Sincerity is among the most appreciated elements in a social context. From childhood they teach us not to tell lies, but at the same time we are taught to lie. We learn that some lies can benefit us, and that lying, with very low chances of being caught, can be a good choice.
Being sincere does not mean sinning with sincerity , that is, living by telling a brazen truth, without filters. In these cases the true intentions may not be to really tell the truth, but to exploit it as a form of aggression, vanity or simply to vent one’s anger, using the need to be sincere as justification.
Nonetheless, as a general rule, sincerity is not only a great virtue, it also brings great benefits. Relationships with others improve significantly when we are honest. In return we receive more sincerity that will never give rise to misunderstanding. On top of that, being honest also affects our health in a positive way. Below we will outline three reasons that support this claim.
Benefits of sincerity
Being honest increases self-esteem
A study by psychologist Robert S. Feldman of the University of Massachusetts revealed that on average people tell a lie every ten minutes of conversation. Sometimes, the main reason people lie is trying to seem more likeable and / or competent than they really are. In other words, to arouse admiration in others.
On this same basis, other experts have indicated that these kinds of lies fulfill the task of masking reality. The underlying reason is that such people perceive their life and their way of being as uninteresting, living with the fear of not being taken into consideration by others.
The curious thing is that authenticity is in fact considered one of the most appreciable values. This reveals that the more sincere a person is and the more he talks about himself describing himself as he really is, the more likely he is to arouse sympathy and admiration in others. Consequently, the individual’s self-esteem increases, favoring the creation of a vicious circle: greater sincerity, greater approval, increase in self-esteem.
Being honest reduces anxiety
The problem with telling a lie is that you enter an endless circle of untruths. If you are rumored to be a rock star, then you will have to make up hundreds of lies to make it all believable. For those who lie, the worst thing that can happen is being discovered.
Consequently, not only is it necessary to have a vivid imagination, but a lot of time will also be wasted trying to give coherence to the speech, in order not to unmask one’s lies. Finally, a good memory is needed in order not to fall into contradiction.
Lying, therefore, requires a strong emotional commitment which, sooner or later, expresses itself in the form of stress and anxiety. It is important to keep your attention high so as not to run the risk of giving in and increasing the level of tension.
When you are sincere, you never have to deal with such a burden. You don’t have to invent explanations, or take time to enrich your version of the facts with details that make it credible. This allows you to be more relaxed and live more naturally, avoiding a large waste of emotional energy that can instead be used for more important matters.
A study on sincerity and health
Dr Anita E. Kelly, professor of psychology at the University of Notre Dame and director of the Templeton Foundation, conducted a study to investigate the health effects of being truthful.
For this study, a total of 72 volunteers were divided into two groups: the members of the first group were shown to be extremely sincere in all conversations, while the others were not given any indication. Those who were tasked with being honest were told not to lie about even small things or apparently trivial matters. The exercise lasted for five weeks.
During the period of the experiment, which included weekly tests using the lie detector, the volunteers of both groups were subjected to several checks of their health status. Once the experiment was over, there was a clear difference between the health conditions of those who had been honest versus those who had lied.
The former presented fewer headaches, pains in the throat, nausea and stomach pain, while the latter did not show any kind of variation in the aforementioned symptoms.
The results impressed the doctor so much that she herself decided to be completely honest over the following winter. She noticed that she needed fewer hours of sleep to feel rested and that the colds, which always plagued her during the cold season, had simply disappeared.