I Wish I Were Nice   2 comments

My wife and I were watching the local news last night, and I commented, “I like that guy [the commentator].  He’s nice.  I wish I were nice like him.”  He reminds me of the folks on the Today Show–you feel safe with them.  You are sure they would never say or think anything mean about you.  I like nice people.  I want to be with them.  I need them in my life in a big way.  I was drawn to my best friend in college and later my first and last girlfriend, Kimberly, primarily because they were nice.

I want to be like these people, to be sweet and safe, and deep down I feel ashamed and guilty that I am not like them.  It is not who I am.  I am not a nice person.  If someone asked my friends and acquaintances for a one word description of me, “nice” would simply not occur to them as a possibility.  I’m not trashing myself–I think I do have some good attributes, and these same friends might say that I am intelligent or genuine or determined.  The opposite of nice is not necessarily mean.  I have something really important to contribute to others, something that nice people usually don’t have, namely challenge.  And challenge often makes people feel uncomfortable and perhaps unsafe, but it’s hard to grow personally or relationally without some challenge.  I am very, very grateful for those folks who are naturally sweet and gentle from birth, by personality.  I am not one of them.  So I need to learn to accept myself for who I am and not shame myself for who I am not.  I want to grow more gentle and patient, empathetic and accepting, but I will never be Mr. Rogers.  I don’t know that I would like a world full of only nice people.  Still, I struggle often with the shame of not being soft and safe and find it hard to accept myself for who I am and who I was designed to be.  My eyes fill up with tears just thinking about it. 

What a sad thing not to be who you wish you were, and who, at some deep level, you feel you should be.  I can imagine nice people feeling ashamed that they don’t have the gumption or courage or whatever it is they see and covet in me.  My heart goes out to each of you who, like me, feel ashamed of who you are even at your best, who struggle desperately to be someone he or she is not.  May we learn to delight in others’ gifts without it sparking a sense of our own inadequacy.


Posted October 21, 2010 by janathangrace in Uncategorized

2 responses to “I Wish I Were Nice

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  1. Yep, that’s me. Praying and wishing and hoping that I’ll be nice to people. Gentle. Considerate. I remember this youth worker at a camp one summer whom I watched and about whom I thought, “Boy, I want to treat my youth group students like that.” And I still think about him today and wish the same thing.Reading a John Ortberg book this month I picked out the chapter entitled, “Be the kind of player that people want to sit next to.” Yeah, that’s what I’d like to be.Thanks for the good thoughts about self-accepting in the midst of this wishing. I’ve been chewing on those kinds of thoughts, and then feeling the teeter-totter wobbling back and forth.Your friend,DLM

  2. Glad it gives you some encouragement, David.  I find my (true) acceptance of others is quite limited by how much I have accepted myself with all my frailties and failings.

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