All my life, I've been told that I'm too nice of a person and how bad it was to live that way. It's actually pretty sad because a lot of people who've told me this are people who have been hurt by others to the point that they let their hurts block them from opening themselves up to new friendships. Although I knew they were coming from a place of concern, I still found it mind boggling because I thought being nice was the right thing to do, especially in moments when I really didn't want to be nice.
I'm only 25 years old, but I've experienced hate. I've been badly talked about for many reasons, I've been betrayed by loved ones, I've been bullied and called every name in the book... you name it. When someone says something bad about me or does something behind my back, my initial reaction to turn into victim mode. "How could they say that? They are so awful! Blah blah blah". And on it goes. I start to feel like maybe I shouldn't be so nice and go forth avoiding new relationships because I'm scared I'll end up dealing with this hurt all over again. But here's the thing, I'm so focused on worrying and not wanting to forgive others that I'm forgetting my real identity, and my real identity is in Christ.
As a Christian, I've learned that there is confusion between turning the other cheek (Matthew 5:39) and being a pushover. This is a constant battle we face as we are told that if anyone tries to hurt us, we should go ahead and give them aim. But what about us? What about our dignity and self worth? Should we just let that go to shreds and let anyone take a jab at us and NOT do anything about it? Should we just constantly forgive others when they let us down? The answer would be yes, but look at it from a heart perspective, not an ego perspective.
In this life, not everyone is going to like me and not everyone is going to like what I do. I can't please everyone. I'm not a jar of Nutella . But should I let it affect me to the point that I lose my love for creating new friendships and just simply become a hermit for the rest of life? No, that would be awful! I need to figure out how to deal with the hurt by choosing one of two things: Do I forgive someone who doesn't give an apology and move on, or do I let the anger and hurt fester inside of me? My heart sings "Let It Go" from Frozen while my ego sings "Forget You" by Cee Lo Green. But just like Elsa says at the end of her song, "The cold never bothered me anyway". (I'm from Michigan, I grew up with it. It's fine.)
I promise you, without God by my side, I would probably be a horrible person because in Him, I find my real identity: A child of God. And do you know what that entails? Someone who is loved, someone who has been extended a lifetime of grace, and someone how is constantly forgiven for all the mistakes that I make. Did you read that last part? I am CONSTANTLY FORGIVEN FOR ALL THE MISTAKE THAT I MAKE. And let me tell you, as a human, I make a heck of a lot of them. So shouldn't I take the love, grace and forgiveness that God freely gives to me and extend it to those who hurt me? Yes. Is it right to do this even if you don't receive an actual apology? For my sake, yes. Otherwise, I would become bitter and I don't want that for myself. In this instance, I will look fear in the face and stand up for myself and say, "I'm going to forgive and I'm going to move on."
Yes, I am a nice person. Yes, I might be so nice to the point that I tend to be a pushover, but I shouldn't let the mistreatment from others affect my positive outlook on creating new relationships. I would rather live with my heart wide open than with my horrible ego blocking me from living a life of happiness, just like Jesus did. At the end of the day, I am reminded to focus on God and the beautiful blessings in front of me rather than the hurts and pangs from broken friendships and other relationships. And that, my beautiful readers, is the lesson you should take from this rant.