Daily Beauty, Day # 13: Self

Something that I think about often is the importance of sincerity.

What does it  mean to be sincere? Personally, I would describe sincerity as a quality like to honesty and truthfulness. I would say that sincerity is unlike, or indeed the opposite of, falsity or fake-ness. But sincerity is about more than telling the truth instead of telling lies. Real sincerity involves a disposition: an openness and honesty of self, a willingness to present what is real without pretensions.

Perhaps we do mean what we say and we do try to be open and honest with others. But maybe, there are parts of our selves that we’d prefer to keep hidden. There are parts of our selves that we are ashamed to show to others, parts that compose the very core of who we are, and yet we’d rather those around us didn’t see them.

Isn’t there a sense of “other-ness” that we all experience? When I say this, I’m referring to the sensation, or even the idea, that we are being watched, that the “other” is involved in an experience that is deeply intimate or personal. Bring to mind a time when you were walking on your own, alone and unseen. How does this moment change when there are others around you? Even if what you are doing is as simple as walking from one point to the next, the experience is somehow transformed. We know that someone else is watching, and implicitly we yearn for their approval. We alter our behaviour ever so slightly and our actions become self-conscious.

I think this is something that we all experience. We act differently around different people. We have different comfort levels for different contexts and situations. But when this mask begins to become too thick, when we pour so much into how we will seem, this semblance of our self may become who we really are. If we separate our selves from how we appear, we might lose our true self in the process.

I think that beauty lies in the pure, unafraid and unashamed giving of the self. I almost used the word presentation instead of the word giving, but then I realized that this slight difference would completely contradict the point I am trying to make. True self is not a presentation at all. And now that I think about it, it is not only a giving either. True self is about being. It is not about planning or attempting to control how the world sees us. It simply is. True self, true sincerity is detached from the expectations and judgements of others, and attached only to the One who poured this self into our being.

Living with sincerity is certainly not easy. In fact, we may always struggle at times to remove pretensions of the self. But I think that there is beauty in those moments when all that matters are the words of Truth and Life… not the words of the world, but the words that tell us we are worthy and that our self was created uniquely for a special purpose, words of unwavering acceptance and unending, unconditional love. Words of beauty.

These are the words we should listen to.