Wednesday, March 6, 2013

In Search of Sincerity

There should be more sincerity and heart in human relations, more silence and simplicity in our interactions. Be rude when you're angry, laugh when something is funny, and answer when you're asked.
-Anton Chekhov

As I was getting ready yesterday morning, my mind was racing on this month’s blog topic of childlike sincerity.  Sincerity means: one who speaks and acts truly about his or her own feelings, thoughts and desires. My 4 year-old is the most sincere person I know. But I worried about finding sincere adults to study. Than the doorbell rang. I peeked from the top of the stairs and could tell by the limited view of practical shoes and long skirts that I had Jehova’s Witnesses at our door. Relieved they couldn’t see me, I tip toed back to the bathroom to finish getting ready. On second thought, I raced down stairs and flung the door wide open. Maybe I wouldn’t have to go in search of sincerity after all.

They were still in front of my house on the sidewalk, but they weren’t interested in turning back. They just waved and said they left an invitation on my door. I was actually disappointed. I wanted to experience a heart felt sales pitch. Other than religious missionaries, is there any other line of work where people have no personal agenda? Politics? Media? Business? Even with friends and family, there is a less sinister version of insincerity that pervades even our closest relationships. It sounds like the sarcastic remark meant to mask a painful insecurity. It looks like someone who doesn’t want to hurt your feelings, so they are not open about their own feelings. Than there are the majority of people who have no clue what they are feeling or thinking, rendering them incapable of expressing themselves with sincerity.

I am currently reading The Conscious Parent by Shefali Tsabary, which speaks indirectly to this issue of sincerity. The tag line of this book is “transforming ourselves, empowering our children.”  To me, this book is for that silent and insincere majority. The folks who prefer to operate on auto-pilot instead of venturing into the dark cauldron of their emotions. Tsabary believes we are all repeating the script of our parents and grandparents. Than if we become parents, we unknowingly pass down our inherited identity crisis like a mutated gene.

The price we pay for our lack of sincerity is a life that feels inauthentic and half hearted. We strive to be whole, but we don’t know what is missing. We believe we are being truthful, but don’t know what makes sincerity subtly different. My take away from the book will also be my goals for this month.

1 Identify core beliefs and where they came from.
2. Listen closely to my repetitive internal dialogue.
3. Recognize emotions as I am feeling them.
4. Pause to think about how those emotions are driving my decisions and reactions.
5. Try to be clear and direct in all communications.

If those five steps fail to become habit, I can always be on the look out for sarcasm. Sometimes for me it is easier to identify the opposite of something and use that as a starting point. When sarcastic remarks pop up, I will know there is a lack of sincerity.

How do you identify a lack of sincerity?

For today’s “Sky’s the Limit” on what you can learn. The Greek philosopher Aristotle is credited with introducing the virtue of sincerity to western culture. Did you know the name Aristotle means: best purpose. I love that. Good thing I didn’t know that when I was picking out names for my son! Aristotle studied under Plato three hundred years before Christ was born. He became a teacher to Alexander The Great. His studies included:  physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, politics, government, ethics, biology an zoology. Sincere brain crush!

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