Years ago, I was busy shredding lettuce and chopping carrots in the kitchen. When I just so happened to glance curiously over to my daddy’s knife blade just as he made the cut into a delicious pomegranate. In all my years, I had never seen a color so deep, pure, red and lovely. The precious red was made up of numerous baby seeds just jam packed together. It looked so vulnerable cut open like that yet hopeful at the same time. It was that moment that I thought to myself, “I want that to be my heart from this day forward.” The stereotyped evil color, red, became the motivation to my life motto, “Because Nice Matters.” I soon learned that along with a nice heart comes pain, then understanding, and then, finally, the determination to use my passion of sharing my heart to its fullest potential. Since discovering my own definition of the color red, it has been my mission to spread kindness to everyone I encountered. Although nice matters to a lot of people, it can intimidate others. In high school, I have dealt with the “mean girls” who strove to take away my smile and cover my shining light through bullying. I have truly seen how God can take pain, yank it out of your hand, roll it around for a while, scratch the deepest layer, and then, hand it back as this gorgeous, glowing thing. He leaves a lesson each time with tiny, invisible scars that only the victim can see. Handling a bully all sounds so easy, but trust me, there have been nights when maybe my parents or the neighbors have heard me crying through the bathroom window. The constant bullying definitely made my spirit weak at times, but never did I allow it to take anything away from my ripe, red, beating heart. I made sure to never lose sight of my higher self in the never ending battles. I taught myself that surviving the bullies is all about the reaction in any given situation. It would be so easy for me to act brittle and mean, for ugliness is so easy to give when the mean girls continued to put me down. However, I found that even though it is a lot easier to hate those who do not like you than it is to love them. Showing them love will help impact their human spirits a lot more in the long run than it would to rebuttal back in the moment, which will only alter the situation for a short period. Yes, it definitely does take quite a bit of extra deep breaths and conscious choices with your actions and words. (Also, it takes real life prayers where you really believe you are talking to someone who created you.) But, it is possible to react with style and to have a grip of grace when dealing with unhappy people, for it is possible to feel great happiness despite great ugliness.
The simple act of choosing to react in a nice manner or choosing to do something that demonstrates kindness and consideration sends a powerful message to people, whether I intend to do so or not. Often nice translates to a secret little message that says something mind changing to the other person. I mean, come on, I was intrigued by a pomegranate for Pete’s sake. I think that if I can be inspired by a piece of fruit anyone can be inspired by a genuine person. Being nice to someone says to that person, “you matter.” When we choose the road of kindness, it also says a lot about our values and what kind of person we are deep inside. Even better than changing our own selves, our nice attitudes can dramatically influence a person when we show them how to love. I refuse to believe that the world I live in today is a terrible place. Is it awful that I give every person I meet a chance. Unfortunately when they mess things up with me I am opt to forgive them again, but I do this because I truly believe that people can change. Yes, a lot of people call me naive for this, but, actually, I think it is brilliant. If more and more people gave up their fears of being hurt and rejected, I think our society would be a much more pleasurable place to live in.
However, I know something different than most people though; I know that with pain comes understanding, with understanding comes commitment to know that, with the right attitudes, walls can be knocked down, hearts can change, and, with the right leadership, a friendlier environment can be born. I feel that I am being a constant motivator for others and for myself. It has put me on the right path headed towards greater things. I am ready to take on the challenges that have awaited me/ are yet to come. I am no longer afraid of the "bullies" because I am content with me. In the end that's all we can do, control ourselves and BE NICE!