The Hard Worker/Doormat

11 pages of commentary
typical Doormat quotes

Essence: The Hard Worker

The first four types that are presented in these classes--the Can-Do Person/Dictator, the Teacher/Con Artist, the Player/Judge, and the Artist/Rebel--represent the more aggressive side of human nature. These types are more assertive, more "yang," more *outgoing* in style. The second four types, beginning with the Hard Worker/ Doormat here, represent the more passive side of human nature. They are more yielding, more "yin," more *in-staying* in style. The Can-Do Person/Dictator, for instance, is the most aggressive, and the Hard Worker/Doormat is the most passive of the eight types.

Mindfully studying people in any group, one will notice that certain of those one observes seem to be more quiet, more subdued, more gentle than the others. They are soft-spoken, mild-mannered, relaxed, and less prone to draw attention to themselves. They are "low-key." There is a mildness about them that shows. These are the Hard Workers. Hard Workers may appear to be tired more than the others around. This is partly because they are the ones--in all areas of life--who do the "hard work," and also partly because they are so relaxed and laid back in their disposition.

These are the *peacemakers*. They are the people who can "let it be," those who, by their nature, don't have to get retribution when wrongs are done to them. They can forgive and forget. They overlook insults. They can shrug it off when people have done them wrong, and--once peace is re-established--they pardon others, and move on in peace. They are merciful. They understand. (The reconciliation court in South Africa, headed by Bishop Desmond Tutu, is an example of the use of these qualities in a brilliant process, without historical precedent, for actively alleviating and healing the bitter enmities that were created by the former injustices of apartheid in that country.)

Hard Workers are for amnesty. They support conciliatory measures and reconciliation efforts. They can "let bygones be bygones." Peace is more important to them than having punishments. Since one out of every three humans have these strengths and qualities of the Hard Worker/Doormat as one of their three principal types, this represents a large and powerful minority force for peace in any population. They represent a pro-active force for peace in our homes and our places of work, as well, by their very nature. This is the chief personality feature of about an eighth of all humans. (And it is one of my own principal types, as coach of this class.)

Hard Workers are modest, and they do not aspire to riches. They prefer having a quiet life to having money. They prefer comfort to frills. They would rather be quietly comfortable than driven to seek luxuries. Their living style is very modest. They settle for less than the average. And consequently, they don't have ambitions for the higher-paying, high-stress jobs in society, and are content with "getting by in peace" in the lower paying jobs that require less ambition and less drive.

In order to get by in this way, however, they have to take the jobs and positions that do the hard work--the unpleasant assignments, the "shit jobs," the routine jobs that have little prestige and require getting dirty, maybe involving a lot of standing and serving other people, lifting and carrying, and the more menial, albeit crucial, tasks that minimal wages are paid for. They don't care for jobs that have a lot of pressure. They like to be able to take it easy as much as they can, in exchange for doing the kinds of things that most other people don't want to do. This is an accomodation they make for the sake of having peace and quiet in their lives.

But that does not mean that this type of person doesn't have an important role to play. Few business enterprises could get along without a substantial number of Hard Workers. They can follow orders. They do what they're told. They don't make the big decisions, or do the selling, or the managing, or add the fine artistic touches. But they actually make the business possible by keeping the warehouse stocked and getting new supplies, staffing the phones and taking the orders, waiting on people, keeping the place clean and maintained, typing the documents, researching the information for others' reports, providing the back-up support for the bosses, filling the bins, putting on the widgets in the assembly line, packing and shipping, and delivering, and such jobs.

Hard Workers are the majority among hired hands, the stoop labor, the convenience store clerks, the mall attendants, the road-repair crew-members, the "grunts," the part-time job holders, the subs from the temp agencies, the ones who wear the work uniforms to identify their lower station (and maybe funny hats with mouse ears if they make sandwiches in a fast-food place). In short, Hard Workers do most of the *hard work* in the world--the kinds of work that most of the other types don't want to do (although other types sometimes do have to do this kind of work, too, out of economic necessity during certain periods of their lives. But, Hard Workers are better adapted to it. They don't mind.).

One of the most essential characteristics of Hard Workers is that they have *endurance*. They plod on through. They are able to "take the punishment." They are natural "survivors." They "get through" the day. They work hard, and they do the "hard" work, in whatever capacity they are engaged in. They *get through* the month, and the year. They don't mind being looked down on. They are modest, anyway. They get through their 9 to 5, and they watch the clock and wait for quitting time. They like to finish up for the day, so they can let go and take it easy, and and go home and get some *sweet rest*. They have earned it! ("Sweet rest," the *sublime* sensation of letting go *completely* to peace and quiet, is the characteristic positive emotional feeling of this type.)

In mindfulness, you can recognize this essential type by noticing that they are observably quiet and notably modest. They dwell "in the background" of human affairs. They don't stand out among the people they live among. They are "plain." And this "retiring" quality can be picked up on in awareness.

Hard workers, through their own tough experiences, have a lot of empathy for other people. They are genuinely humble. Because of their modest ambitions, there is often hardship in their lives. They know what it is like to do without. All they ask is a comfortable life of peace and quiet. They are compassionate and understanding with others. They are very gentle.

People, in fact, seek them out to tell their troubles to, because they empathize so well and they don't judge. So this is a type that makes for a good psychotherapist because of these understanding and non-judgmental qualities. (Psychotherapy is both easy, "just sitting there," and very hard work, with one person after another who is sorely troubled and upset throughout the day.) This is a good "comrade in the trenches." Because of their modesty, the Hard Worker is the type most able to know peace and how to achieve peace, even in the midst of turmoil. They can be *passive on purpose*, intelligently, for the sake of peace. None of the other types can do this nearly as well.

Relaxed and calm, this is a good person to turn to for quiet understanding. They are good at providing extra needed help, and will work overtime if they are told to. They are willing to do the hard work. They let others take the credit. They are yielding and *the easiest of the types to be with*. People get along with them very easily. They are good companions. It is *relaxing* to be around them. (The secret of companionship is when people are able to be relaxed, and just who they are, together.) People are *comfortable* with them, and cherish this. Hard Workers are considerate, and they'll do their part quietly. They like to take things slow and easy. They have a "live and let live" attitude that enables them to get along better with others than the other seven types. They don't "make waves." They don't get "rubbed the wrong way" about things easily. They are especially good companions when a person is down, very empathetic, very forgiving if you have wronged them. Many of the other types seek Hard Workers out to be their friends.

And Hard Workers "keep on truckin';" they tread on through. Like monks and nuns (among whom this type is common) they are able to do without. (The Student/Believer, and the Healer/Kind Helper are also common types in monasteries and spiritual settings.) Hard Workers are good at meditation and abide sitting quietly in one place. They can empty their minds as well as relax their bodies completely. Humble monastic service is very suited to this type.

They will obey orders, and do what they are told. All they ask is enough sweet rest at the end of the day so they can be comfortable. With their endurance, they keep getting through it all. Despite the many times they may say to themselves "How can I go on?" because of the difficulties of their lives--they have gotten through not only the majority of those hard times, but *all* of those times. They are survivors.

It is the Hard Workers who get most of the hard work done in the world. And for them it all comes back to sweet rest and peace.

Personality: The Doormat

Playing as much as possible on the edge of comfort and rest, a person can easily slip over into complacency and lethargy. Because of the gentleness and passivity in the Hard Worker essence of this type, those who have the Doormat as a primary personality type can tend to become too gentle, and too passive. They can get themselves abused by others this way. Because they are humble, they may also have tendancies to be submissive. They may try to make people feel sorry for them, and this can backfire.

Doormats may be cheerless, dispirited, bored, self-punishing. They may have a hard time laughing at jokes, or enjoying themselves very much. They have little pride or self-esteem. They don't get enthusiastic about things like other types. They are lethargic. They are hesitant. They may be meek, timid, bashful, shy. They give up too easily. They undervalue and disparage themselves. *They underestimate who they are,* and may be openly self-deprecating.

Doormats put themselves down. They are self-judging. They can call themselves names, and abase themselves. They may think that they are weak, unworthy, or helpless when it really isn't true. They may become depressed. If they are convinced that they really are unworthy or helpless they may refuse to stand up and make efforts in their own behalf. In short, Doormats can become lazy and lie around a lot. They can get "stuck" in depression. In this pattern, they lose out by default on much of what is otherwise theirs for the taking in life. They get less out of life than others. Yet, it is just a mistake, a misperception on their parts. They are NOT unworthy! They have only judged themselves that way. They are NOT weak. If they will stand up and start doing things, they will see.

Doormats are just pessimistic, self-doubting, self-deprecating and easily discouraged by challenges. They'd rather not try. It's easier to call themselves "failures," and just give up. That can become a conditioned pattern with this type. This characteristic style may begin early on and be encouraged by the excessive criticisms and punishments of their parents.

Playing helpless is a defensive offense against being controlled--cf. passive resistance. "I blew it again." "I just can't." Eventually, people will give up on trying to get them to do anything, and leave them alone in peace, which is what they want. (Eventually, Mom takes out the garbage herself.) It becomes exhausting to others wasting time trying to motivate them to do what they want them to do. They may put themselves down as a trick to convince others that it's not worth trying to get them to do things. It works, unfortunately. The more they can convince others of their unworthiness, the more they believe it themselves. Yet, the fact that others finally do it for them seems to be a "pay-off."

And Doormats can also get themselves abused this way. Playing for people to "feel sorry" for them can backfire. Weakness "excites" aggression. They bring punishment and cruel treatment upon themselves. Their displays of unworthiness excite sadistic urges in certain people. When they announce that they deserve to be blamed for things, it *gets* other people to punish them or force them unduly, perhaps even brutally, even though they don't resist. They are the ones who play masochist to the sadistic tendancies of certain Judges. "I deserve to be punished," they seem to say, and this brings cruelty upon themselves. They get picked on. They are too submissive. (Bullies--that is, Dictators--don't usually pick on those who might fight back vigorously--they are looking for easier targets. They spot Doormats from their lethargic appearance all the way across the playground.) Other types who don't necessarily pick on them "walk right over them," take their place in line, help themselves while Doormats are holding back.

Although this is not a very attractive nickname, it is metaphorically appropriate to call them "doormats." They try to serve their function by just lying there. And they get stepped on for this, scuffed-off on. They are walked on by the others who are going on through. They, themselves, don't "go on through" to what would otherwise be the life that they are entitled to. They settle for very little, in exchange for not having to do very much.

(By the way, these names of the personality types are NOT chosen to bolster anyone's ego. They are chosen to catch one's attention, even to "shock," so to speak. They are chosen to jump out of the background in shadows, and into the bright light of a student's mindfulness, so that each syndrome they represent can be remembered, noticed, studied, understood, and worked on. If you happen to be a Doormat, all that I can say is that this type is just as good as any of the other personality types! It's true. This is the most passive way of bringing one's own life down. Yet all the other types also have their own characteristic self-defeating ways, as well.)

Doormats have had to work hard much of their lives, at jobs that are not very rewarding or inspiring. And they're often tired, mentally and physically. They become discouraged. They haven't gone after the things they might have liked to do. ("Self-esteem" is created by doing the things one likes!) They have followed other people's orders, and gotten pushed down by many people. They are too mild. Cherishing rest--they may just lie there and get "walked on" as life is going by without them. "Doormat" is an accurate poetic image for this style of behavior.

Doormats may allow themselves to fall down when they don't have to. If they will only *rise up* they will *always* find that they have the strength to do so. They only have to get up and get to their feet--not once, but again and again. Only then can they walk their way out of this! All they have to do is "do the next little thing that is to be done." Then they need to do the next little thing, and the next little thing after that. From this series of small efforts, strength begins to re-emerge in their bodies, and the pessimism that was gripping them abates. (One of the most commonly used psychotherapeutic treatments prescribed for clinical depression is simply walking.)

They may be slow: "As long as I don't have to do it now." This is the area of "torpor and sloth." Doormats are the ones who procrastinate. They put things off. They have all kinds of excuses to get out of it. "I'm not good enough." "You go ahead without me." "My car won't start." "I'm feeling sick." "The alarm didn't go off, so I'd have to be late."

Doormats try to "make themselves very small," so they won't be seen and called upon to do things. They are shy, and self-doubting. They may hang their head, and mumble. Sometimes they may be seen hitting themselves on the side of their head with the heel of their hand, as if to say, "How stupid I am." "I deserve to be punished." That is much too extreme! If they made a mistake, so what? We all make mistakes. It's a trial and error world. But Doormats take making mistakes *personally* and think of themselves as innately unworthy in their make-up. It just isn't true. Looking for an easy way out, they tell others: "You do it for me." "I wouldn't do it right."

"I can't." "I'm no good at that." In their most characteristic posture they may seem to hang their head and slump in their chair. They may blush often, and be embarrassed easily. Shame is a common negative emotional feeling that Doormats experience. From prolonged periods of inactivity accompanied with a sense of unworthiness, the Doormat is the type most prone to depression. They may feel tired throughout their body. A mindful observer can see that in their face and demeanor and hear it in their voice.

Again, Doormats take failure personally: "I am a failure." Other types don't do that when they make *the same mistakes* that Doormats do. Other types say, "I made a mistake," or, "It didn't work; I'll try it again." Doormats say, "I'm no good." (That's probably the biggest mistake of all.)

Feeling unworthy, they rely on others to do too much for them. By not doing many of these things themselves, their muscles may, to some degree, actually atrophy, making them more and more easily tired. "I'm sorry." They seek forgiveness. They want others to feel sorry for them. "I'm sorry, but I just can't." They play "the victim." They let others push them around and walk all over them. Playing helpless may excite abuse from others. It gets others angry at them. They may whine and moan and exaggerate their pains. They find that others aren't supportive in giving them enough time or help to get their work finished. They get "chewed out" a lot.

Their pleas for help may be ignored. People generally don't like to help others who don't seem to be willing to help themselves. Frustrated with their lethargy, other people may drive them, even brutally. Sometimes their life is like a treadmill, and they are enslaved. When they are exhausted, they try to ride it out by laying low, or hybernating. They don't challenge injustice. Lacking energy, they don't speak up, or get up and handle things themselves.

Unfinished chores pile up--dirty dishes fill up the kitchen counters, dirty laundry over-flows the hamper onto the bathroom floor. There's no food in the icebox; they haven't shopped. They don't have much money. They are late paying their bills (and have to pay more because of the penalties). They have periods when they "can't" get *anything* done. To them, this virtual helplessness seems real. Their life may look "hopeless" to them at times.

Doormats have developed a psychological need for it to be easy. They prefer to be kicked back. Being lazy provides a "pay-off" for their self-doubt. It provides a way of getting out of hard work. But that *doesn't work out* very well in the long run. They'd rather not have to work for a living. Yet that is *unhealthy* for a homo sapiens. These bodies or ours *thrive* on moving and working. It is what they are built for. It *feels good* to work. Work increases physical strength and courage. Humans are self-driven. We are "working animals." Doormats are not "self-starters." Above all else, they need to learn to be, to improve the conditions of their lives.

Doormats, in their Hard Worker essence, actually have *more endurance* for work than the other types (partly because they are naturally good at resting as they go along). They pace themselves to make it easier, interspersing bursts of work with moments of rest. They husband their strength. Interestingly, they can work for "superhuman" periods of time, like 24-hour-shifts, for instance. They do this better than the other types because they find ways to rest or nap along the way. They are skilled nap-takers, and can catch bits of sleep almost anywhere. But this superior endurance that they have becomes "lost" and forgotten to them when they are in their Doormat moods and feeling down. When they stop for too long, they have a hard time getting themselves moving again.

Doormats don't easily get interested in things. "It's just too much trouble." Even if something does appeal to them, they don't want to have to do too much for it. They tend to live by getting by, taking the easy way out. "Slow down. Take it easy." "Go on without me." "I can't." "I can't make it." (It's not true! These people are *survivors*! They *always* make it! Their path is just a lot slower than it needs to be.)

Once they get in motion, once they get their bodies going, Doormats are okay again, and they can revert to being the Hard Workers that they really are in essence. The human body has amazing recuperative powers *when you give it something to do*. That's all that it takes! Once they begin undertaking things they find that they *can* trudge on through. They can make it! The notion that they are really stuck is *just an illusion*!

See that drawer that's not closed all the way? Get up and close it. See that paper on the floor? Pick it up and put it in the waste-basket. See those clothes thrown on the chair? Hang them up and close the closet door. See those dirty dishes? Wash them and put them away. Take the laundry and do it. Doing the "next little thing to be done," and the next thing after that, and the next thing, *gets the momentum going*!!! This is an exercise that works! It is a simple formula by which anyone can pick themself up from depression and get themself going again.

The self-effacing remarks that Doormats make about themselves are just a habit. They need to wake up on this! They need to stop letting themselves do it! Every time they put themselves down this way, it feeds their psychological tiredness! It is just a drama, just a pose that they themselves fall for and believe because *they* make it convincing. They are NOT unworthy. They have talked themselves into it. They are NOT helpless. They have let themselves believe that that it is true.

Lying there, it feels for all the world like they actually *can't* get up. As soon as they get to their feet, they realize that they *can*. After awhile they are back down there on the mat again. They have to get up a second time. They have to "rise up like a bear!" They may have to get up several times to "get the ball rolling" for a sustained effort. Then it is easy again. *They know how to make it easy!* They are "experts" at making all things as easy as possible!

"I can do it now." (These are the *key* words in getting out of this situation of lethargy or depression!) Eventually, the Doormat's habits of inactivity can lead to hybernating, lying around in bed all day and being depressed. Their only active manipulation then with other people may be passive-resistance. "I'm going to lie here until you give up."

They can malinger, and blunder. "Oops! Sorry. I blew it again." They are the type that has excuses: "My car is at the mechanic's." "The goat ate my term paper." "I was 'victimized.'" "I have an excuse." They can feign sleep, be numb and insensible: "I didn't hear you." Or they might "play dumb" about it: "I didn't know!" They may come across as being spaced-out, or distracted: "I forgot." They can play helpless. "It's too hard."

The whole trick here lies in self-starting, and they don't seem to have the energy for it--yet they always really *do*! They *do* have the energy to do the next little thing that is to be done. But they must test this out on their own to find out. If the bed caught fire, they'd be up and away from it in a flash, with no lack of energy at all! Self-effacing and self-deprecating, they hardly allow themselves a chance to find out that they aren't really unworthy, and they *can* do it. Their attitudes drain their ambition; but energy still lies hidden within.

Too easily, they tell others: "Okay, you win!" "Go right on by me." They think of themselves as "losers," and act it out that way.

With others who have problems, they may tend to commiserate and play the fellow sufferer. "The same thing happened to me!" They are against making any waves. They hope this commiseration will dampen down the other's urge to retaliate, too. Misery loves company. This is true helplessness. Yet the need for it isn't true.

The chief liability of the involuntary perpetuation of the passive characteristics of the Doormat lies in the person's missing-out on so much of life unnecessarily, by default. Yet Doormats have uncanny endurance, and the ability to take much punishment. They are strong enough to survive, yet they limit what they have and do by so much excessive humility, and a defensive posture of weakness.

The secret advantage of Doormats who begin to *work on themselves* mindfully, is that they always have *the most untapped potential* of all of the types! They can recognize this once they realize that they have only been pretending to be unworthy. That's the good news here. Because they have habitually neglected the recognition, use, and development of their natural inborn potential, there is always *much great potential* there within them to be discovered, when they wake up!

Typical Doormat Quotes

I can't.
I'm stuck.
I have an excuse.
But . . .
It's not going to work.
I'll try.
I don't have the energy.
I'm tired.
Don't make me do it.
I'm unworthy. Ask someone else.
I'm too shy.
I'm not strong enough.
Yes, but . . .
Count me out. I'd just make a fool of myself.
I'm sorry.
I'm clumsy.
I blew it.
How stupid of me.
Give me a break.
I can't get up.
Just let me rest here. I'll do it later.
Okay, okay; I'll do it!
I'm a hopeless case.
I'm bored. Nothing interests me.
You go on without me.
I'm ashamed of myself.
I deserve to be punished.
Everybody pushes me around.
I'm a loser.
I get a lot of arrogant abuse.
You can walk on me, but you can't make me do it.

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