Don’t you hate interacting with people who present themselves as sincere but you can tell that they really aren’t? It’s kind of a bummer to relate with fake, phony people.
Sometimes people act loving when they’re not, and it is both shallow and annoying. On the other hand, sometimes people act loving when they’re trying to be loving. Sometimes we act the way we want to feel. And this is not the same thing as being inauthentic or insincere.
Jessica has an amazing capacity to convey love, and after twenty-four years with her, she still shocks me with how genuinely kind and caring she can be. Recently, I watched her interact with someone who had hurt her pretty deeply, and I thought for sure there would be an edge to her tone or some guardedness to her bearing; I thought she might be a little cool or withdrawn.
I was wrong. She emanated nothing but grace and class and kindness. I was so impressed that I asked her about it afterward. Jessica is the least phony person I know, so I asked her how she could convey such love in the middle of her hurt, and she said simply, “I’m acting the way I want to feel.”
Those were good words for me to hear, and they might be good for you too. I’m acting the way I want to feel.
Of course, we need to be honest with our emotions, and of course, we don’t have to act like everything is fine when it isn’t. On the other hand, perhaps we should occasionally test our feelings before being governed by them. Perhaps we should act by faith at times, trusting that the feelings we desire will eventually follow.
This can get tricky. I am not an expert on where the line falls between faith and phoniness, but I do know that when I choose to love I eventually feel love; when I choose to care I start to care. And if you are like me, we would probably be safe to err on the side of acting like our greatest virtues even while we are still developing them.