Sincere but not simple

“There are many people who are sincere without being simple: they are ever afraid of being seen for what they are not; they are always musing over their words and thoughts and thinking about what they have done, in fear of having done or said too much. These people are sincere, but they are not simple: they are not at ease with others, and other people are not at ease with them. There is nothing easy about them, nothing free, spontaneous, or natural. People who are imperfect, less regular, less masters of themselves, are more lovable.” ~Francois Fenelon

It is late tonight, and I don’t have the energy for a long post, so I will share this quote that I found a few months back that has made a profound impression on me. I have lived my life as one of these sincere but not simple people that he describes.

The last few years have broken me down enough to recognize this about myself, and this has given me cause to want to change the way I interact with the world around me. I am still often “sincere but not simple” and am often still not at ease, but I’m gradually becoming less so. The more I spend my energy and time doing things that I love and that engage me, the less time and energy I have to spend on worrying about what others think of me.

I still have room to grow, but I am continually amazed at how much headway I am making. I had a long talk with an old friend tonight who is the person who has known me well for the longest (not counting family members). Our conversation brought back memories of the person I was back when we first met 14 years ago compared to the person that I am becoming now. I am pleased to notice changes for the better over time—and pleased that my friend sees positive changes in me too.

I’m growing, and it’s noticeable. I can’t ask for any more than that!

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7 thoughts on “Sincere but not simple

  1. Ahhhh!!! You’re reading Fenelon! I am on the third pass through his complete works and that is my favorite quote!! You are growing. Yes, you are, indeed!

  2. I am/was one of those sincere but not simple people too. Fortunately, like you, I am changing and am pleased that I care less about every single thing I say and what the impact will be. It was exhausting living like that. Being sincere and simple is much better! 🙂

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