“All charming people have something to conceal, usually their total dependence on the appreciation of others.” -Cyril Connolly, 1903 – 1974.
Charm is a word which is given a positive sense, but it has a negative side. To be charming means to be pleasing and to engage in attractive qualities but it doesn’t include being sincere. A person who has charm but is also sincere is endowed with a different characteristic, the ability to be earnest.
The word, earnest, is less popular, but it is a more desirable quality because it combines being zealous with depth or maturity. It is better than charm, which is an effort for controlling appearances, being earnest is an experience of mutual interest both expressed and felt.
It may be that some people go to social events to be charmed? However, It could be about the more meaningful experience if the people in attendance, at any event, were more earnest and less charming. However, the entertainment value of watching someone practicing charm is different than being with an earnest companion. Charm requires an audience member, and earnestness desires two participants who are designing their joined participation.
We can cultivate more meaningful interactions by engaging with others earnestly. This preference for sincerity doesn’t mean devoid of pleasantness, it doesn’t include pretense either, but what it does include is sometimes misunderstood, undervalued and unknown.
One Thing to Do (in four steps).
How to resist charm in preference of earnestness:
- Know that you are worth knowing rather than being an unknown audience member.
- Pay attention to how your story is ignored and by whom.
- Ask questions which help you discover what others value.
- Share what you value just because you value it.
Dawna Daigneault, Ed.S, LPC.