The word, “sincerity”: we use this word and its derivatives a lot in our daily language, don’t we? “I sincerely mean it”; or, when closing a letter we often write, “Sincerely”. It’s almost as if we feel the need to prove our honesty or truth with regard to what we are saying to others.
I have a little ‘game’ I play when I see a photograph (or in person) of someone smiling. If you take a really good look at their eyes, nine times out of ten you can actually ‘see’ if their smile is sincere or simply forced (or fake). When I began to notice this phenomenon, it took me by surprise. By all accounts we take it for granted that when someone is smiling, they are happy, or at the very least, genuine in how they feel at that moment. Sometimes the eyes so blatantly speak of insincerity that I want to say to the person, “You aren’t fooling anyone; I think it would be much better if you simply didn’t smile at all!” At the very least sincerity wouldn’t be feigned. I have much more respect for someone who does not attempt to fake a grin, don’t you? Their mouth is open showing off their shiny and bright white teeth, yet their eyes are saying something altogether different.
I’m sorry, Brittany Spears; unfortunately, your smile in this photo is my textbook example of a smile which is frightfully forced.
I had an experience not too long ago whereby the person I was speaking with was sporting the “pretend smiley face”, but their eyes showed me their sincerity had been dropped off at the door. And what does that convey to the receiver of such disingenuous grins? It says a lot, really. At times perhaps we think, oh gee, why isn’t this person being ‘real’ with me? Do I give a certain kind of impression so as to illicit such a response from this insincere soul? The answer is always the same: It is never you who induces insincerity from others. It is always a form of the person’s feeling a ‘lack’ of something. Perhaps the feeling is a lack of self-esteem, or true happiness. The person does not like who they are, so they create a persona that captures the essence of who they ‘think’ they wish there were. But it does not go unnoticed, does it? Faking sincerity is a telltale sign of how a person really feels about themselves. Maybe the ‘real’ them does show up in a smile now and again; however, the insincere smile is always indicative of ‘lack’ in some form or another.
At times we deal with an extraordinarily insincere sales person who, by all accounts, will change on a dime (pun intended) should we altogether decline to purchase whatever it is they are selling. The initial grinned greeting will disappear as fast as it initially showed itself. If you want me to buy something, at the very least be cordial, but don’t pretend you are now my best buddy because I agreed to purchase this Mixmaster Blender from you!
“To Thine Own Self Be True”; Shakespeare was on point when he coined this phrase. To me, this means expressing your sincere being. The saying, “You catch more flies with honey” might ring true, except when the honey is “artificial” and not sincerely made by the sweet honey bee!