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Does Being Spiritual Make You a Doormat?

BY: Natasha Dern

How does one walk the path of love, tolerance, compassion, forgiveness, etc. without becoming a doormat? This is a fundamental question, and one that’s rarely addressed, if ever. When sweeping generalizations are made about love and compassion without sufficient directives they leave many vulnerable and at the mercy of others who take liberties without reciprocating. Sometimes others might mistake kindness for willingness — even an acceptance — to mistreat and disrespect or lie, cheat and swindle.

It is a very New Age tendency to forfeit common sense in favor of passivity. For many, the path is often misunderstood as a practice of passivity. It is not — its being fully engaged in one’s life, the world and relationships. If people are constantly expecting you to give in, let go, forgive bad behavior, and accuse you of not being spiritual when healthy boundaries are established, then they are treating you like a doormat.

Practicing love, tolerance, compassion, forgiveness and so on does not mean that we leave ourselves wide open for other people’s abuse. For starters, we should strive to extend the same goodwill and compassion to ourselves that we to extend to others. The Buddha said, “You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” So putting ourselves in a position of being violated by another is not demonstration of love and affection in action, but of powerlessness.

Remember the rule: we teach others in how to treat us. When we have allowed someone to be less than respectful or to mistreat us for a long period of time, it becomes a habit. Then, they resist when we decide to set a boundary that forbids their behavior.

Boundaries are such an essential part of life. A boundary is a container that is necessary for spiritual unfolding, a vessel in which Divine purpose can be revealed. And if you don’t have boundaries, your spirituality is going to pose real problems for yourself and for others. The purpose of setting boundaries is to take care of yourself, to protect yourself.

Those invested in mistreating you may not want to see you grow and expand. They see your progression as a threat and begin to shame you for your decisions and choices. When you become more conscious and begin setting boundaries, the majority will not like the new terms. But if the relationship dynamic is about you always giving, and never receiving in return, it’s time for a change.

As we progress on the path, the need to act when faced with the questionable intentions of others will arise, but now our action comes from a different motivation. It’s no longer “retaliation” in the usual sense, which comes from aggression and fear, but rather from a place of truth. We are strong enough to tell others that their behavior is inappropriate, not appreciated, nor tolerated. This may cause them some confusion, but do not despair and hold on to your boundaries no matter how others react. If the wise way fails, wish them well. Let go. Move on.

Other times, it may require retreating from the situation and giving it space, sitting down and having a frank conversation, protesting, calling the police and pressing charges, walking away entirely, and never looking back. Boundaries should be clear, specific, reasonable, and enforceable.

No, being on the spiritual path and leading your life with love and kindness is not an invitation or permission for others to take advantage or loot the kingdom. Unless of course, you allow it.

Your purpose is to love and appreciate yourself fully, including setting healthy boundaries for mutually appreciative and respectful relationships. Meet each situation that arises with fresh awareness and an open heart, and respond in whatever way is most beneficial and effective. Turning yourself into a doormat for the sake of your spirituality rarely leads to empowerment.

“An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” Gandhi


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About mountainsisters

WELCOME TO OUR BLOG WHERE WOMEN SHARE THEIR KNOWLEDGE AND CREATIVITY ON THE PATH TO ENLIGHTENMENT. We are two women sharing our thoughts, reflections and creativity. Stormy My name is Stormy and I have spent the last 20 years working on my spiritual growth and enlightenment. I still have a long way to go, but with your help I know I’ll keep growing, learning and expanding. Shar My name is Shar and I am a meditation, yoga and Qigong practitioner. I love to cook. I am vegan. I love to walk in nature, sing, drum, play guitar, write and spend time with family and friends.


  1. Kristina says :

    Thank you beloved sisters! I have been contemplating this topic lately and it comes at the most perfect time. I truly believe that love for others stems from love for oneself, and truly recognizing that with every fiber of my being allows me lovingly speak my truth to others and lovingly maintain my healthy spiritual boundaries. I honour and love the Divine Goddess in me and I honour and love you all Divine Goddesses! Blessings of Love!!!

  2. terri0729 says :

    Amen to that! I wanted to let you know that I nominated you for the Hope Unites Globally (HUG) Award! See my post here: http://terri0729.wordpress.com/2012/03/12/hope-unites-globally-hug-award-nomination-thank-you/
    and this is the link to their website:
    Congratulations, you deserve it 🙂

  3. mountainsisters says :

    Thank you for your nomination, Terri! We are grateful! I enjoyed visiting your site. It takes a great deal of courage to open up as you have on your blog. I appreciate your openness and wisdom. Blessings, dear sister,


  4. ecofinanalysis says :

    Gandhi is right but the world is constituted by selfish individuals….

  5. Penny says :

    It is advisable to get involved from the contest
    for the most effective blogs on the net. I’ll suggest this internet site!

  6. cartas de amor kathryn smith descargar|#KM12 valentine's day february 14 says :

    Ƴes! Finally someone wriotes about love qսotes edgar allan poe.

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  1. Teaching People How to Treat Us « Living Write - April 23, 2012

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