I’ve just had a realization about most of the relationships I’ve experienced so far, and why I’ve often struggled with them. I’m deeply honest and sincere, and while that may seem like a virtue, in many relationships (that I’ve experienced) that’s actually something people are afraid of. That doesn’t mean it’s wrong for me to be sincere, but that I’m just not around like-minded (or ‘like-hearted’) people.
For example, I understand that people are going to be self-interested; I believe in that, actually. However, let’s say someone in a (romantic) relationship with me says they would be happier by ending the relationship–I genuinely support that–but what I don’t support is not being honest and up-front about it, and basically making me the bad guy in order to have an excuse to break up. Or maybe someone is talking about improving their life in some way; I wholeheartedly care and want them to do it, and I want to support them in whatever way I’m able to.
What I don’t like (or understand) is when I’m talking about improving my life–or being honest and sincere with someone–and I’m met with disinterest, falseness, or even passive-aggressiveness. Because I very much want to get along with people, I used to contort myself in all sorts of ways that ultimately left me feeling depressed. Now, instead of beating up and betraying myself, I choose to stand by my values and attract people who value the same things as I do.
This post was a draft I saved three years ago and hadn’t looked at since. After re-reading it this morning, I thought it deserved to be published. I’m not even sure where I got the beautiful picture of the lions from (let me know and I’ll credit the photographer).
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This week, I wrote about living in good faith vs. self-deception. I practice living in good faith by being honest with myself, acknowledging what I’m thinking and feeling, writing down my thoughts and doing my best to clearly articulate them, rather than habitually passing judgment on myself, avoiding, suppressing, or running away from what I’m thinking and feeling. I believe this builds self-acceptance and self-trust, and it’s an ongoing process (as with most things that are important). If we lack integrity with ourselves, we will lack integrity with others.
Then I wrote about dealing with emotional flare ups, which is also part of living in good faith. I’ve been learning to accept that my emotions are a legitimate part of who I am, and that respecting them is important. Gentleness is a virtue, although this goes against certain ingrained habits I have that want to ignore or power through emotions I don’t like. This causes inner conflict, and I’d rather have inner peace. However, peace requires work and the courage to live in good faith.
When we practice self-honesty and self-acceptance, we can then move on to having self-empathy, which is a genuine ability to relate to ourselves as a true friend. All of this builds inner strength, which is needed in order to live on purpose.
My daily intention is to cut through all the BS (and there’s a lot of it) so that I’m aligned with my True Self, which is about being who I really am, and doing what I’m really here to do. That may sound like a serious way to live–and sometimes it is–but I think of it as being passionate, soulful, and truthful, which is, to me, a great way to live.
Getting Better, Man is a blog about my life and my thoughts (about aforementioned life), and it’s also about self-improvement. I see life and self-improvement as concurrent journeys that I’m on, and I assume others are on, too. Sometimes it’s good to clarify this kind of thing.
I often think about virtue, and what it means to be virtuous. Being virtuous feels good and fulfilling to me, but like food, everyone has different tastes (and digestive systems). You can’t force virtue down people’s throats.
For me, the backbone of virtue is integrity, and integrity is composed of principles. I choose to define the principles I live by, some of which go along with others, but these days I find myself walking my own path more and more. I’m devoted and loyal to who I truly am.
I’m getting “hits of clarity” that expand my awareness and consciousness. I know that however I arrive at truth, it’s what I want. I want to live a real life; I want to talk to God; I want to have a soul; I want to be in love; I want to be who I am.
For me, the opposite of sincerity isn’t so much insincerity, as much as it is hypocrisy. I have a visceral and almost violent reaction to hypocrisy. It makes my blood boil. Much of my inner conflict has been about how to be sincere. Right or wrong, my actions have been from wanting to be loyal and virtuous, but I now realize that it’s not up to me whether anyone else is sincere or not.
When confusion and craziness is in the air, the best thing to do is go for what’s simple and true. No pretenses, no ass-kissing, no bullshit. That doesn’t mean being a jerk, but you really have to look at yourself and decide who you are and what you’re about. Do your sincere best, and let the cream rise to the top.
I believe that life favors the sincere and virtuous. I think humility is a virtue, and for me it means being sincere and virtuous because it’s right (in alignment with my True Self) and when I see the opposite of sincerity and virtue, the right thing to do is to allow people to figure it out for themselves (which is being humble about it rather than pointing out their faults).
I’ve yet to see a fault in another person that I couldn’t say was also true of myself, and this awareness helps me to keep quiet.
Being sincere and virtuous isn’t about being a goody-goody. I’ve found that trying to be “good” is often based upon fear.
Sincerity is defined as the quality of being free from pretense, deceit, or hypocrisy. I value that, although if taken too far it turns into insincerity.
Virtuous is defined as having high moral standards, and this is where I’ve really explored life to see exactly what “morals” are supposed to be. Right and wrong, good and bad, etc. These are accusations and judgments that we throw around like weapons.
Maybe it’s the usage of the phrase “high moral standards” that creates a false dichotomy. It implies that there are “low moral standards”, and it’s usually the people who are doing things we don’t agree with that have the low kind of moral standards. That kind of attitude could be called self-righteousness.
What if being virtuous simply means that you have moral standards; neither high or low? That implies that you’re clear about what your morals are (what’s right and wrong for you), and you follow them.
I’m getting some r&r after a vigorous day of moving. I’ve got my own room and bathroom, which is great, and the new apartment is quite an improvement over the previous one. There’s positive energy flowing. I’m going to sleep well tonight.
99% of the stuff we’re moving is my parents’ (they sure have a bunch of stuff). I threw out most of my things when I moved in with them a few months ago. I currently have few material possessions, but I like traveling light. I have what I need to do my work. I’m not sure how long I’ll stay here, but for now I appreciate having a home.
I’m better off now than I was before. I’m doing my best to be sincere and virtuous, and that counts for something. Even though there are sad moments, I know I’m on the right path, and every day is an adventure.