A lot of people tell me they could never be “as nice as I am.” While I consider it a compliment that people recognize that characteristic in me, it also makes me sad to hear that. It is a daily decision to die to my desire to lash out and treat people disrespectfully, and to actively give people respect and kindness. I am not naïve to how nice I am, it is completely intentional. I strongly believe that anyone can make the decision to make kindness a lifestyle as well. I often think of the thousands of ways the world would improve if people would just be nicer. I do not act this way out of a desire to appear like a better person; it is deep inside of me and a choice I made awhile back. It gets easier every day.
I have not always been this nice of a person. In high school and the beginning of college I blended in with everyone else who talked smack and didn’t have any intention of mending burned bridges. I have grown leaps and bounds and intend to continue to do so. I want to find a way to teach girls at a young age to respect others. I regret so many things I said and did to other girls when I was much younger, and I wish I had treated people better from day 1. I also wish I had been treated better, because I think a lot of the reasons people are the way they are is the way they were treated at a young age. Kids are brutal.
This has been a burden on my heart lately. It seems impossible to talk sense into kids, because they do not get the results of their actions until they are too old to fix them. The damage is done. Middle school and high school were my toughest years, and I believe I am just now recovering - at 26! There were so many hurtful things said, that I carry with me. Those are the building years that take a hit on your pride. I will be completely honest and say that people were mean to me. Cruel even. Both to my face and behind my back. It was hard not to get hard to people. In fact, I did. I ran away from my problems at first, but I just kept getting stepped on.
Being kind is a choice, and because of the way I was treated, I will always be this way. It is tough to think back on that stage of my life, it brings up a lot of hurt. I never felt beautiful or like I belonged. I had a lot of rejection. I started presenting myself as less than a person because I didn’t feel I deserved respect after not getting it from people for a long time. I didn’t even require it from men. I understand a woman’s sense of self worth going down, but it is not necessarily from men talking down to them.
Women talking down to each other was equally as big of a problem, and comparing themselves to each other is the worst kind of temptation. Women have done as much damage to me as men. Men treating me like an object is equally as hurtful as women treating me like I do not deserve anymore than that. The good news is my current girlfriends and my wonderful fiancé have rebuilt my trust in people.
The healing takes time.
I pray for those I am able to connect with on this issue, that it will not impact others as it impacted me.
Remember that damage is damage and anyone can make you feel unworthy.