Why couldn’t I just express how I felt? Everything that came out of my mouth was drenched in sarcasm. I was trapped; blocked by an emotional barrier and societal norms.
It was a misty day in May. Golden light pierced through the random gaps in the cloud consumed sky. I remember the distinct smell of moisture in the air after a spring rain. I sat outside my apartment pondering my unhappiness. It was at this moment that I realized my problems couldn’t be blamed on everyone else. My sadness came from the way I treated people. I was selfish and alone. I knew becoming content with my life again meant reshaping relationships. At the heart of this change was my desperate attempt to become more sincere.
I once gave people what I like to call ‘selfish compliments.’ These compliments served the purpose of benefiting me. Now, you might be asking how a compliment could be selfish. It might be easier to explain using some examples.
Ok, let’s start with selfish situation number one. “You look cute today,” my roommate said as she analyzed me brushing mascara over my eyelashes. I excitedly responded, “Thanks, you look way cute today too!” Had I even taken the time to turn away from the mirror for a few seconds and glance at her outfit? Of course not! This type of complement had become a natural response for me. I felt obligated to return approval even though it was completely insincere. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure she had a very cute outfit, but my roommate sensed my vain and selfish attitude. Our friendship slowly fell apart, even though we once entrusted each other with all our secrets.
Here’s another example of a selfish compliment- “Hey, that’s a fantastic shirt you’re wearing today,” I said to a girl as I awkwardly sat alone in a crowded apartment. I used compliments as conversation starters. It was a way to look nice and popular in everyone else’s eyes. My reason to give the compliment wasn’t out of sincerity, but only for my own personal gain. The insincere compliments I was giving were destroying my relationships or not allowing me to create strong relationships at all.
Fixing my problem took a lot of work, but through my efforts I have gained a true understanding of sincerity and the importance of being sincere in life. I learned honesty is a part of happiness. As I came to this realization, my intentions became more sincere. It strengthened my relationships and ultimately made me a happier and more loving person.
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