Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
No-one wants to be a doormat. But if we’re not careful, we can easily end up feeling used up and stepped on. How do you define someone who is a doormat? It’s simply a person who allows people to treat them badly or walk all over them.
Do you allow people to take advantage of you and you never speak up? Is it so difficult to say ’no’ to someone, when you would prefer to do so? Sometimes in life people walk all over you. For no apparent rhyme or reason and despite your good intentions, they just run roughshod over you, doing whatever they want in the way they want, as long as they get what they want.
Traits of being a doormat:
- I try to be who someone else wants me to be.
- I apologise a lot.
- I’m afraid to rock the boat.
- I often say ‘Yes’ when I want to say ‘No’.
- I avoid speaking my mind.
- I rarely state my opinion in case it’s different from the group.
- I avoid getting angry.
- I change my opinion to fit in.
- I tend to be attracted to ‘controlling’ people.
Don’t Be Afraid To Say No
If you act like a doormat, people will walk all over you. So don’t be afraid to say no and don’t be scared to say what you want. Don’t be afraid to say that is not acceptable; you cannot talk to me that way, you cannot treat me that way.
Don’t be afraid to let them walk out of your life because you don’t need them. It is your responsibility, when they continue to mistreat you, to draw a line in the sand, and either walk away or do something about it. You cannot blame someone else for treating you badly when you let them.
Are you ready to change your situation? Being a doormat to someone you care about is a very hard situation to be in and to get yourself out of. You have to realise that you as a person deserve respect and not to be talked down to all the time.
If you were taught to always value someone else’s opinion more than your own, you probably would always be in search of someone’s approval. So it’s easier to please everyone and be a doormat. I realise this is a difficult subject for some. If you think your opinion doesn’t matter, then there can be issues when someone else doesn’t approve of you.
Happiness works from the inside to the outside—no-one can force you to be happy. When you have inner peace, you are no longer a doormat nor do you use others as a doormat.
Your opinions, wants and needs matter also because you are important. Trying to get yourself away from being a doormat may not seem easy at first, but when you can stand up and say, that’s enough, I will not be treated this way anymore, you will find that things will quickly change for the better.
You are the only one that can decide that you have had enough of being treated as a doormat and that you don’t deserve it, no matter what the person doing it to you says to you. We train people how to treat us. When you decide that you have had enough of the abuse, that’s when the change starts happening.
One small tiny step every day will make significant changes in your self-confidence. It starts with you deciding to say yes to yourself. It is important to always remember that any behaviour you do for other people that leave you feeling bad or hurt means things need to change immediately. When you allow people to take you for granted, in your work or personal life, you risk being seen as a doormat. To avoid this risk, you must speak up to stay up.
It’s OK for a Christian To Be Assertive
So how can a Christian walk the path of love, tolerance, compassion, forgiveness without becoming a doormat? That’s a very difficult question to answer. Practising love, tolerance, compassion, forgiveness does not mean that we leave ourselves wide-open for other people’s abuse. We should try to extend the same goodwill and compassion to ourselves that we to extend to others.
Author of the The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren says:
‘It is dangerous to be concerned with what others think of you.‘ (Proverbs 29:25a GNT). If you constantly worry about what other people think, then you’re caught in an emotional trap. You don’t have to please everybody any more than you can please everybody. It’s a myth to think that in order to be happy, you must be liked and approved of by everyone you meet. It’s just not true.
Even God can’t please everybody, and only a fool would try to do what even God can’t do. Jesus said he only focused on pleasing God (John 8:29).
So how do you handle hard-to-please people? One thing you don’t do is cave in. Just because you’re a Christian doesn’t mean you’re supposed to submit and let others manipulate you. Romans 12:2 says, ‘Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould‘ (J. B. Phillips).
The truth is, no-one can pressure you without your permission. If you feel pressured by someone, you’re allowing yourself to feel pressured by that person. If you feel controlled or manipulated, you’re allowing yourself to be controlled or manipulated.
You don’t have to do that! It’s OK to stand up for what’s right. It’s OK to be assertive. Many Christians are afraid to speak up.
Romans 12:17-18 (NIV) says, “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” The Bible also says, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” This Scripture implies that it is not always possible to live at peace with others, so sometimes you just need to keep your distance from them. At the same time, this scripture says as far as it depends on you.
Paul did not allow his opponents in Corinth to walk all over him. Rather, he penned 2 Corinthians in order to defend both himself and the Gospel of God’s grace in Jesus Christ. Jesus did not teach his disciples simply to put up with the wrongs done to them by others. Rather, he taught them—and us—to directly confront those who have sinned against us so that there might be reconciliation.
You and I are made in God’s image—we are valuable creations of God. We should not allow others to trample on us or abuse us without defending our stand. We can still remain loving and caring while standing up for ourselves. Jesus was assertive and blunt but also retained his dignity, principles and self-respect.