Let's be honest: No one wants to be called a “pushover.”
The general connotation of the term doesn't make it a desirable label for anyone. I mean, the word itself sounds demeaning, even without a description ("push" and "over" combine to make it explicitly clear that this is a person who is easily knocked down).
By conversational standards, this is someone who is blatantly weak. “Pushover” is a blow to a people pleaser's self-esteem.
While you'd expect that by context of the nickname, a true pushover would allow this insult to roll right off of his or her shoulders, it can actually be the touchiest of subjects.
How do I know this? I am a big pushover.
Regrettably, it has taken me years to come to terms with why the word leaves me feeling so uneasy. It has created a resting lump in my throat, a concoction of guilt and tongue-bitten words that have snowballed over time. Any levelheaded, self-respecting person would scoff at the thought of allowing another person to walk over him or her.
If a pushover already has difficulty with assertion, how does one defend oneself in such a scenario? Admittedly, I am someone who has allowed others to devalue my self-worth without my initial realization of it. I have spread myself excruciatingly thin, time after time, blaming myself for why I may have appeared to be inadequate in the eyes of others. I couldn't see that doing the most to try and please those around me was becoming habitual at the expense of my own happiness.
I am not proud of how I let others treat me, and I recognize that the pursuit of continuously catering to others is a quick way to lose touch with myself. Pushovers commonly feel that they are taken for granted and are guilty of putting the needs of others before their own.
In no way do I condone trying to please everyone, but I have a soft spot in my heart for those who are hurt by their selflessness. Here are four personal strengths that pushovers exhibit:
Pushovers are not weak; they are some of the strongest individuals around.
We too often allow other people to be the sole proprietors of our happiness, and when others do not value our worth, we feel as though we have failed. When recognizing that people may be taking us for granted, we habitually try to cater to their needs in hopes that they will love us back. While it may not be healthy, a pushover's lifestyle features the strongest people who inherently allow others to determine their own images.
We believe that people are inherently good.
We don't like the idea that others intend to hurt us because as loving people, we want to give love and can't always understand why others may take advantage of it. While most people respond to kindness with appreciation, we often cannot recognize it because of our fixation on gaining validation from those who do not.
We are not concerned about what others think of us so that we can feel good.
Naturally, humans feel sad when others are sad (happy, mad, or anything else). However, pushovers often take responsibility for other people’s feelings because we want to have strong relationships with everyone in our lives. It's important to note that people pleasers are inherently caring and while issues may arise regarding their value, pushovers devote time to others' requests out of innate kindness.
We pick our battles.
Weakness is a skewed definition of what makes a pushover because we are not usually known for volatile reactions or obvious emotional sensitivity. A pushover probably doesn't view requests from others as a huge deal because it's in our nature to want to help others.
In reality, a pushover may need to realize that a battle is necessary if the value placed on a friendship or relationship isn't mutual (human relationships are a two-way street).
Photo via We Heart It