“You’re probably one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met.”
“You’re so nice, like so nice.”
“You’re just so sweet all of the time.”
So…I’m nice. Oh, and apparently, sweet. These two words seem to follow me around wherever I go. No matter what group of people I manage to find, or community I eventually plug into, these words seem to be my defining characteristics.
For some reason, the other day, I was talking with some friends from my Bible study and those very words came up. And yes, they were in reference to me. At first I laughed it off. I did get that a lot. But then, later that night, replaying the conversation and those words back in my mind, I realized how frustrated I was. I was frustrated about being called nice and sweet. I know what you’re thinking and trust me, I get it. But hear me out.
As much as I enjoy it when people come back to me, maybe after a few times hanging out with me, and they mention how much they appreciated my initial welcoming and warm presence – I have to ask myself, is that all they feel when they’re around me? Just, my niceness?
What about the parts of me that aren’t so nice? Would they still like me then?
Some days, I’m not so sure.
Look, in my mind I think everyone should be treated well and feel like they belong. That’s what I’d want anyway. So, I try my best to help others feel the same. But I never want to come across as inauthentic or fake. Because that’s not who I am. I want people to feel good around me, but I also want to be able to speak the truth and act true to who I am as well without people having second thoughts.
It’s all well and good that you feel that I am nice, but please don’t get it twisted. There are some not-so-pretty parts of me that you may never see.
And, just as a heads up, if there’s anything good in me at all, I credit it all to my Heavenly Father. Because honestly, if you looked deep down into who I am, you’d see all the ugly parts that He sees on the daily. And I think your opinion of me would drastically change.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I like that people find me to be a warm and inviting presence. That’s actually what I’ve strived for ever since I can remember. I think one day, I decided that I wanted to be that warm, caring, friendly face to others, because I can count numerous occasions when that wasn’t the case for me. The world is already full of judgmental, belittling, belligerent and downright mean people. And personally, I didn’t want to be included in any of those categories.
It’s one thing to be nice, it’s another to be a complete doormat and let others walk all over you. And this is something I am constantly trying to monitor in my own life. I can be nice, while also having a backbone and not being afraid to stick up for myself and others.
I think it’s all about balance – never leaning to much to one side of the spectrum of being either overwhelmingly, cavity-inducing sweet with no realness or authenticity, or just plain cruel and antagonizing towards others.
I hope I fall somewhere in the middle. I don’t want people to think that all there is to me, is nice. Because, I am so much more than that.
I hope the right people will see all the things that make me whole, because niceness is just one side of the story. I also thank God for the people He’s placed and will place in my life, who will not only see the good, bad and ugly parts of me, but will also choose to stay in my life despite it all.
And if you’re like me, hoping for someone or a community to accept you and the whole of your “you”-ness, I’ll be praying for you. Keep searching my friend, they’re out there.