Keeping Confidences – A Perspective on Sincerity

For as long as I can remember, people have come to me to complain, get advice on situations, or vent their frustrations. Those conversations never leave my confidences. I’ve never appreciated gossip as I’ve seen it as a lack of character.

This has me thinking about what it means to have sincerity. What does it mean in a technical term and what does to mean to me as a personality trait? Webster’s dictionary tells me sincerity is “honesty of mind: freedom from hypocrisy”. It tells me that I have to be honest with myself before I can be honest with others.

One way I can find this out is by doing an honest self-evaluation, stop comparing myself to others, and figure out what I want from my life outside the considerations of others. Then sticking to it. It’s a work in progress.

At its core, sincerity is a product or reflection of yourself. It shows how you speak to people, builds trust and confidence in your character.

Gossip and Keeping Confidences

Avoiding gossip

Gossip can be a form of theft. You take someone’s trust and use it for your purposes. I like to think we aren’t the people that steal other peoples lunches from the refrigerator. I wouldn’t walk into your home and take a chefs knife because I liked it.

So why would taking someone’s information and telling it for some personal gain be any different?

We all know a gossiper. When we talk to this person we have to make measured comments and responses because we know that whatever we say will be circulated. We hear them talk about other people behind their backs and I wonder what they say about me when I’m not around.

It’s not a fair situation for that other person or us, not having an opportunity to defend or explain what was said. Maybe there’s a context that’s not explained or a misunderstanding in the interpretation that changes the comment. Who wants to stake their reputation on the words of a gossiper.

I don’t understand how people do this but they do but conversations become richer when you can talk to a person and know what you say is safe.

Keeping Confidences

There may be times when someone tells you something in confidence we may have to act on it. If I don’t know if something should be shared I think of these questions: is the information true? Is the information important? Who does this impact? What happens if I do nothing?

If I conclude telling the conversation is important then I use discretion in relaying information. Most times this doesn’t happen and I keep the information to myself. People may ask me questions regarding what I know but I’ll always say if you want to know something, go to the source.

Lying

I remember a quote, I’m not sure where it came from, but they said lies are the things we wish were true. Maybe there is truth to that. We lie to protect ourselves from the truth, to protect others from the truth, or for some people because it’s what they do.

Lying can be to rationalize, especially when telling the truth will bring us negative consequences. To be a better person we must face what’s try and work towards complete honesty.

When we start telling small lies, lies about what we did on vacation, lies about why you don’t want to go somewhere or do something, it becomes easier to rationalize the bigger ones.

If we strive to be honest and are caught in a lie, it will bring doubt into people’s minds and they will question both your past actions and your future statements. Our integrity and trustworthiness can be lost.

Final Thoughts

We need to use judgment and discretion when relaying confided information.

P.S.

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