Maybe The Reason People Walk All Over Me Is Because They Know I’ll Let Them

I’ve always been a shy and timid person who’s struggled to stand up for myself. This means that my kindness has been taken advantage of one too many times and while I know I need to grow a backbone and stop being a doormat, I seem to have a permanent sign etched on me that says “please walk all over me.”

  1. I want everyone to like me. It’s no surprise that I crave other people’s approval. Everyone wants to be liked, but it’s impossible to please everyone without losing yourself and your self-respect along the way. I’m slowly learning to accept that not everyone in life is going to like me and I don’t need to be so desperate for acceptance because it takes away my power and puts it in the hands of other people.
  2. I hate giving and receiving rejection. Rejection is such an awful feeling, but it’s also a part of life. Learning how to handle it when I receive and give out rejection early on is helping me take things more in my stride. There were several guys who asked me out who weren’t right for me and jobs I had to turn down. Even though it sucked to hurt someone else’s feelings, I have to remind myself that I can’t date someone I’m not attracted to or take a job I don’t want only because I’m afraid of disappointing them.
  3. I bask in the feeling of making others happy. A smile is a beautiful thing and being the one to put a smile on someone’s face is a wonderful feeling. However, not every smile is genuine and some can even hide bad intentions. I don’t want a smile from someone who’s thinking about how easy it is to manipulate me and I don’t want to make someone else happy at the cost of my own happiness.
  4. I’ve been a yes (wo)man for too long. I’ve always been the type to say yes to basically everything and anything someone asked of me. If you Google “yes man,” the first two words that pop up are “weak person.” Even worse are the synonyms that pop up: minion, puppet, and doormat. Those are all words I never want to be used to describe me and yet I know they have at certain points in my life.
  5. I’m kinda afraid of conflictNo one likes conflict, but just like rejection, it’s part of life. It’s something everyone must deal with at some point to mold them into a stronger person. Instead of doing things I didn’t want to do and jeopardizing my integrity, I’m slowly realizing that saying no is the better alternative even if it means potential conflict. Conflict isn’t necessarily always a negative thing that should be avoided—there will be times when I’ll have to stand firm for my beliefs. Even when I do say no, I’m finding that often the worst thing that happens is that the other person gets mildly upset and leaves.
  6. I worry that people will think I’m mean or too harsh. Since I want everyone to like me, I feel like best way to do this was to be a kind and generous person. I crave to be the type of girl that other people would only have kind words to say about. This meant I’ve sometimes been overly concerned that if I turn someone down, they might believe the opposite about me. For way too long, I failed to understand that being too kind and overly generous would instead make people think of me as weak-willed and a coward.
  7. I don’t want to lose friendsFriends who are only there when they want something out of me aren’t the friends I want in my life now. However, I wasn’t always so wise. For a long time, I desired whatever friends would come my way and pay me any sort of attention. It took some heartache for me to learn that there are certain kinds of attention that I don’t want or need.
  8. The people I say yes to keep coming back to take more. The more I give away, the more people take from me. While it’s perfectly OK to be a giving person, it’s not OK to let others take advantage of me. Learning to grow a backbone is something I’ve been working on because I know that if I continue to give all I have, I would eventually end up as an empty shell. That’s just not happening.
Emily is a freelance writer living in Tennessee. She received her degree in journalism from Middle Tennessee State University. In her free time, she enjoys playing Pokemon and cuddling her two cats. Follow her on Instagram at @nillacat