A while back someone I know was told to stop letting himself be used as a door mat. I have been marinating on this ever since. A door mat is used over and over again to wipe your feet on. Because of this, it is filthy in nature – until cleaned. However it is also an extremely useful item. I can only think that when the person made the comment they were focusing on the wiping feet aspect. In other words don’t let yourself be used repetitively as an item to clean dirt. The truth is that if you feel you are worthless then people will use that against you. So how do you progress from a “worthless” state – the level of a doormat – to a state that commands respect?
An elderly friend is experiencing severe depression at the moment due to his situation at work. He works 11 hour days and is constantly contacted when he is off at all hours of the day or night. His intentions are good. He wants to complete his work and he feels loyalty to the firm. The fact however, is that he is not happy. He is exhausted and despite his hard work, he is not reaping rewards due to him. My opinion is that it is possible that if he was in a more hopeful position – in his own mind, and considered himself in a better light, then he may have the courage to stand up for himself and request the assistance that he requires. Were he to do so, he would be happier, more content, his work would be at a higher level (you cannot work effectively when you are exhausted), and he would have time to spend with his wife who is also depressed due to the situation. But how do you move from a position of self-doubt and depression to a position of empowerment?
The other concern is once you have decided to stand up for yourself and no longer accept someone else’s filth, but then taking it too far. Turning hateful or abusive yourself. We see this in families where the abused in turn becomes abuser. Or where someone who is used in one situation asserts them self in the incorrect manner outside that situation.
I have written previously about self-esteem and that clearly links to this. Please see my previous posts. We are all equal. No-one has the right to treat anyone badly. Whether they are your husband, boss, parent or whatever their position relative to yours. This is something we need to remember in our dealings with others if we are in a position of authority as this swings both ways. No-one is a door mat.
Once we have figured out how to balance our own self-worth and treating others as equals no matter their station in life, then we have a responsibility to teach this to our children.