Today’s one-word prompt on The Daily Post is “smooth”. I have not used these prompts until now, but the word whetted my appetite. Smooth as silk. Smooth as Swiss chocolate. Smooth as a lemon soufflé.
Smooth as all the people I loved to hate. You know the ones I’m talking about. The ones that change like chameleons depending on their surroundings. That always seemed hypocritical to me. And although I fancy myself a tolerant person, I am hypocritically intolerant of hypocrisy.
I just read an article that turned my perspective on its head. Our authenticity, it says, is a function of self-monitoring. High self-monitors adjust to their environment, low self-monitors are guided by their inner selves. I was born a low self-monitor, and for years, I wore it as a badge of pride. The blows of time may have convinced me to moderate my behavior a little (oh, the very least possible), but I can’t help thinking that there is something good, something right, something authentic — about being authentic.
Instead of authenticity, the article says, we should be striving for sincerity. As in, take what we want to present to the world, and turn our inner selves into that. This echoes an idea I read long ago in Little Women. In that book, Jo, who has a temper over which she frequently regrets having no control, asks her mother for advice. Mrs. March says that when she was a girl, her temper was worse than Jo’s. She managed it, she says, by pretending she wasn’t angry until it actually became true. This spoke to my high-tempered self so much that I tried it out. It took a decade or more, but Mrs. March (or Louisa M. Alcott) was proven right.
So, to all the smooth operators out there, for the sake of keeping this world spinning on its axis, we authentic people have something to learn from you — sincerity.