When I first meet someone, I feel they do not like me. I am unsure what they think about me; I only know it feels negative. It may not be as much of a dislike as disapproval. Then I have to prove myself worthy, and that is exhausting. Sometimes I feel seen as a privileged, idiotic blonde who could not possibly understand the struggles others face. That may be true in some ways. Maybe I don’t understand the struggles others face because I have not been through them myself. However, I, too, have struggled. It may not be in the same way or to the same degree, but that does not mean I am oblivious. One of my favorite quotes is, “Just because I didn’t live through the same hand that was dealt to you doesn’t make me any less or make any more of you.” It puts everyone on an equal playing field which is a hard place for humanity to survive without one group thinking they are better or more worthy than another. No matter our religion, political affiliation, race, sex, ethnicity, or age, we are all human. We can all relate on: the struggle of being human.

Sometimes it can be different, and I feel seen as an outcast or undesirable. I was never the star athlete or star anything, for that matter. I struggled to find my identity while others found theirs effortlessly. In turn, this gave them self-confidence and worth. They could feel good about the fact that they were good at “X” things. It feels good to know your strengths and play to them. However, it can be hard to play to your strengths if do not know what they are. So what is a person to do? How does one identify their strengths? It can be uncomfortable to name the things you excel at, especially at first. In time, it becomes easier. However, there is a fine line between being aware of your strengths and being arrogant. Once you cross that line, there is danger, and it can be a slippery slope to return to a humble mindset.

As a kid, that thing you excel at increases your self-esteem, which is positive. You immediately think about the star athletes or artists. What if you are mediocre at many things? That is how I felt. It can feel like an identity crisis at such a young age. It is not easy to know where you want to go if you do not know who you are. However, this is where we must be careful not to let our abilities define us. Yes, they are part of who we are, but not the entire picture. It reminds me of the quote from Be The Nice Kid founder Bryan Skavnak, which says:

“Some kids are smarter than you,
Some kids have cooler clothes than you,
Some kids are better at sports than you.
It doesn’t matter.
You have your thing too.
Be the kid who can get along.
Be the kid who is generous.
Be the kid who is happy for other people.
Be the kid who does the right thing.
Be the nice kid.”

Bryan Skavnak, Be The Nice Kid

Why does that have to stop at childhood? I want to take that one step further and challenge you to replace the word “kid” with “human” and live out the quote. Be the human who can get along. Be the human who is generous. Be the human who is happy for other people. Be the human who does the right thing. Be the nice human.

Living out that quote allows us to give others and ourselves more grace and help us see the good in ourselves and each other. See and be “the good,” my friends; you won’t regret it.