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Who Am I Kayla

Grace on the Journey

Creative Commons LicensePhoto credit: ϟnapshot 19

Love is supreme and unconditional; like is nice but limited.

— Duke Ellington

I’m having an identity crisis.  It seems that I’m a bit old for that.  Aren’t identity crises for teenagers?  Well, whomever they’re for, I’m in one now.

In order for you to understand the depth of my angst, I have to tell you a little bit about the former me.  (I’d call it the “old” me, but that’s just a little too close to the truth.)

When I graduated from college, I went to work in Corporate America.  It was the time of [amazon-product text=”Dress for Success” type=”text”]0446385522[/amazon-product] by John T. Molloy and women were such a new phenomenon that there initially wasn’t a “for Women” version.  The uniform was a dark suit with a solid color blouse, nylons (nude or suntan) and “reasonable” heels.  The idea was to project professionalism and strength – no sweaters, no flowery or frilly blouses, though for a while there were quite a few blouses with floppy bows.  (Those are actually coming back.  One of the gals at work was wearing one yesterday.  I hated them.  Yuck!)

Most of my customers were men, so my objective was always to look and act as if I fit in and knew what I was doing.  I did my Strong Woman Number ([amazon-product text=”I’m Getting My Act Together and Taking it on the Road” type=”text”]B00000HYAL[/amazon-product]).

The thing is, I’ve never really lost that image of myself – independent, able to cope, in charge.  But it seems that other people see me differently.

They say that I’m a “nice” person.  Maybe I shouldn’t put it in quotes, but I’m not so sure of this new label.  Where I was mentored, if a person was nice, that was the best you could say of them.  In other words, they weren’t competent, effective, decisive, in charge.  They were just nice.

What Do I Want to Be?

The opposite of nice, according to the Bing Dictionary is unpleasant.  I certainly know that I don’t want to be that.  Their definition of nice includes enjoyable, agreeable, pleasant, good, fine, lovely, amusing and wonderful.  Those are all good traits, in moderation.  Too much of anything can be a weakness.  Although I can be agreeable in a social situation, I’m way too opinionated to be agreeable all the time.

Like many young people, I was very sure of myself in my youth.  I probably had an empathy deficit.  I was tough and I respected others who were tough.  Now, I’ve mellowed some.  Life has worn off some of the sharp edges.  I’ve made my own stupid mistakes so I have more understanding of the stupid mistakes made by others.

What I have focused on is balancing out strong with welcoming.  I really do like people and I don’t want others to think that I dislike them when I don’t.  So, I’ve focused on being more conscious of adding to the collective positiveness wherever I am rather than reducing the collective positiveness.

You know what I mean.  As you walk down the hall, you pass people who, probably unconsciously, are frowning.  It’s not that they don’t like you, they don’t even know you.  Yet, they frown.  They bring you down just a little, even if you don’t know them.

Other people you pass smile and say hello.  They bring you up just a little.  Pass enough people who are smiling and your whole outlook improves.

In my department, there is a woman who laughs easily, often and loudly.  She cheers up the whole group.  She’s one of those naturally cheerful people and she spreads her joy wherever she goes.

So, here’s what I’ve decided.  Being nice isn’t too bad, but what I really want to be is a joy bringer, whether that joy comes from cheerfulness or kindness or helpfulness.  I want to help those who are sentenced to pass this way with me to have a better day, week, month.  If I can succeed at that, I think I will be doing what God intended.  And I will be nice.

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