Second in the series of personal characteristics posts. In case you missed it, the first was Spontaneity.
Sincerity is something our society finds hard to deal with, and something I personally have trouble with. The problem is this: offer someone something sincerely meant, and they’ll brush it off, try to diminish its significance. And not only the receiver, but the offerer too will try to take as much serious-ness out of what they are saying. Because our society just doesn’t use it anymore.
So, first off, I’m not talking about sincerity as in “telling the truth” or even in avoiding white lies. I consider myself a very moral, truthful person…and that doesn’t stop me from telling white lies anyway. In any case, that’s not related to this post; the subject here is a more original form of sincerity; “without wax”.
No, with today’s society, it’s hard to communicate any sort of sincere, selfless emotion. A surface example is when a friend asks his girlfriend to go with him to prom (or vice versa), both the guy and the girl should immediately expect any nearby friends to go “Awwww….” in the funny-and-nonserious way that we all know and love/hate. It may be socially accepted, it may be funny, it may even be perfectly fine (being socially accepted is certainly not equivalent), but it does take most of the seriousness and sincerity out of the situation. Generally both the asker and the person being asked end up feeling embarassed…because of a sincere display. Why?
It goes deeper than that, though. As a teenager in today’s society (and probably more so as a male, even a decidedly non-stereotypical one), I “can’t” say I care about someone, can’t say I miss them, can’t say I want to see them again, even in a private e-mail to them. Because it doesn’t fit my persona. The exception to this rule is if I remove the sincerity and seriousness from it, by adding something like “…and everyone else back at CHS, of course.” Nothing personal, see?
I really can’t blame it all on society, because it is the persona I made for myself and I feel like I have more personal control over my persona than many people I know. But really, why can’t I say “I miss you”, “I care about you” to one of my friends? Does it matter that if it’s a he or she? I don’t miss them or care about them romantically, but the “chaste-and-platonic” form of the feeling is still there.
For me, it’s gotten pretty bad. Today I helped someone out and she said “Thanks for the help.” Not even “Thank you”, just “Thanks”. And I answered the only thing I could, an apology that I couldn’t help her with something else. Now, partially this is my own modesty (also more active in me than in a lot of people), but it’s linked to this problem because gratitude is a sincere emotion…and it embarasses people to receive it, not just show it. This case wasn’t so bad, but…“You’re welcome” seems really formal. “No problem” and “Yeah, sure” have the same problem. Why can’t I/we have a way to accept the fact that I/we helped them and that they are grateful? Especially if they are grateful for something serious and real?
This post comes out sounding a lot like the angsty rants I said Chigaijin would never have, way back when. But it’s really meant as a sort of public service announcement, something for people to think about and realize about their own personae. Accept sincerity, and give it in return, because it can mean a lot to people. Even if their own filters won’t let them acknowledge it. And I have to take this advice as much as anyone reading this.
I’m going to close this post with a note, that not everyone I know really has this problem. There is one person in particular who I know (no names) who is one of the few people I’d actually describe as sincere; it’s a core part of her personality. Sincerity might make her more vulnerable sometimes, but it makes her a better person, and I’m really, sincerely glad she’s my friend.