Sincericide: Being Sincere Is Not Always the Right Thing

· September 10, 2017

All of us, at some point during the day, say something that’s not entirely sincere, and we know it. A lie or lack of honesty serves to protect us from what could happen. If we interpret that something harmful is going to happen, we tend to distort the truth in our favor. This way, we safeguard our self-esteem or liberate ourselves from the possible negative consequences.

They say that being sincere doesn’t mean saying everything that comes to mind. It means not ever saying the opposite of what you think. 

But the main cause of a lack of sincerity is not always fear. Compassion for others can make us sometimes opt for a little white lie. This type of lie is mild, barely even important and doesn’t last too long. It can come in handy and even be beneficial for everyone, because it prevents greater unnecessary conflicts.

We’re not trying to defend lying. But we do want to convey the idea that being sincere, all the time with everyone no matter what, is also not the best idea. Unless we’re looking to get into some tense situations.

Be sincere or be impolite?

Psychologists have adopted the term, in a joking manner, of sincericide in order to define the behavior of a person who believes themselves honest and brave and is therefore sincere to others. They have no filter of any kind, when maybe others haven’t even asked for their opinion. This new word refers to a suicide- in an abstract way- due to being overzealous with the truth.

couple arguing

This act tends to be seen as something inconsiderate, tactless and verbally irresponsible. Sincericide ends up developing conflicts in its surroundings. It can seem like impolite behavior, and it could certainly be considered as such.

In order to not be on everybody’s bad side, the ideal thing would be to previously evaluate what we’re going to say. Calculate if the person who is going to receive the message is prepared to digest it emotionally.

Being sincere is not always a virtue, since education and respect should always come first. Even more so if we’re going to express something that isn’t useful or interesting for anyone. Spitting out everything that pops into your head is a sign of social immaturity, of not conforming to the rules of the game.

How many of us haven’t been briefly bothered by someone telling us that we’re not wearing the best outfit or that they’ve seen our ex with another person? However, finding the opportune context and moment and knowing how to hold back, becomes a virtue that we should know how to value. There are certain comments that are simply unnecessary or which can be said in other circumstances. 

Being sincere by sugarcoating the truth

We all have the right to know the truth, but we also have the right to set our own limits to this knowledge. The ideal thing is for us, as adults, to be emotionally strong and accept the discomforts of life. This way, we’ll be able to take action from a fair position.

The problem is that the truth, in certain occasions, can truly hurt a lot. Not everyone is prepared to receive certain news of a very negative or dramatic nature.

friends talking

Imagine that you’ve been diagnosed with a serious illness, would you like to know if you’re going to die? Would you prefer that the truth remain hidden or would you want to know how much time you have left? How would you like to receive these bad news?

As we’ve already mentioned, it’s good for us to train ourselves in order to be able to face everything life throws our way. But it’s not any less true that sometimes it’s better for the truth to be sugarcoated. The same way that we do it for others in order to regulate the impact of our messages.

If we’re capable of showing empathy for the other person, we’ll be cautious enough to not harm them. We’ll find the correct words, as long as we don’t say the complete opposite of the truth.

The art of honesty

Being sincere without turning it into sincericide is an art. It implies putting yourself in the other person’s place, knowing if the circumstances are optimal for them to receive the truth. Furthermore, using the appropriate verbal and nonverbal tools is key.

The psychologist Rafael Santangreu says that in order to be at ease with yourself, you always have to tell the truth. But, the same doesn’t hold true for others. That is to say, we shouldn’t self-sugarcoat the truth we already know, because we fall into self-deceit. This doesn’t allow us to confront life in a satisfactory way.

It’s important for us to be careful between telling the truth and giving excessive criticism. It’s not the same to say something truthful like “You haven’t had a very good session with your patient.” than saying “You’re a horrible psychologist, you should just drop this profession forever.”

Committing sincericide with ourselves is also not the best of options. As it applies to every other part of life, virtue can be found in the point of balance