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7 Ways to Stop Being Treated Like a Doormat

7 Ways to Stop Being Treated Like a Doormat

Being treated like a doormat sucks.

It can happen for no apparent rhyme or reason; people using you, treating you like a dogsbody, walking all over you or not thinking about what you want or what’s best for you. The trouble is, the more it happens, the more you feel like you can’t change it; the more it happens the smaller you get.

Here are some practical ways that you can stop being treated like a doormat, and start being treated with respect.

you deserve better

    1. Start With You

    If someone else is devaluing you there’s a good chance that you’re doing the same thing, so change has to start with you. Be radically honest with yourself—do you feel like you deserve to be treated with respect? Do you feel worthy of respect and do you feel good enough to fit in?

    Change starts with you dialing up your self-worth; something that can be started in the following ways:

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    a. Really give yourself credit for your achievements—all those things you’ve done and gone through in your life.
    b. Get to know your values—those things that are woven through you and are the cornerstones for who you are.
    c. Prioritise the nourishment of your body, mind, and heart—nobody else can keep you nourished and caring for yourself.

    2. Start Teaching Others

    One of the best things I heard from TV’s Dr Phil was “You teach people how to treat you“.

    That’s bang-on.

    Your response to someone’s behaviour teaches them what is and isn’t acceptable, so if you roll over and take whatever they give, the message is that it’s okay for them to do that. And people will always do what works for them until they have evidence that it doesn’t work, or that there’s a better way. We’re kinda dumb like that.

    If someone is regularly treating you like a doormat, their behaviour is not okay. Your task, and I get how scary this might seem, is to change your response to start giving them that message. This doesn’t have to be a big, dramatic showdown; it can be done gently and with the same respect that you want. You might be scared, but you know what you need to do.

    As the famous line goes, help them help you.

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    3. Stop Being a Bottomless Pit

    It’s great to do things for other people, unless the act of doing things for other people is how you get validation, of course.

    Being a people-pleaser might begin with the best intentions, but if you’re not careul, you keep on doing so because you want to see how pleased they are with what you’ve done or even to hear those magic words: “Thank you”. Being a people-pleaser can turn you into a bottomless pit—that not only sees others take advantage of you, but seriously damages your self-esteem.

    People-pleasing is not a selfless act; it’s a selfish one.

    It’s a flawed way to feel good about yourself, so stop it. How can you be more generous with yourself? And how would it be if you could be generous for others, not because of any validation but because there’s value in the very act of giving?

    4. Apply Confidence

    If you’re used to people walking all over you, it’s likely that you’re not used to asserting yourself. You might even feel like you’re powerless, but I guarantee you that you have natural confidence that you can apply to start effecting change.

    Think of something you do, where the question of whether you can do it or never arises. This might be doing something you do at home (like cooking a meal, laughing with your partner or decorating a room), it might be something at work (like taking part in a meeting, writing a report or seeing a way through a problem) or it might be something you do socially (like chatting with a friend, ordering wine at a restaurant or meeting someone new).

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    Natural confidence is being able to trust your behaviour with implicit faith in your abilities, so when you’re doing something, there’s no doubt about your ability to do it—you have full confidence. Applying that same sense of confidence to a new situation is what allows you to operate right at the edge or just out of your comfort zone, and this will feel uncomfortable.

    That feeling of discomfort isn’t the enemy and it doesn’t mean you don’t have confidence, it just means you’re someplace new. Trust yourself to do what’s best.

    5. You’re Not Alone

    If your ill-treatment has been happening for some time you might be feeling isolated in your experience, so it can be extraordinarily useful and important to talk about it, or even to ask for some support or help. Other people are going through what you’re going through, and you don’t have to do this alone.

    Asking someone you trust to talk about what’s happening is not only a great way to offload a little, it just might allow you to step back enough to see a fresh perspective or another way through. You don’t need anyone to fix things for you, so don’t let that be your motivation here—the point is to connect with another human being so that you’re supported through this.

    Think about this way: if a good friend of yours was going through the same thing, wouldn’t you want to hear about it and support them in attaining something better?

    6. Raise Your Expectations

    An easy life is one thing, but sticking your head in the sand and hoping things will fix themselves is crazy—as is setting your expectations so low that you expect to be treated like a doormat. There’s a massive cost to lowering your expectations to that kind of level, and the act of lowering your expectations and accepting bad treatment can be more damaging in the long run that the bad treatment itself.

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    Don’t ever make assumptions about what you should put up with or what you should expect. If you’re going to have any expectations about how things should go, base them on what you’d love to see happen, not what you wish wasn’t happening.

    7. If All Else Fails

    If you’ve truly done all you can to change things and to stop being treated like a doormat and nothing seems to work, then get the hell out. Life is way too short to have your experience of it and your self-esteem damaged by someone else, and sometimes you need to make a brave choice.

    If you need to, be willing to remove yourself from the situation or relationship and start building the kind of life you’d love to live.

    You Deserve Better

    You don’t need to “keep on keeping on”, and you don’t need to put up with being treated like a doormat.

    You deserve better, so make a start.

    More by this author

    Steve Errey

    Steve is a confidence coach who helps leaders build confidence.

    How to Be Confident: 62 Proven Ways to Build Self-Confidence New Years Resolutions Don’t Work – Here’s Why 7 Ways to Stop Being Treated Like a Doormat I Like You a Lot How To Muster Your Confidence And Tell Someone You Like Them Stuck in Rewind. 7 Beliefs That Will Help When You Get Stuck

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    Last Updated on July 8, 2020

    How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

    How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

    Do you say yes so often that you realize you aren’t really happy about this, wondering how to say no to people?

    For years, I was a serial people pleaser. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

    But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

    It took a long while but I learned the art of saying no. Saying ‘no’ meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. I started to manage my time more around my own needs and interests. When that happened, I became a lot happier. And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

    The Importance of Saying No

    When you learn the art of saying ‘no,’ you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

    In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

    Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey considered one of the most successful women in the world confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything. It was only when she realized that after years of struggling with saying no, I finally got to this question: “What do I want?”

    Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

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    Warren Buffett views no as essential to his success. He said,

    “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

    When I made ‘no’ a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

    How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

    It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say ‘no.’

    From an early age, we are conditioned to say ‘yes.’ We said yes probably hundreds of time in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work. We said yes get a promotion. We said yes to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

    We say yes because it feels better to help someone. We say yes because it can seem like the right thing to do. We say yes because we think that is key to success. And we say yes because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist like the boss.

    And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves. At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we feel guilty we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

    The message no matter where we turn is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

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    How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty

    Deciding to add the word ‘no’ to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say ‘no’ but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of ‘no’ that you could finally create more time for things you care about. But let’s be honest, using the word ‘no’ doesn’t come easily for many people.

    The 3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

    1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

    Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time especially you haven’t done it much in the past will feel awkward.

    2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

    Remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it, who else knows about all of the demands on your time? No one. Only you are at the center of all of these requests. are the only one that understands what time you really have.

    3. Saying ‘No’ Means Saying ‘Yes’ to Something That Matters

    When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

    6 Ways to Start Saying No

    Incorporating that little word ‘no’ into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

    1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

    One of the biggest challenges to saying ‘no’ is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no reflect poorly on you?

    Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

    2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

    Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because FOMO even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

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    Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better.

    3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say ‘No’

    Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say ‘yes’ because we worry about how others will respond or the consequences of saying no or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose respect from others. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

    Keep in mind that saying ‘no’ can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way. You might disappoint someone initially but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to.

    4. When the Request Comes In, Sit on It

    Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

    Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time, or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say ‘no.’ There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

    5. Communicate Your ‘No’ with Transparency and Kindness

    When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

    Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

    A clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

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    6. Consider How to Use a Modified ‘No’

    If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” giving you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

    Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

    Final Thoughts

    Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

    Use the request as a fresh request to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself. If you are the one placing the demand on yourself, try to evaluate the demand as if it were coming from somewhere else.

    Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project but not by working all weekend. Or, tell someone in your family you can’t loan them money again because they never paid you back the last time. You’ll find yourself much happier.

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    Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

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