In a previous post, I wrote about forgiving someone who continually hurts you. I wanted to write this blog to make sure that we’re crystal clear about the difference between true forgiveness vs. being a doormat. Forgiving others is important. Harboring bitterness and hatred in your heart is detrimental to your own well-being. So, I’ll always be #teamforgive because ultimately, forgiveness is more for you than it is for the other person. Let’s talk about true forgiveness vs. being a doormat.
While I am a huge proponent of forgiveness, I know that it is a process and that it can take time. Some offenses take longer to forgive than others. But, the ultimate goal is to forgive others so that you can have the peace and healing that you need to move forward.
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What makes a person a doormat?
Psychology Spot defines the doormat effect as forgiving someone to the point where it causes self-destruction. I am not advocating for this behavior. It is never okay to forgive someone and allow them repeatedly hurt you again. I am, however, a proponent of forgiving others while still maintaining your dignity, self-respect, and most of all, your peace.
Does forgiving someone make you a pushover?
Forgiving someone is when you make the decision to let go of negative feelings towards them. It is when you overcome resentment and feelings of vengeance towards someone who has hurt you, even those who have hurt you multiple times.
Being a doormat is condoning or excusing offenses that you do not approve of. It is when you let other people treat you badly without ever defending yourself or speaking up when you feel hurt or mistreated. Furthermore, a doormat is a person who continues to do things to try to make another person happy, regardless of how that person treats them.
Forgiving someone does not make you a doormat, even if you forgive them multiple times. It’s important to note that forgiveness is not synonymous with continuing a relationship with someone who has wronged you. It is possible to forgive someone and make the decision to discontinue the friendship or relationship. And, sometimes, ending the relationship is for the best.
While I urge you to forgive others, I will not ever condone anyone being pushover. The goal is to have healthy relationships with people and to prioritize your peace.
RELATED READING: How to Forgive Yourself After a Big Mistake
What are the benefits of forgiving others?
Forgiving someone and letting go of the hurt is often more for your own benefit than the other person’s benefit. Johns Hopkins Medicine finds that there are numerous health benefits associated with forgiveness. Some of them include lowered risk of heart attack, decreased levels of anxiety, and lowered blood pressure. Those reasons alone are enough to convince you to choose forgiveness. Your health depends on it.
Instead of using your energy to seek revenge on the person who mistreated you, it’s better to reap the benefits of forgiveness so that you can move past the situation and possibly prevent permanent damage to the relationship.
How do I forgive without being a doormat?
There might be some gray areas surrounding forgiving someone without being a pushover. Some might even interpret forgiveness as a sign of weakness or neglecting your own feelings. When you forgive someone, you are ultimately putting your feelings aside. But, I encourage you to instead look at it as if you are forgiving the other person for you. Choosing to forgive those who have wronged you will give you the peace of mind that you deserve.
Forgiving someone does not mean that you accept or remove the negativity surrounding the other person’s actions. It simply means that you make the choice not to hold a grudge against another person for the offense.
True Forgiveness vs. Being a Doormat
Here are 5 steps that you can take to forgive someone without being a doormat:
1. Identify Exactly What Caused the Hurt
It is so important to try to get to the root cause of what caused the hurt. True forgiveness requires knowing exactly what happened to cause you pain. Work to identify the root of the anger or resentment that you are feeling.
2. Confront Them Kindly, But Make Your Feelings Known
This can be a very difficult step, but it is very necessary. You must confront the person to discuss their behavior. Be kind, but make sure you clearly express how you are feeling. Let the person know exactly how you feel about the situation and let them know that you are working to forgive them. Remember, you are taking steps to restore your own peace.
3. Replace “It’s Okay” with “I Forgive You”
This may seem like an unnecessary step, but it is important that you are clear with your communication. Don’t say “it’s okay” when, in reality, you know it’s not okay. Replace that phrase with something more appropriate like, “I forgive you” which more accurately relays what you are feeling.
4. Set Boundaries if Necessary
As you are going through the forgiveness process, it may be necessary to set boundaries. Your goal is to NOT be a doormat, so you want to stand firm with your boundaries. Go ahead and prepare a plan for if the conversations become too overwhelming and don’t be afraid to stick to those boundaries.
5. Let Go, Don’t Grow Bitter
True forgiveness requires that you let go. Release any ill feelings or bitterness that you may have towards the person who wronged you. In order to protect your own peace, you must work to let go of bitterness.
What This Means in Light of “Forgive and Forget”
Many of you have heard the saying “forgive and forget” before. You may be wondering how forgiving and forgetting can allow you to avoid being a doormat in a relationship. Forgiving and forgetting means not holding onto a grudge.
Many health experts say that it is physically and mentally bad for you to hold on to grudges. So, to maintain healthy relationships (even if that means discontinuing the relationships), it is best to forgive and forget.
True forgiveness is getting to the root of what caused the pain, confronting the person who hurt you, and determining the path forward that allows you to maintain your peace. Being a doormat is allowing someone to hurt you over and over again without ever addressing their behavior or having a discussion about how their actions made you feel. You can forgive someone without being a doormat. Hopefully, the steps outlined here will help you begin the process for true forgiveness.
READ NEXT: How to Forgive Yourself After a Big Mistake
How can we forgive others without being a doormat? -BibleAsk – To forgive others and to be a doormat are two very different things. Paul taught, “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of (bibleask.org)
Forgiving Doesn’t Mean You Need to Be a Doormat – BlackandMarriedWithKids.com Most experts and articles always recommended forgiveness. They advise not to hold onto a grudge but instead, to forgive and forget. They say, “Don’t hold a grudge, it’s not good for you.” However, believe it or not, there’s actually some research out there that suggests holding a grudg… (blackandmarriedwithkids.com)
How to really, truly forgive without being a pushover – FamilyToday – Yes, It’s Possible to Be One Without the Other. (familytoday.com)