“We wander but in the end there is always a certain peace in being what one is, in being that completely” (Ugo Betti).
AMONG OUR ACQUAINTANCES, THOSE WHOM WE VALUE THE MOST ARE THE FOLKS WHO ARE GENUINE. We recognize that there can be a huge difference between what a person appears to be and what they actually are, and so we appreciate it when we have the opportunity to deal with those who are the “real deal.” These are the people (how refreshing they are!) whose words and actions have the ring of truth. They deliver — their deeds live up to their advertising.
Genuineness is largely a matter of sincerity. If a friend is genuinely compassionate, for example, that means he or she truly does feel compassion. Whatever’s on the surface, if a person is sincere you’ll find that same quality no matter how deep you drill into their character. Sincerity means that what you see is what you get.
Wallace Stevens wrote, “The humble are they that move about the world with the lure of the real in their hearts.” When all is said and done, that’s what sets genuine people apart: they have the “lure of the real” in their hearts. They prefer that which is actual to that which is only apparent, even when the actual is less than perfect. And in their dealings with others, those who are genuine offer only “the real.”
If we had to choose between an article that was authentic and another that was counterfeit, most of us would choose the genuine article. And so it is with people. We prefer those who are true and trustworthy to those who are fake. We want “the real McCoy.”
Pretense is a tempting thing, however, and there are few of us who’ve never engaged in it. We have a definite idea how we’d like others to think of us, and it’s tempting to use smoke and mirrors to generate that appearance. But if the conclusion we lead others to is nothing more than an illusion, we haven’t accomplished very much.
It’s much better to be genuine. That doesn’t mean we don’t have ideals and dreams. It doesn’t mean it’s wrong to put our best foot forward. What it does mean is that we’re deeply committed to truth.
“Be what you are. This is the first step toward becoming better than you are” (Julius Charles Hare).