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Sincerity is undervalued. It is undervalued because we misperceive that it is oversupplied. This is because the sincere speaker mistakes sincerity for two things: criticism and venting. Those that hear sincerity know that it’s often a fig leaf to vent negative feelings.

A sincere purveyor of sincerity is not entitled to an unfettered podium. Sincerity should not convey just criticism and anger. If anything, it seems incumbent that the sincere speaker recognises the positive attributes he appreciates as well as the negative consequences he deprecates, applaud the efforts of those before, and identify where he might make a step further in the right direction. This must be alongside a recognition of the emotional importance of the journey (we don’t’ get angry or frustrated about things that don’t matter). 

We would all be poorer when, if we asked for sincerity, all we received were tactful words. Sincerity imbues a clarity hidden in tact’s obfuscations. Sincerity conveys the emotions felt, that are scrubbed by tact’s neutrality. Sincerity highlights an engaged participant, tact highlights a dispassionate professional. Sincerity trusts that the hearer can hear the truth woven inside words, tact is a presumption that the listener will spurn truth and hear only the words said.

We all know people for whom our default mode of interaction is ‘tactful’. They are too sensitive, sheltered, privileged or protected to be subject to any mention of our perceptions. Information gets massaged, spun, managed and filtered until the end product is comfortably digested.

Once we deem someone incapable of hearing a sincere voice, we do them a great disservice. It is a step, no matter how prudent, that we should be hesitant to take. If we are worried about the message, and its reception, we should pay careful attention to how we will deliver the message. In deciding how to deliver it, we should not loose sight of the importance of sincerity: the trust that in speaking fairly and frankly we may hope for ourselves an equally gracious reception.

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