Let’s be honest—no one wants to be a doormat.
So when someone tells you to stop being a pushover, you might second guess yourself, wondering “Oh wait, I was just being kind…but am I actually a pushover?”
It can be hard to distinguish a kind person versus a pushover, and that’s why in this article, I’ll list down signs that you’re not a pushover, you just have a kind heart.
1) You don’t express anger
“It’s okay, don’t worry they won’t get mad” is often misinterpreted as a sign that someone is a pushover.
But not expressing anger doesn’t mean someone is a pushover. It could just mean that they have cultivated the virtue and discipline to regulate their emotions.
It’s not that they don’t feel angry, they do. The difference is that they don’t feel the need to shout, or express irritation towards others until they have come to terms with themselves and how they really think and feel about the situation.
Rather than being reactive— shouting or expressing irritation— they are able to pause, and practice self-awareness even around the most triggering situations.
2) You often say “It’s okay”
A friend only wants to meet up in the evenings, the other hates staying up late at night. You, on the other hand, are okay with either, provided your schedule and commitments are free.
While other people think you’re a pushover for not having a set preference and for being the one to adjust when others are not, it’s just that you are just generally fine with not having your way all the time— as long as it is within what you can reasonably accommodate, of course.
For instance, staying up late once in a while for friends is fine but you draw the line if the venue has a lot of heavy smokers.
While a pushover will have difficulty saying yes or no because having a different preference or opinion is stressful for them, it’s not for you.
Being flexible doesn’t mean you don’t know what you want or are afraid to express it, it just means stepping out of your comfort zone once in a while isn’t problematic at all.
It really is just okay.
3) You listen far more than you speak
Listeners are often construed as pushovers while people who dominate conversations, meetings, and situations with talk are seen to be more assertive and confident.
But the thing is, listening more than speaking is not a weakness. It doesn’t mean you don’t have great ideas to share or you’re not interesting.
In fact, it’s a strength. Listening isn’t just a testament to your capacity to give your full undivided attention, it speaks of genuine interest in understanding other people.
Unless what someone is saying is going to cause a lot of harm, you don’t feel the need to speak out.
And even when there are things you don’t completely agree with, you are willing to take your time to think through it until you reach a space of compassion.
So when you do ask a few questions, it comes from the space of non-judgment and genuine desire to come to an understanding.
4) You’re not a complainer
People who don’t complain are often misinterpreted as a pushover but what other people don’t understand is you have developed equanimity—the state of remaining calm under stress or hardship and being able to find meaning amidst all of it.
You also just don’t like giving energy on focusing on what’s wrong. You prefer to just move on and focus on what is working out at the moment, and onto what is good.
While other people will complain and list out all that was wrong, you simply state your preference, and points of growth or improvement. And you do it with compassion, without a trace of condescension or irritation.
For some reason, you are able to just let it go. It doesn’t mean you don’t see what is wrong, you have just decided to focus your energy towards solution-seeking, rather than fault-finding.
5) You assume the best about people
A friend suddenly cancels your dinner out, and you don’t hassle them about it and don’t even need an apology or explanation.
While other friends in your group are pissed, you simply assume that there must be a valid reason, like they really aren’t feeling well, they’re dealing with something important, or their mental health can’t handle it.
When a car honks loudly and speeds by you, you just assume they have an emergency and give way.
While others will be triggered into road rage or even cussing out, you just let them rush on ahead and continue on your pace without carrying the negative energy through the rest of your day.
While this makes people think you’re weak, you just believe that people can have very valid reasons for doing the things they do, even when it’s not the easiest to understand.
6) You share wins
At work, people think you’re a pushover because you seem to let other people get ahead of you. But the thing is your kind heart just doesn’t see the need to always be on top.
It’s not that you don’t like achieving or leading in success, it’s just that a harmonious working environment is just as important to you as achievements.
If it means letting other people win here and there, it’s fine. You believe in the success of the group and don’t have an individualist perspective.
You know that you can prioritize yourself, while also sharing wins. You are confident in your skills enough and know that you have your own moments to shine.
7) You don’t feel the need to explain yourself
When people misunderstand you, you don’t really go on the defensive and explain yourself because you are certain of your intentions.
You also know that how people interpret your actions, often has little to do with you. So unless you are asked in a space of wanting to come to a better understanding, you don’t really go around explaining yourself.
Even when other people attack you or say negative things about you, you don’t feel the need to go on the defensive. You simply let things be.
You believe it says more about them. Besides, you believe that wise people will know the truth eventually, so why bother?
8) You are very respectful
Genuinely kind-hearted people are always respectful even when others are not, so even when someone is being rude, you continue acting and responding with respect.
This made people think you’re a doormat.
What they don’t understand is that it’s so easy for you to throw insults or to do something to “put them in their place”, but you’d rather not do it.
Because it’s of no value to you to diminish yourself by matching other peoples’ negative behavior.
You are able to maintain your calm, even around the most toxic person. That has always been your goal.
9) You forgive people even when they didn’t ask for it
Being a kind and forgiving person is often misinterpreted as a sign of weakness AKA “being a pushover.”
When other people commit wrongs against you, you are self-aware enough to be able to go through a process of empathy and understanding, then letting go of the anger and resentment.
In no way do you tolerate abuse and mistreatment. You are simply able to forgive other people because your empathy is immense.
Besides, it’s not about them being deserving of forgiveness, it’s about you being deserving of being at peace and free from anger and resentment.
10) You can be friends even with difficult people
When others find it impossible to understand how you can be friends with people who are beyond difficult to get along with, they just assume it must be because you’re fine being a “doormat”.
What they don’t see though is that when someone is an attention-seeker, you notice their call for attention and are able to make them feel seen. When someone is being bossy, you understand it’s coming from a place of needing control.
You are always willing to understand where other people are coming from and practice not being judgmental.
Your genuine kindness allows you to see the best in people and brings more of it out, and that’s how you are able to get along with them well.
Being a kind person isn’t always the easiest thing when there are people who are willing to step on others to get ahead and get what they want.
So be proud of yourself that you’ve been able to keep your integrity and your good heart amidst all of this.
So don’t believe what others say about your kindness being wrong, you are supporting a world where everyone thrives and co-exists in harmony.
The world needs far more of you.