Sincerity is a direct expression of experienced thoughts, attitudes, emotional states. This concept is used to characterize an individual act or established relationships. For example, they talk about sincere beliefs, interest, joy, love, friendship. In a broad sense, the concept of sincerity is applicable as a synonym for honesty, openness and directness, in a narrow sense to indicate congruence, authenticity. These terms are associated with the description of the state and behavior in which the thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and external manifestations of a person are consistent, inconsistent.

What is sincerity

Every individual encounters in life with personalities that can be called sincere and here, more often than not, there are positive connotations. We rarely talk about sincerity implying the expression of negative emotions, which, of course, can also be unmasked, undistorted expressions experienced. This is due to the fact that sincerity as a concept has an estimated value, since it arose in the context of everyday life to describe the characteristics of a person that are significant for the environment.

When one implies that someone is sincere, it gives an idea that the person is telling the truth, as well as a number of positive moral qualities. Within the framework of academic psychology, this concept is more often used as an auxiliary because it is firmly linked with a positive assessment of the whole person’s personality, which is rarely convenient for research purposes.

In psychotherapy and psychology there are branches, for which the concept of sincerity in its positive sense is the key. They are credited with a positive, humanistic, existential psychology, client-centered psychotherapy. The emphasis in these approaches is on the possibility of a positive development of a person’s personality, on the assumption that there is an inherent and universal human desire for development, self-improvement, and a harmonious state. In this understanding, to be sincere means to conform to oneself in all its manifestations, while having in mind the benefit of other people. And the lack of desire to use the vulnerability or the needs of others, honest interaction with them, directed by interest in communication and understanding of what is happening, called a sincere attitude. At the same time, insincere behavior is not necessarily manipulative or detrimental;

Sincerity in relationship

What is sincerity in a relationship can be characterized by how this relationship is experienced and supported by its participants. It was mentioned above that a sincere relationship is associated with a certain disinterestedness, which means that everything that arises in a relationship is experienced and expressed directly. If a person enters into a relationship without pursuing side objectives, without having a material or moral interest, then his attitude towards the partner can be called sincere, but the established relationship itself will be sincere only if both partners behave openly. It is often said that sincerity, rather a trait of a person, manifests itself in all situations in which he participates and in this sense, sincerity in certain relations is only part of a more general trend of honest interaction with other individuals in general.

Love and sincerity

When talking about sincere relationships, love relationships and friendships are often mentioned. Honesty and disinterestedness are really particularly important, because it is close relationships that give us space for open expression of feelings, thoughts, and behavior. It is in intimate relationships that a person feels more comfortable and more relaxed than anything, because he is sure that he can behave, how people feel and meaningful to him will perceive it with understanding and acceptance. We feel protected when we see that others know and appreciate us as we are.

Love relationships have a special place in life, because by entering into them, a person creates his own life situation. The attitude of the partner and our attitude towards him are reflected in how and what we agree on and what becomes important for us, what changes we make.

Erich Fromm, the philosopher and psychoanalyst, wrote quite a lot about the significance of close relationships for individual development. His main thesis is that people often enter into relationships without being genuinely interested in accepting and understanding “a partner as he is,” since they have their own expectations of relationships and, above all, are interested in these expectations being met. Fromm describes two main positions that a person can take in relation to the environment and to his life: "To have" and "To be."

The first one is connected with an attempt to become happy and look successful through owning things, status, acquaintances, but not necessarily doing what you love or feeling happy.

The second orientation is connected with the striving for self-realization, for seeking oneself, doing one’s favorite business, communicating with personalities that are pleasant and, in the end, feeling happy, but without having to have a lot of money or influential connections. It is the second option that will be sincere in relation to itself and others - openly choose and do what you consider “yours”, which allows you to live life better. A sincere person, according to Fromm, is able to be really interested in understanding another individual and is ready to contribute to his development in the direction chosen by the partner. The desire to “have” a certain partner and certain relationships are often associated with disappointment, since the actual desires of the participants are often not voiced and not realized.

Forming close relationships, we hope to find in them an understanding and acceptance from a partner, a willingness to help achieve goals and create with us the way of life that we would be comfortable to lead. But this turns out to be achievable only if our partner is genuinely interested in us and our well-being, just as we are in it.

Being honest and open in a relationship means giving an account to ourselves and telling others about how we perceive and live what happens to us during our life, about what we are looking for. Of course, we all have not only positive feelings. Sometimes we experience anger and resentment, insecurity, fear - complex emotions, which our upbringing and reluctance to upset others often silence. Politeness and attention to the feelings of others are certainly important, but so is our ability to live through what is happening and work out the events of our life internally or in communication. And here each of us has to choose with whom he wants to be open.

The meaning of the word sincerity, as we have already seen, is multifaceted. It concerns both openness to our inner content, and to the world around us, and an interest in finding out other people as they are. In society, sincerity is valued as honesty and disinterestedness, but is limited to the rules of good form, the requirement to be careful not to hurt the feelings of others. For interpersonal and even more love relationships, sincerity is important as a favorable basis for establishing a real understanding and mutual development of partners.