Sincerity of Heart in a Heartless Age

Sincerity of Heart and Purpose

For years, I’ve worked with individuals whose lives became a shipwreck because of their lack of character. They taught me the important lessons we all need to learn to lead lives of integrity.  I call these essential lessons the “10 Commandments” of sound character development. I’ve been posting on them for the past several weeks. And the final learning imperative advocates sincerity of heart and purpose.

Revisiting the Commandments

We overcome our innate egocentricity by being mindful of the world around us and the impact of our presence and actions. We avoid attitudes of entitlement by being grateful for the many gifts we’ve been given. And we avoid both ego-inflation and unhealthy inferiority by forging a balanced sense of self-worth.

We overcome a host of problems by steadfastly revering the truth. And we elevate ourselves to a higher plane of existence by moving beyond the mere pursuit of pleasure. We become socially responsible by rightly thinking before acting and mindfully directing our will.  We  constructively manage conflicts by tempering and managing our aggressive instincts. And we help make the world a better place by treating others with civility and positive regard.

The 10 Commandments Work Together

The principles or virtues the commandments promote work together. So they naturally overlap and complement each other. And if someone observes one or two, it’s more likely they’ll observe others as well. All in all, character is somewhat like a watercolor portrait. Artists often paint on moist paper, in part, so that the colors will blend and meld. So it is with mature character. Healthy characters act out of all these virtues at once. The characteristics seem to come together seemingly effortlessly. But in reality, each requires skill and practice.

The 10th Commandment

The 10th commandment is an extension of the others. And in a sense, it also speaks to all of them. It exhorts us to have sincerity of heart and purpose. Sincerity of heart and purpose means to act genuinely, honestly, wholeheartedly, earnestly, and fervently. It means to act without pretense or self-deception. Such sincerity is more than merely “meaning well.” It’s being free of hypocrisy and falseness. It’s being authentic, genuine.

Pure motives come from an honest, loving heart. We might never fully live up to this ideal. But we must still be honest about who we are if we’re ever to approach that ideal. People of sincere heart and purpose act openly in the light. They act without manipulation or self-deception. They don’t hesitate to act in the light because they are of the light. And their goodness shines as a beckoning beacon to others. We desperately need such individuals in our generally heartless age.

I’ll have much more to say about the 10th Commandment in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.

Character Matters

Character Matters will be live this Sunday January 22, so I can take your calls. The program airs at 7 pm Eastern (4 pm Pacific). To join the conversation, call in at (718) 717-8296 or via Skype.

Read more about the 10 Commandments in Character Disturbance. And look for my new book on the topic this spring.

25 thoughts on “Sincerity of Heart in a Heartless Age

  1. When i come to think of who I consider the persons of high moral character, they do have these qualities and they do all blend into a wonderful person to have as an ever lasting friendship with. Such people are gems.

  2. Dear George, Thank you so much for all your work, it is of immeasurable value!
    Are you by any chance familiar with Dr Jordan B. Peterson, Professor of Psychology at the University of Toronto? I first discovered him when he was on “The Rubin Report” in November last year. I have a feeling that the two of you could collaborate in some way in order to make the world a better place.

    Warmest regards

    Maria Sederholm Sweden

  3. This weekend I had an interesting scenario with the STBX and an Open House of the marital home that is to be auctioned off.
    For those of you who are married to or heavily involved with a CD and are well versed in how to engage or disengage with them, and having learned how they strategize and plot with their twisted minds, you might understand how I had to get into his mind and try to figure out what he’d do and think before I acted. When dealing with him, I always have to think hard before I act.
    I was nervous that he would hang around the Open House and intervene, so I parked a ways from the house to watch for him to drive by, and never did see him leave the subdivision. My first thought was to drive back by the house to see if he was still there, because he was when I left. But if I drove back to the house to see if he was still there, that possibly he was also “watching” me, and that could have posed a problem.
    Kind of comical really. I was afraid he was watching me, I was watching him – and if we encountered each other watching each other boy what a mess that would be.
    This is not normal, by any means. This type of thinking is part of the craziness in dealing with a CD. It’s an upside down, lopsided, distorted way of living. To even have to think in the way I did that day is just not right. But I had to, I had to have a strategy, because he always has one. This is what it has come to.
    It’s a little comical in a way, how nutty it can get.
    I’m glad to not be living in the same household with that miserable being. He makes my physically sick to my stomach.

    1. Lucy,
      You can send few entries to Spy vs Spy. 🙂
      May be you did right in staying bit away. It should improve chances of sale. Your presence could have caused him to indulge in winning the battle of day, negatively affecting the sale process. A CD probably does not mind spying or any other game anytime, and it is understandable that you indulge a bit trying to wriggle yourself free from him.

      1. Andy,
        I had to spend quite a bit of time thinking the whole scenario through. You’re right, my drive-by would have given him the opportunity to negatively affect a potential sale. I think after all this time I’ve finally “gotten into his head”.

  4. Lucy, AndyD,

    Many times it keeps one safe to know what the CD is up to and their whereabouts. Distance is always the wisest choice.

    In a situation like this, going past the CD’s residence, even though you own it it very well could be used against you. The CD could call the police and accuse you of harassment and even stalking him. I think you used good common sense judgement, the kind of judgement a mature adult person would use. You saw through a potential trap and avoided it. Good for you.

    1. I’ve gone no contact with the CD ex-brother but my husband and sometimes feel a need to know what he is up to. This CD has cut himself off from everyone except for his only daughter who visits for a week 3 times a year.
      The daughter of the CD does keep in touch with us but it’s an unspoken rule that her father never be discussed.
      We feel uncomfortable not knowing what he’s up to because he has very poor impulse control, he blames everyone for everything so we think it’s a possibility that he will act out in some way. I’ve done some research on hiring a PI but I haven’t gone beyond that. We live in a city and if he caught us out near his home we wouldn’t have a leg to stand on for being in his neighborhood.
      Is it good enough to know what he drives and where he lives? Interestingly to us he has sent a random text and I’m convinced it’s a test to see if I am using IMessage or MMS messaging. I use the later so that no one knows if I’ve received a message for sure or not. If this CD person was reaching out to me in a moment of danger I would never answer him, I guarantee it.
      In the beginning when I went no contact after a confrontation he sent some vile and vicious texts but to this day he doesn’t know for sure if I’ve received them.

      1. Sydney,

        It sounds to me as if you’re doing everything right. I know the feeling, being wary that he might do something to you because of poor impulse control and other traits that are alarming.
        If he sees you in his neighborhood that would set off an alarm to him.
        We can’t keep a constant watch on people, it’s impossible, and even if we know what he’s doing one day we still don’t know what’s going on the next.
        My experience has been the less contact I have with him via email, etc., the less volatile emails I receive. I don’t feed his fire any longer. It took me quite awhile to finally control my urges and not “fight back” through email.
        They are always in the back of our minds, aren’t they? It’s because we never know if they’ll totally lose their mind and doing something unthinkable.

        1. Lucy,
          I would never contact him or reply to an email, text or phone call, ever.

          I agree I should just not wonder anymore but but every once and awhile there is a niggling in the back of the mind about what he’s up to. He is the definition of anti-social and sneaky. I loathe the sneakiness in him.

          1. You can’t help but wonder. We sense a danger. I wish I could cease contact with my STBX but am still in the midst of divorce, so I still read some of them. I have 70-some unread.
            It’s impossible to completely forget about them.

  5. Sincerity of heart and purpose. That’s beautiful – but so difficult to recognize in yourself when you’ve been in a marriage for 40 years with a manipulative person who wants you to feel everything has been your fault and that you are a cruel person. You’ve taken the guilt on for so long – and believed it for so long and when you are a people pleaser it makes you very confused. You think you are being sincere, but you’ve been told you are not! I’m 60. This has gone on since I married at 19.

    The thing is you HAVE to know your own truth before you realize you ARE actually a nice, sincere person. To find your own truth is a slow process after intense gaslighting for so many years.

    I’m still battling with my guilt, although I know deep down I shouldn’t have any in regards to him. But that is the merry-go-round my head goes in. I’m afraid it will always be with me. I still worry about his well being! Go figure.

    I haven’t posted in a while but have come here often and gained encouragement from Dr. Simon and everyone else’s words. My divorce has been final for a few months. It was a long, slow process for many years. Recently I thought I had found someone who I could be in a normal relationship with. But there were red flags and I ignored them. I wanted to feel loved and happy. I didn’t want to work so hard at a relationship again so I pretended there weren’t any red flags.

    Last week I realized I had to break it off with this new man. It brought up all those horrible feelings that I’m still trying to deal with from my marriage. But I am not going to go down that path again – I would rather be alone.
    Oh, but the Guilt!

    1. Jean,
      So glad you posted, you have been in my thoughts and I know Lucy has asked about you too. Glad you are doing well. I hope we hear a little more from you and how you are coping. Just know it takes time to heal. Glad you are able to see the flags.

      I know how you feel, many of the things you express, I felt too.
      Be kind to yourself Jean and look forward to your posts. In fact I think you will find release in talking about these feelings. It took me a long time.

  6. Jean it’s just as well you broke it off with him. You know what would have eventuated. I found myself in a similar scenario last year. There were red flags everywhere actually but again the mind comes in and analysis everything and it talks us out of common sense and makes us ignore heart felt knowing – we start to excuse their behavior. I’m not sure if the man I was with is CD I don’t think so but he does have frontal lobe damage and it seemed to heavily affect his empathy/compassion in a big way. Fortunately I found out earlier and not later. I had a meddlesome CD female in the situation. He was renting a patch of land from her and trying to get his own place set up. She had other plans and she made damn sure she removed all obstacles from those plans. The way things have turned out up there he was never going to be allowed the opportunity to have his own space anyway, she’s laid claim to the lot. It’s distrubing just how nasty, conniving and manipulative she is. It is obvious he was a victim of gaslighting. She demonstrated that type of behavior to me and once she realised I wasn’t taking the bait, she became increasingly dangerous upping the ante by vindictive lashing out, using slander and spreading malicious lies in order to garner support. The people of this town aren’t stupid though and had been watching her bizzare behavior for a while. They knew there was something very wrong with her. He’s actually left the area now, I guess he finally found some common sense. She’s now trying to spread the rumour he’s leaving town because of me LOL. I’ve seen him about half a dozen times since July for less than 5 minutes each time. None of those times he appeared willing to ascertain truth not once. Walking away was the only option open. I was not going to continue to give him the benefit of the doubt when all he did was show me contempt. She did a damn good number on him that’s for sure. She did the same to another couple of women around as well and did the exact same thing to her ex best friend. I have an ex best friend too but she’s one because she’s CD. I’ve said this before on this forum – I wish some sort of cosmic event would take place and they’d all go into extinction. The world would be a much better place for it. All wars would cease immediately and we’d have genuine people negotiating peace and co-operation throughout the world. Nice dream isn’t it?

    Jean don’t beat yourself up for it. It’s not your fault. As you know they will always say everything is our fault. Holding somebody responsible for their own demonstrated behavior is totally different to blaming others. That’s what they do – blame others for every piece of bastardry that they themselves create in their own miserable lives. They eventually cop the backlash of their devious behavior then plead victim.

    What I’ve come to understand is enablers are as dangerous as CDs for the very reason they allow their CDs abusive behavior to go unchecked while they cow tow to their every whim putting others in jeopardy in the process. This is why we must be careful during the removal process. We can sit in grief and despair wondering what went wrong and how to fix it. The answer is – we can’t fix it, we can only torture ourselves trying. I can tell you right now it’s just not worth it. So Jean, walk away, walk fast and don’t look back. Be grateful you have the wisdom to see him for what he is and the strength of character to be kind to yourself. You know in your own heart, you can’t help them and you can’t fix them. There is nothing to feel guilty about.

    1. Thank you Btov and Eudoxia, I am now 2 weeks from breaking things off with this new man. I do get lonely, but there is a huge relief inside of me that’s hard to explain.
      My ex is dreadful and now using the preparation of 2016 taxes as an excuse to both insult me and contact me. We are filing single but the divorce was final in Fall – so we have most of the year where expenses were from a joint checking account. What a mess!!!!
      It’s hard to untangle 41 years, but 2017 is going to be much better!

  7. Jean,

    It is going on six years and there are still things that tie me to my X. Eudox posted for us to google the head of a leach. It’s really scary to look at but so true. The CD just don’t give up, their intent to cause intentional misery. Oh, it’s heartache and misery to remove them.

    Lucy, the dear soul has been through so much torment and continues to hold her ground. I applaud her courage and tenacity, what a gal. Jean, I didn’t budge and inch either, really the only way you can deal with this sort.

    Good for you Jean, you held your ground. I know I have been alone for 5 years and first started dating. I have met some nice fellows. I do look for those flags, or should I say, I am so attuned l look for the tell. The slimy psycho’s can be very deceiving, more so than the CDNS. I am extremely cautious.

    Yes, I spend many nights alone and it can become lonely and at times depressing. There are different avenues and a lot of different ways to meet others. So, Jean don’t give up so soon. These things take time, heal inside and just be kind and patient with yourself. I know easier said than done.

    I am glad you are posting again and welcome you back. Together on this blog, its such a wonderful blessing, how we are able to reach out to others around the world, helping one another, sharing knowledge and most of all supporting each other.

    Jean, one thing that gives me some consolation is, when I am lonely I think to myself I am at peace. I don’t answer to no one, least of all him, anymore. What is really profound is I don’t have to hear his whining voice. I am so glad he is gone.

    I got myself a rescue, a German Spitz whom I named Buddy Bill, he is such a joy. He follows me everywhere, he gives me a reason to get up, to fix his food and care for him.. In return he gives love and is a protective little guy too. Perhaps, you should think about a pet, perhaps, a little Bichon.

    Anyway, I think we can help each other through these trials, we have a great group here. I can only say, I am happy you are posting again, you have so much to add to the mix.

    Big Hugs!!!!!!!!

    1. BTOV German Spitz are highly intelligent dogs – you will have a loyal and very smart friend. I had a Keeshond they are of the same breed but I had to re-home her as when my mother came to stay with me she had way too much energy, she was hectic and I was scared she was going to hurt my mother by accidentally loving her too much, lol. She went to a really good home, the people who took her lost one from cancer and were desperately seeking another one to love so to this day she is in 7th heaven as far as I know – beach trips constant grooming and her own couch! That was many years ago and she would be old now but well loved that’s for sure. I gave her to them in 2012. She was 4 she would be 9 now.

      Christmas got in the way of things I took some time out to think and re-group, new strategies etc. Also paying attention to many things that lacked my attention from being distracted by CDs. Met some amazing people who funnily enough had a similar experience to me with the CD I was telling Jean about. Too small a town to go unnoticed. 2017 is gearing up to be a very different year to be sure. We live in unprecedented times that is for sure as well.

      Huggzzzzz back

    2. BTOV – I did get a toy poodle about 10 months ago! He is my precious baby! I had a poodle growing up and have always wanted to get another.

      1. Jean,

        I’m relieved that you went through and got that divorce. Now it’s time to heal.
        So do you have no contact with him now?
        I relish the day when I have no reason to receive an email from him. But that is hard to envision, being that we have adult children. I can never fully get away from him. But a divorce sure would be nice.
        So you’ve put yourself out there and dated. I imagine it will take a few to meet the right one. Just make sure the next one is genuinely kind and caring. Why bother with anything else?
        I’ve met and been dating a good one, really ever since I left the marital home and filed for divorce. They are out there. I think some of the kind gentle ones can be a bit shy and hesitant. It sure helps to get a recommendation from a friend – could save a lot of time and aggravation.
        I’m so glad to hear from you.
        You’ll be fine. I’ll be fine. Andy will be fine, Eudox, BTOV All of us – we’re getting through it. It just takes a lot of work to get there.

      2. Jean, and all,

        I have been at a loss this past 7 days with my sis in the hospital, still.

        Jean, I have been and still am in a position like you and have some ideas I would like to share. Am strapped for time now. However, the things I have been doing have gotten me active and meeting more people. Please keep posting and hopefully we can discuss this topic of how to get our life back on course.

        Take care, I know how it is to been alone. I am so proud of you you made it thus far and took back yourself. Also, I believe we are all happy you are posting again, we worried about you and most of all welcome you back.

        The experiences we share always benefits us and yourself. I am so happy you have a little one. What is his/her name? They fill a void and give us a purpose and most of all love us.

        I am going to be in and out untl Sis recovers. Take care all.

        Jean, Big Hugs and blessings.

    1. Lucy,

      Love it, she, I, he, they, ” PERSISTED.” Many times a hard task and mindset when we have been beaten up for so long. This is exactly why I love this blog, the amazing knowledge and the individuals we share our grief and stories with.

      At times, just one word of encouragement and wisdom, most of all the amazing

      I needed to hear that one word, I was at a loss for it today.

      Thank you I needed to hear this.


      1. BTOV

        This blog is my go-to for SUPPORT from those who truly understand. And I am thankful to all who give their testimony of their personal experiences and what did or didn’t help them overcome. I’ve learned a lot of lessons here.

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