Lessons Learned Writing

Don’t Call Me…”Nice” (or “Sweet”)

“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.

Nice. Sweet.

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. 

XO,

Leigh

6 Comments
Leighann

Twenty-something, lover of Jesus. I like animals (esp. dogs), Fun-Fetti cupcakes and yoga. I love God and do my best to love others. I hate too-warm weather and socks that fall into your shoes when you walk. I'm a huge fan of Christian rap and cold, sunny days.

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6 Comments

  • kiolashei

    I totally understand this post. I too sometimes feel slided when people are surprised when I am not smiling or whatever.

    To be honest, you are a very genuine person. When people compliment you, they are complimenting the God in you – the very thing that he wants you to showcase. Of course you have your days, you’re human. But when people meet you for the first time, and the only thing they encounter is your kindness, how could they comment on any of your other personality traits? I was drawn to you because of how genuine you are. You aren’t fake to me, nor have I experienced you as someone to be walked over. Not the Leighann I know.

    I think it’s a beautiful thing when someone knows who you are – all of you, like your Heavenly Father does – and still sees you as a great person. The question is, do you see yourself as a wonderful person regardless of how others see you? And of course, not everyone will or should have the liberty of getting to see and know all of who you are.

    • leighann

      Preach.
      This is what I needed to hear today. Thanks, Kio.

      You’re so right. It’s not what others think of me, but what I think of myself. And to be honest, there are some days when I look at the person I am and I’m absolutely in love with who God has shaped me into. And then, inevitably, there are days when all I can do is focus on my sinful nature, and see the parts that aren’t so beautiful.

      I appreciate your encouragement around this. My hope in writing this post, isn’t to discourage people from speaking about the kindness and compassion of God that shines through me, sometimes even without my being aware of it, but to be real and honest with people about who I am. Like I said, if there is ANYTHING good in me, look up. It’s Him who gives me this kind nature, this joyful spirit and this willing heart to grow.

      Thank you for reading, dear friend!

      • kiolashei

        Definitely! Thanks for being authentic and transparent.
        That of course is how you are encouraging others to be open and honest about who they are in the world of social media and appearing perfect all the time.

  • kiolashei

    P.S. I always love all of your photos!!!!!!!!!!

    • leighann

      Thanks, girl! I need to get out and take more – I’ve missed practicing this hobby of mine. Hopefully I’ll have some new ones to share with you soon 😀

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