I have heard this spoken with conviction in one of the recovery circles I frequent, "If you do not want to be a doormat, get up off the floor.” For me there is a whole lot of personal truth, experience, and pain entwined in these words. In my journey, I can relate to being a doormat. At times I felt trapped, unable to speak up for myself or to take the action needed to correct or remove myself from an uncomfortable situation or one in which I had no place being. It is not something I enjoyed; however, it would happen, none the less.
In my recovery process, my past has been one of the most powerful learning tools.
Today, for me, my past is frozen. The harm done to me or that I have done to others is locked in the frozen tundra of my ongoing active recovery. Now, from looking at myself and having come out on the other side, I have a real sense or a knowing about a situation. I might think to myself, “this is oddly familiar,” or “I have been down this road before, haven’t I?” For me, these are my past experiences whispering wisdom into my ears. The real question is, “Will I listen?” The truth is, not always, but I ought to!
For me, this quote is made up of two very significant powerful pieces. First, “If you do not want to be a doormat,” for me means, “Hey Dave, what do you want out of life?” It invokes contemplation. I am forced to take some time to sit and to think. Sometimes I have to sit in discomfort realizing that I am not living the life I had imagined. At times, I have had to acknowledge that I have trapped myself into a dreadful corner and recognize that it was by my own doing. Of course, this realization came only after looking at a situation through not only a wide-angle lens but through a telescopic one as well! I was stuck and totally clueless. I had to ask myself, “What do I really want?” Think about a problem or situation you have been facing or dealing with. The question to ask is, “What is best for me, not for anyone else, just me?” Sit with this thought, ponder it and see what comes. These actions may save you considerable future pain.
The second piece, “Get up off the floor,” for me is a call for action. It is a wake-up call, a loud voice in my ear telling me to rip myself away from the pain. Get up! It is a verb telling me to do something! Again, think about the problem or situation you were facing. This is your chance to do something about the prison in which you have confined yourself. You may be your own prisoner, but you hold the key to be set yourself free. There is no need to hold yourself hostage any longer. You have the power to undo the shackles in which you are bound—the shackles you have imposed on yourself!
When we put these two pieces together we get contemplated action, which I believe is the basis of recovery and in turn serenity. We do not want to continue to have to think in circles not finding a way out. We want to search and find the easiest possible route to the exit. Find Your Exit and Take Your Exit and continue on your journey of improving your life day by day!
Later, when you find yourself in a situation in which you feel you are being or about to be walked on, ask yourself the following simple questions:
Am I willing to be walked on?”
“Am I willing to act differently this time?”
a. If Yes, take your exit.
b. If No, return to contemplation
Pain is the touchstone of progress. If you need to experience some more pain in order to change, who am I to stand in your way? It would be better for both of us to let you experience your pain, in your own way, and for me to get out of the way.
Often, it is not easy to pick yourself up and get off of the floor. So, I want to provide you with a visual analogy. Consider a suction cup stuck to a window. When you pull directly from the center, you cannot budge the cup no matter how hard you try. It just won’t move. However, if instead, you peel back a section from the edge, putting all of your focus and energy (contemplation and action) into that one small area, magic occurs. With little time and barely any physical effort, the suction cup releases itself and can be removed easily.
I believe, as long as you are actively working on change in your life, it will occur. For some it will be more slowly and for others it will be more quickly. It just doesn’t matter either way. For what is most important is it will happen as I can attest that it did for me.
If you would like your life to be better, make it better! Your first step might be to get up off the floor!
Don’t give up five minutes before the miracle!
David Avram Wolfe MS, RD, LDN, CNSC, FAC