In Others’ Words: The Exhaustion of Insincerity

Insincerity 2015


I remember the first time I heard someone teach about insincerity. I was in a teen youth group, and a boy who I liked — a boy who a lot of the girls liked — spoke on being sincere. I thought he was witty and brilliant — and yes, really cute.

A year or so later, I dated the guy. When I went away on summer vacation, I came back to find out that he’d been dating another girl in youth group, all the while he’d supposedly been missing me. His words lacked a certain sincerity once I found out about his second girlfriend.

Was he insincere? Yes, I think so. But I also think he was a teenager who wasn’t ready to tie himself down to me or any other girl. Of course, I’m older and wiser now. Back then, I was just a very hurt teen girl.

Sincerity is a demanding blend of being true to yourself and beng honest with others. That kind of person-ality takes maturity, and maturity takes time — and it usually comes with a few mistakes a long the way. At it’s core, sincerity is real — there’s no faking it. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned, being someone you’re not is exhausting. Pretense is intense. 

In Your Words: What helps you be sincere? Who has taught you how to be sincere? What would you tell someone is the value of sincerity?

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  1. June 19, 2015, 1:00 am   /  Reply

    This really opens a lot of philosophical roads, Beth. Hard to know which one to take.

    I work hard at marriage blogging; I enjoy it, believe in it, and do my best to put out a quality product, three times a week…and to make appropriate and meaningful comments on others’ blogs.

    Every word I write is sincere; if it weren’t it would be really, really obvious.

    So far so good, but in a very real sense, the words make the man…and because only one of my readers has ever me me, the words ARE the man.

    And in the dichotomy between that image and the physical and personal reality, is there a sort of functional and unintentional insincerity?

    I don’t know; but I am fairly certain that the image and the reality would be miles apart, for anyone who’d come to visit.

    I’m well-educated, well-read, have an IQ around 200, and a good memory, and I think that’s reflected in my work…but to meet me, you could not be blamed for thinking of me as a rather unwell Asian tradesman with altogether too many dogs, and WHY are there a drill press and air compressor in the foyer? (Because it’s too hard to get down to the shop these days.)

    Could the original image survive the visit, leaving the original feelings and respect intact? I frankly doubt it, because we all form these initial, physically uninformed versions of the truth according to our own preferences. It’s the top of a hill, and any direction is a compass course, and DOWN.

    I could turn to other forms of social media and post both pictures and personal statuses, to offer a more complete picture, but I have neither the time nor the energy. Nor, it must be said, the inclination.

    Is that omission a form of insincerity? Do I have an obligation, having put my name and heart into the public eye, to be a ‘compleat manne’?”

    I don’t know, and would love to hear your opinion, Beth.

    • June 19, 2015, 9:16 pm   /  Reply

      I apologize for the delay in responding, Andrew. Today was Preferred Reader day — my 3 readers came and we sat and discussed my latest manuscript, from 10 AM until 3:30. Well, we did stop to enjoy takeout from a local Thai restaurant.
      Anyway: I do not think that not disclosing all of who we are makes us insincere. There is a “getting to know you” aspect to all relationships — often referred to as peeling back the layers. There is no way you can know all of me — nor see beind my blog posts into my disordered office (unless I post a photo, which I have done upon occasion). And I have thought about writing a post about a part of my life I keep hidden — literally and figuratively — to be more honest. More sincere. But not having shared that yet doesn’t make me less sincere — it just means I am building a relationsip with my blog readers. And that takes time. And timing.

  2. June 19, 2015, 6:24 am   /  Reply

    And you have a husband who has to be more handsome and who radiates Jesus and your home and lives together are trophies declaring Him. It doesn’t get better than that. Sincere from Latin literally means without wax. Was was sometimes used to hide flaws in ceramic vessels, but of course melted in heat to show the cracks. Interesting concept., & I may blog on that, come to think of it.

    • June 19, 2015, 9:17 pm   /  Reply

      Ah, Dee. I should have known I could count on you. I kept thinking: There’s something about vases or vessels or jars and cracks and the word sincere … and there you go, knowing exactly what I couldn’t quite recall!

  3. June 19, 2015, 8:42 am   /  Reply

    Interesting concept. Not totally sure I agree. It takes more energy to dig deep and come up with sincerety sometimes…like when a friend asks if a dress makes her look fat. So easy to say, no, it’s fine. Or to judge a writing contest and make a score just high enough that you don’t have to give a comment. To give the correct score means you have to dig inside yourself to give an honest answer. I hope that I always do that.

    • June 19, 2015, 9:19 pm   /  Reply

      I see what you’re saying, Pat, but I also think there’s a freedom, an ability to breathe, that comes with sincerity, that makes it easier than insincerity. Hmmm … interesting thought to toss back and forth.

  4. Gail Hollingsworth
    June 19, 2015, 12:03 pm   /  Reply

    I’ve found the older I get (and I just turned 61, and proud of it after having cancer) it is easier to be sincere. There’s no pretense. We don’t have to prove anything to anyone. And a close second is doing what I say I’m going to do (grandkids can really call you out on that!). Too many people lately have told me they are going to do something only to not follow through. That totally turns me off.

    • June 19, 2015, 12:12 pm   /  Reply

      Hey, congratulations on being a survivor!!!!!

      I used to get very annoyed by people who promised and didn’t deliver, but then tried to teach myself to think of their intentions and heart as being in the right place…and that practicality overwhelmed them. Made it easier for me, and I could keep the friendships and accept their ‘promises’, with the knowledge that I’d end up doing what they said they’d do, anyway.

      Funny thing was, when I started doing this a couple of these folks actually got more reliable.

    • June 19, 2015, 9:20 pm   /  Reply

      Brava, Gail, on conquering cancer! And yes, we always tried to teach our children “Let your yes be yes and let your no be no” — and they certainly held us to that standard as parents.

  5. June 19, 2015, 12:57 pm   /  Reply

    Oooh, I like “pretense is intense.” Simple sayings help me keep life in perspective.

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