Last night, Brianna and I spent the evening outside, eating italian (or not!) and sipping cold coffee drinks. One of the things that we chatted about is something that I’ve been thinking about the past month as certain issues/people from my past have cropped up: how to act toward people (guys) who basically act like jerks to you/your feelings.

The problem is that I want to be nice and to let it be “water under the bridge” so I keep being nice and acting like nothing ever happened. But is that the best line of action? I get afraid that if I’m not nice then people will hate me or that if I am nice, then we can actually have a good relationship (friendship or otherwise). And I know that desire stems more from a selfish place than a god-glorifying one, which ought to be a red flag in and of itself.

As Bri and I were talking, she brought up her aunt who she described to be super loving, but still strong. She knows when to be gentle and back down but also when to be confident and bold and stand up for herself. I don’t have that capability at all, and I think what it comes down to is a lack of confidence and belief in ourselves—that we’re worth standing up for or that our feelings and our opinions are worth it.

I remember hearing a story about how some kid applied to a high-profile company and he showed up 5 minutes to the interview and the place just turned him around and sent him home. They knew they were worth more than being treated like that and deserved to find someone—because they recognized that there are people out there—who would appreciate and respect that opportunity. I think I/some of us need to take/demand that risk more often.

By being nice and letting ourselves and our self-worth get trodden over by people (guys) who don’t appreciate it or recognize it or regard it, are we just enabling them to continue to be even more selfish? Is a better choice one to (lovingly!)  stop allowing them to do that to us and stand up for ourselves (whether with or without words or just by distancing ourselves)? It just seems like that’s unhealthy if we’re supposed to be spreading love into the world if we can’t even do that for ourselves.

I’m really not sure what God would say about all this, and I think that’s where I get all confused and err on the “safe” side of “nice Christian” and “love thy neighbor”–is it really safe if you end up feeling worthless and used? I know we’re supposed to “die to ourselves.” But I also know that God loves us and we all mean a lot to him, so I guess I’m just not sure where the line falls; I’m just pondering out loud.