Sincerity: If you can fake that, you've got it made
July 12, 2011 5:06 PM Subscribe
I often seem insincere to others, even when I am in earnest. I also sometimes feel disconnected from my feelings. Are these 2 things connected and how can I fix them?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (17 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
I've noticed (first because others told me so, then through self-observation) that I will often seem insincere even when I am telling the truth. This can happen in big things and small. To use an actual example, I watched movie with a bunch of friends and after the movie, we were talking about it, and I said 'That is the worst movie I have ever seen'. Someone I hadn't known very long looked at my weird and said 'Are you joking?' I said I wasn't joking. Another friend said, 'I've known you long enough that I know you're serious, but it's true, you do sound like you're joking'. (Note: it was a very bad movie. The General's Daughter. Very, very, bad.)
I do not think this is an isolated incident. I think that people perceive me as joking/insincere/sarcastic a lot. I tend to laugh when I get nervous which probably contributes to the problem.
Possibly related - I am not always very connected to my feelings. Often my partner will point out to me that I am feeling a particular emotion before I realize it myself - anger, jealousy, upset, etc. We'll get out of a situation where I thought I was in control of myself (and my expression) and he'll say 'You looked really upset'. Hmmm.... now that I think of it, maybe I WAS really upset about that very upsetting thing.
Or conversely, I will realize that I am 'acting' in a certain way because it is the appropriate social reaction - happy, excited, (even angry or whatever) - but I'm not really feeling that way. I am pretending. When I realize this is happening and I try to figure out how I actually feel, the answer is usually 'nothing' or 'nervous' or 'tired'.
This has been true for me for a long time. I can remember manufacturing emotions for myself (can't think of a better way to phrase it) as a teenager, and sometimes I have thought that I saw one of my siblings do this as well.
I don't want to go through life with people perceiving me as a kind of real-life Stephen Colbert, only saying things I disagree with on a fundamental level - I DO ACTUALLY BELIEVE THESE THINGS. In fact, professionally, this may be a problem for me. I do important work that I care about deeply, and I need to communicate that importance in a passionate way.
And I don't want to go through life being fake.
Typing this out makes it clear to me that there is a connection. Maybe some of the time I seem insincere because I actually AM insincere.
But I don't know how to experience and express my emotions more genuinely.
I have tried talk therapy and hated it. I am on antidepressants for anxiety which work GREAT and I have no intention of messing with that. I've done yoga and attending religious services, both of which seemed to tap into something good, but currently I'm not doing either due to a variety of logistical reasons (and laziness).
I would like to know if anyone else has a similar experience or has any advice on how to reconnect internally.
TD, LR: sometimes I both seem and feel fake. How do I stop?