“Honesty of mind or intention, freedom from hypocrisy, pure, real, genuine.” These are the deﬁ nitions of this chapter’s title according to Webster’s Dictionary. This is one of my personal favorite words, or should I say its meanings. The practice of sincere actions and/or intentions is one of our most troubled areas these days. Think about all that can and does exist in the absence of this perfect principle. Dishonesty, intentional misrepresentation, greed, ego and a complete lack of The Golden Rule. We all know of the unfortunate existence of insincerity in our world. Our public sectors are so entrenched in the insincere acts of its participants that it has become no surprise when we hear of another scandal. The private sector also has its share of selﬁ sh abusers. So what do we do about it? How can we create an overall environment in which we stop abusing our fellow human beings for our own illusion of gain? That’s right; it is an illusion. Although a temporary manifestation of increase may be realized, it comes with a heavy price. Remember back in school,
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there was that class that was very difﬁ cult. Did you ever cheat? Even just a little? If you were like most kids, you did, if only in a minor sense. Assuming you “got away with it”, your grade on that test was higher than it would have been otherwise. For those of you “straight A” students who were always ahead of the game, please try and imagine the emotion involved with the act of this analogy. I will tell you I was a “B/C” student with the occasional “A” in my strong subject matter classes. Although not often, I did cheat a time or two. The manifestation of the higher grade was accomplished, but I suffered on the inside. My excuse? I was a confused kid with little conﬁ dence or self-esteem. Just prior to, and during the act of cheating on that test, I would feel stress and worry. Stress came from many angles but I believe the hardest form was my disappointment in myself. Worry, was directly related to getting caught. After the test was ﬁ nished and I didn’t get caught, I remember the absence of pride. That test was not something I wanted to hold up and brag about, I just wanted to forget it. Of course as a teenager I could just about justify anything, so I’m sure I came up with the reason why I did it in order to let myself off the hook. Sound familiar to any of you? In all fairness, I did not have a good foundation at home. Life for me as a young person was very difﬁ cult. On a ﬁ nal note to this analogy, the only real damage that I caused was to myself. I did not cheat on that test in order to hurt anyone else, and I’m sure I found a way to justify what I was doing to myself. As an adult, I do not ever intentionally abuse anyone. It is simply not in my makeup to willingly hurt anyone. However, I have, on occasion been involved with others being hurt. The large majority of you reading this have also been involved in the discomfort of others. For myself, I can say, that while my words and/or actions may
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have been unwelcomed by others from time to time, my intentions were sincere. If we coexist routinely with other people, there will be those times when someone is not in agreement with your words and/or actions. There will also be those times when a judgment is cast at you, or you are directly blamed for someone else’s issue. Whether or not it is true is not the point of this discussion. The topic of this chapter’s discussion is sincerity. What matters is what the motives of your words and/or actions were. What were your intentions? If you are like me, and I believe the vast majority of all people, you do not ever have a premeditated plan to hurt someone. It may happen, but you did not mean for it to. I will also take this opportunity to say that nobody, at any time, is a complete victim. At some level, we all have a hand in each and every experience we encounter. However, at the conscious physical level there are certainly instances in which we can be victimized without our conscious awareness that it is going to happen. Unfortunately, there are those in our population who do in fact intend to hurt others. In many cases, they are subconsciously trying to hurt themselves. This segment of our population represents a very small percentage, but nonetheless is something we all must deal with. As mentioned before, by far the largest percentage of people are very well intentioned. Take some time and consider your own level of sincerity in your day-to-day activities. Only now include your intentions and actions toward yourself. Are you always honest with yourself? Do you keep your own agreements with yourself? Do you allow yourself to have fun? I have spent a signiﬁ cant amount of time thus far in this chapter talking about our sincerity outwardly, towards others. Although this is extremely important, I would now like to examine our
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inward sincerity. This type of open examination may be difﬁ cult for some of you. For many years, this was something I regularly avoided. In my mind, I came last. You see, I have had an issue with “deserving” for nearly all my life. Stemmed from a childhood of turmoil and violent abuse by my father toward my mother, I grew up with problems and struggle as my normal. For much of my life I have been very insincere with myself. As I’ve stated previously, I “heard” my intuitive thoughts and feelings often, but “listened” to them rarely. This is all very important for you to understand. To embark on a new path in which you will come to “listen” to the goodness that is continuously being shown and communicated to you by your higher energies you must ﬁ rst believe you are worthy. You must know that you are deserving. You must be sincere with yourself. If you are “putting on a show” for the outside world to see, please ask yourself what you are afraid of? Pretend you are a “third party” and step out of yourself, so that you may look back at yourself from a distance. Openly and objectively look and listen to your actions, words, attitude, disposition, presentation, everything. What do you see? What do you hear? Is there something you do not wish to observe? If so, why? Let me tell you something right now, straight up! If you are reading these books, and obviously you are, you are searching. That is great! The simple fact that you are putting forth this effort to understand human nature better is a statement of your desire to improve. Regardless of your past, or status, or ﬁ nancial worth, or where you live, or what you drive, or how you dress, or your job title, or anything else on the outside, you are a person who deserves to know and feel the good things in life! Peace and inner contentment cannot be bought. If you identify areas in your life in which you would like to improve, you must start with you.
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To attempt to change the outside world to respond to your wishes will result in frustration. You can change and control only you. So if, in fact, you are “putting on a show”, please consider instead being who you really are. People who are, or will become, your true friends and/or partners will like you in your true sincere state. As you honestly admit to yourself who and what you really are, you will then be able to relax. It takes no effort to be you in your natural ways. Tremendous effort is required to wear a mask. Only when we can be sincere with ourselves, can we then be sincere towards others. It must happen in this order. There is an old saying that directly relates to this topic, “The world judges you by your actions, not your words.” At this point, it might seem contradictory to hear that your words are subordinate to your actions. If you stop with only a direct comparison of words and actions, then this old saying would, in fact, be contradictory to our suggestion thus far in this chapter. However, there is more to it than a simple choice of what is more important – words or actions. The sincerity that accompanies your delivered words is the deciding factor. Let’s consider a couple of examples to show a contrast. Mr. X is a man who approaches the world with a somewhat calm demeanor. He is middle aged and well known in his community. His kids are young adults pursuing their own careers. His marital status is irrelevant, so you can decide. He has a career and has a good deal of friends. Although he has many friends, he is actually somewhat anti-social. He likes people and enjoys helping others; however, he simply does not involve himself in crowds or other social gatherings. Mr. X has, in the past, made verbal commitments and/ or statements that later did not materialize as he stated. For an array of reasons that were unknown to him at the time, or
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due to outside inﬂ uences he could not control, on occasion he would ﬁ nd himself unable or unwilling to follow through in action with things he had said earlier. Although he did not intentionally try to mislead anyone for his own gain, there were times he was judged and even accused of doing so. Now let’s move to Mr. Z. He is also middle aged with grown kids and a good career. Marital status is also irrelevant. Sadly, this man has earned a few “nicknames” over the years that suggest he exaggerates, or maybe even makes up stories. He is not shy and will let you know of his expertise on seemingly any subject. Although he is a relatively good guy, with what appears to be many friends, you just don’t quite know if you believe everything that he says. Likewise, when Mr. Z ﬁ nds himself being judged and even accused of misleading someone, he is very quick to justify his reason. He denies and/or defends his earlier words. Now ask yourself is Mr. X or Mr. Z more reliable? More accountable? Which one is more conﬁ dent with themselves? Which one would you want to do business with? Both have appeared to the outside world as to have performed actions that did not always coincide with their earlier words. I believe most of you (if not all) would prefer to trust the ﬁ rst guy, Mr. X. Why? Because of the differences in their sincerity. Both said things. Both did things. Both were judged by others. When Mr. X said something, he truly meant it at the time, with the information he had at that point in time. When his actions revealed a different result at a later date, he stated his honest, known reasons when asked. He did not deny or defend his earlier words. He simply would say; “That is what I said then and I was mistaken”. Or, “I said this, however, what I learned or came to realize later was that.” In this regard, Mr. X does not avoid the truth as he knows it. However, Mr. Z does not know how to admit a mistake. He also goes out of his
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way to explain his qualiﬁ cations. He may either completely deny he had said those words, or may say he meant something totally different. In any case, you will rarely (if ever) hear Mr. Z concede to any wrong doing or exaggeration in his words. I have described for you, in these two very different men, a large contrast in their approach to sincerity. Obviously Mr. X (the ﬁ rst guy) made mistakes, but he always began with sincere words and an honest approach. On the other hand, Mr. Z (the second guy) is battling a low self-esteem and has a priority structure which dictates that he continuously and synthetically try to lift his image. His words greatly lack in sincerity. He justiﬁ es with the mistakes and/or misunderstandings being those of other people’s responsibilities. It is never his fault because he can’t be wrong. So now, let’s revisit the saying “the world judges you by your actions, not your words”. If the “world” in this statement is people who do not know you well or your history, then it can be very easy to have judgments cast at you that are naïve and lacking in true reason. However, to those who really know you, they will not cast judgments at your actions without also knowing your intentions. As human beings, we are not perfect or without error, yet many times “error” is an illusion. What may be considered an error to some, will not be to others. If each one of us approaches our relationships and our endeavors with others by “listening” to our heart, and by inserting The Golden Rule, “Treat others as you wish to be treated,” the produced result will be true sincerity. Then, when future actions differ from previous words, a much more mature and mutually beneﬁ cial resolution can be pursued. When all parties involved are sincere in their efforts, trust is not in question. All of the focus can be on moving forward without doubt of motivation.
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Remember, it starts with you. The universal energies are like a boomerang. What you throw out will eventually return to you in some way. Commit to yourself to be very sincere in your relationship with yourself ﬁ rst, and then with all others. You will truly cherish how this will feel.
Excerpted from "20/20 Listening" by Joe Gwerder. Copyright © 0 by Joe Gwerder. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.