario may go something like this:
Jane is shopping for the perfect dress for her husband’s office holiday party. Her fitness program, rigorous routines of early morning workouts and cutting down on carbs, proves successful! Two full dress sizes smaller than last year. Her discipline has paid off and she feels svelte with a strong sense of accomplishment. Searching several racks in the crowded store Jane is tempted to try on a short, retro, turquoise cocktail frock. She removes the dress from the hangar then heads to the fitting room. “Colorful patterned dresses makes you look too short, and fat.” She hears her husband’s voice inside her head. Jane turns around then returns the dress to its hanger. Sleeveless dresses are also out, because her arms are flabby. (Jane’s best friend mentioned that the last time they went shopping together.) After two hours Jane decides upon a long sleeve, knee-length, loose-fitting, black chiffon.
At home Jane carefully applies make-up and coiffes her shoulder length hair. For an instant she wants to wear it up, showing off her neckline. But her daughter’s comment detours her. “Mom, your ears are like Dumbo the elephant.” Jane takes her 9-year-old child’s judgement to heart, negates her own desires and let’s her hair fall over her ears.
Jane is excited having a night out but disappointed when her husband says nothing about her appearance. As they’re leaving for the party Jane’s 15-year-old son asks if she’s going to a funeral? Jane’s feelings of accomplishment are gone and replaced by insecurities, feeding her self-doubt. She’s given others power to chip away at her self-confidence by negating herself, and allowing other’s comments, and silence determine her self-worth.
How many times have we been Jane? If you’ve answered “yes, I can relate,” then it is time to STOP listening to other people.
Being aware of this pitfall is an important step in recovering from doormatism. Knowing that other’s value judgements don’t matter is freeing! Validating our own efforts, accomplishments and self-worth is all that’s important.
We are doing the best we can and that is enough.