If I learnt something today, it’s that honesty and sincerity are actually very different things. They often go together, and we hope beyond hope to receive them from others, and they possibly are two of the key fundamental essentials in any relationship (lovers or friends), well, the real ones worth keeping anyways.
The word Honesty comes from the Latin word “honestus”, which means “honourable”. It’s about integrity, and not being deceptive or fraudulent. It’s about being upright and aboveboard, and not hiding information, or leading someone on to believe something that isn’t true. It’s about showing your hand.
Honesty is important because it ties in so closely with trust. And trust is one of the building blocks of any relationship, without which, well, you can forget about it lasting.
I’ve always treasured honesty. The thing about dishonesty, is, well, once you’re dishonest, even once, you’re always going to be maybe dishonest. But it’s hard to find people who are completely honest. And it’s even harder to find people with whom you can allow yourself to be completely honest.
So naturally, when you do, you hold on to such relationships. Like the last vestige or purity and innocence still left in this lying, deceptive world. Like an oasis of hope and kindness in a cracked up desert of selfishness.
Except, the thing about the truth, is that sometimes, you can’t handle the truth. When the truth isn’t what you want to hear. When the truth is something that you can’t accept. When the truth is something that goes against everything you’ve ever known, that challenges you in ways you’re not even sure you want to be challenged, and that bores right into your soul and stabs you deep within so you can’t even pull it out. Yep, sometimes the truth hurts.
And therein lies this tricky loophole about honesty. Honesty can hurt. And honesty can be rejected.
What about sincerity, then?
The word Sincerity comes from the Latin word “sincerus”, which means “pure” or “clean”. It presents the quality of being genuine, not feigned, without hypocrisy or pretense.
Being genuine with another person is probably one of the toughest things to do with another person. Because half the time, the trouble is we are hardly even genuine with ourselves.
I’ve been down that road before, and it’s a slippery path. Just as much as you can turn your attitude into a positive one by repeating motivational mantras to yourself, tell yourself a lie often enough and you’ll start to believe it too.
Truth is a little easier to detect in sincerity though. Sincerity in words is usually accompanied by an earnestness, an eager longing to please, and sometimes, a little uncertainty. And sincere actions, well, they speak volumes on their own.
The difference, I think, is that you can be honest without being sincere, but it’ll be harder to be sincere without being honest. And you could also be perfect dishonest about your sincerity. (Why, I wouldn’t know.) Although, that having been said, sincerity is the basis of the white lie. And well, truth be told, one could also be sincerely dishonest!
Ideally, we’d want both honesty and sincerity to be found together. But if you had to choose only one, would you choose honesty, or sincerity? To receive from others, or to be?