Column 16 – Hiding Behind Doors by The FlyLady, Marla Cilley

We have lived our lives not being able to open the door; you know that “can’t have anyone over syndrome” that has paralyzed us. We have other doors that we hide behind. It is perfectionism that keeps us huddled behind them in fear and shame. Remember that the opposite of love is fear.

I want for you what I have peace, and this peace came from loving me just the way I am. This means with all my warts and blemishes. Now this process of loving myself didn’t happen over night. Just like your home is not going to get clean in a day. All my life I have been told (by my family) you have such a pretty face, if only you would lose some weight. Those if onlys and buts tend to negate the good that was said: Why couldn’t they just stop with the pretty face. Then at the same time, I was programmed with, “Pretty is as pretty does”: On one hand it is how I act and then almost in the same breath it was putting me down because of my physical appearance.

Learning to love myself was the hardest thing I ever did. In my perfectionism, I was self-conscious of the way I looked. So I hid behind baggy clothes (another door) and sweat shirts, and long coats. As a result, I had a new mantra in my life. When I lose weight, I will……! When I lose the baby fat, when I go on a diet, if only I could fit into that dress, this year I am going to lose weight. Let me tell you, I became my own worst nightmare. The negative mindset was causing me to gain even more weight. Not only had I closed the door on my future by hiding behind my insecurities but I had throw away the key thinking I was not worthy to have or do anything because I was embarrassment to my family.

I started hiding behind these doors in high school. Guess what friends, I was not heavy in high school. I just was not small like my sisters. My body type was different. My grandmother is 5′ 2″ and so are two of my sisters. At the time I didn’t know I was different. I just believed all the lies that were lovingly shoved down my throat. As a result, I started to overeat: Stuffing my feelings of inadequacy by feeding my face. I was finding comfort any way I could. Then I would feel so bad. It was a vicious cycle. Then new years would roll around and I would find myself making that perpetual resolution to get THIN again!

Twenty years ago, I started my journey of peace! The first step was getting the audible negative voices away from me. I divorced him. I knew that I was going to die if I allowed myself to be brainwashed by him one more day. I also distanced myself from the rest of the family. That way I only heard the negative voices on the phone when I called my granny or my mother. “Honey are you still big?” was a common question.

The change for me was immediate. No I didn’t start to lose weight. I quit beating myself up with diets and torture. The negative self-talk was going away and I was replacing it with loving gestures; bubble baths, meditation, walks in the woods, fishing, and kind words in my head. When ever I would mentally hear those ugly words, I would replace them. The hardest part to all of this is recognizing that you say them to yourself in the first place. Once that light bulb goes off, you begin to heal.

Every thing that has happened to me in my life has made me the person that I am. I am thankful for every single bad thing that has ever happened to me. Those things make me stronger and more able to share with you. In my imperfection I can help you become who you are supposed to be. It was only after I personally started to Finally Love Myself (FLY) that I found my voice.

Don’t ever forget that the message is not about me, it is about you and helping you to FLY! If I can teach you this one lesson, your home will come together. It is an all inclusive process. The babysteps, shining your sink, getting dressed to shoes, fixing your hair and face, building your routines are all part of FLYing, as well as getting rid of the clutter from your life. Don’t get caught in the revolving door of I’ll do this when. We all have to start someplace. Let go of the negative attitudes and self-defeating behavior and be nice to you for a change.

For more help getting rid of your CHAOS, check out her website and join her free mentoring group at or her book, Sink Reflections published by Random House and her New York Times Best Selling book, Body Clutter published by Simon and Schuster. Copyright 2011 Marla Cilley Used by permission in this publication. Helping women around the world get their home organized. Copyright 2001 - 2020 FlyLady and Company, Inc.