To be candid, in Middlemarch phraseology, meant, to use an early opportunity of letting your friends know that you did not take a cheerful view of their capacity, their conduct, or their position; and a robust candor never waited to be asked for its opinion.
—George Eliot (Mary Anne Evans) (1819–80) English Novelist
We want all our friends to tell us our bad qualities; it is only the particular ass that does so whom we can’t tolerate.
—William James (1842–1910) American Philosopher, Psychologist, Physician
It’s like those eerie stories nurses tell,
Of how some actor on a stage played Death,
With pasteboard crown, sham orb and tinselled dart,
And called himself the monarch of the world;
Then, going in the tire-room afterward,
Because the play was done, to shift himself,
Got touched upon the sleeve familiarly,
The moment he had shut the closet door,
By Death himself. Thus God might touch a Pope
At unawares, ask what his baubles mean,
And whose part he presumed to play just now.
Best be yourself, imperial, plain and true!
—Robert Browning (1812–89) English Poet
The shortest and surest way to live with honor in the world, is to be in reality what we would appear to be; and if we observe, we shall find, that all human virtues increase and strengthen themselves by the practice and experience of them.
—Socrates (469BCE–399BCE) Ancient Greek Philosopher
We are very apt to measure ourselves by our aspiration instead of our performance. But in truth the conduct of our lives is the only proof of the sincerity of our hearts.
Prayer needs a heart, not a tongue.
—Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869–1948) Indian Hindu Political leader
You know I say just what I think, and nothing more nor less.—I cannot say one thing and mean another.
—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–82) American Poet, Educator, Academic
Examine what is said, not him who speaks.
Sincerity may be humble, but she cannot be servile.
—Lord Byron (George Gordon Byron) (1788–1824) English Romantic Poet
Sincerity is not a spontaneous flower nor is modesty either.
—Colette (1873–1954) French Novelist, Performer
Sincerity is not test of truth—no evidence of correctness of conduct. You may take poison sincerely believing it the needed medicine, but will it save your life?
—Tryon Edwards American Theologian
A little sincerity is a dangerous thing, and a great deal of it is absolutely fatal.
—Oscar Wilde (1854–1900) Irish Poet, Playwright
Gracious to all, to none subservient, Without offense he spoke the word he meant.
—Thomas Bailey Aldrich (1836–1907) American Writer, Poet, Critic, Editor
What people call insincerity is simply a method by which we can multiply our personalities.
The Great Man’s sincerity is of the kind he cannot speak of, is not conscious of: nay, I suppose, he is conscious rather of insincerity; for what man can walk accurately by the law of truth for one day? No, the Great Man does not boast himself sincere, far from that; perhaps does not ask himself if he is so: I would say rather, his sincerity does not depend on himself; he cannot help being sincere!
—Thomas Carlyle (1795–1881) Scottish Historian, Essayist
Can there be greater foolishness than the respect you pay to people collectively when you despise them individually?
—Cicero (106BCE–43BCE) Roman Philosopher, Orator, Politician, Lawyer
It is dangerous to be sincere unless you are also stupid.
—George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950) Irish Playwright
Sincerity is to speak as we think, to do as we pretend and profess, to perform what we promise, and really to be what we would seem and appear to be.
Be always sincere in your yea and your nay.
—The Talmud Sacred Text of the Jewish Faith
Sincerity is the luxury allowed, like diadems and authority, only to the highest rank… . Every man alone is sincere. At the entrance of a second person, hypocrisy begins.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–82) American Philosopher
The merit of originality is not novelty; it is sincerity. The believing man is the original man; whatsoever he believes, he believes it for himself, not for another.
—Thomas Carlyle (1795–1881) Scottish Historian, Essayist
Sincerity makes the very least person to be of more value than the most talented hypocrite.
—Charles Spurgeon (1834–92) English Baptist Preacher
I sat at a table where were rich food and wine in abundance, and obsequious attendance, but sincerity and truth were not; and I went away hungry from the inhospitable board.
—Henry David Thoreau (1817–62) American Philosopher
Candor is a proof of both a just frame of mind, and of a good tone of breeding. It is a quality that belongs equally to the honest man and to the gentleman.
—James Fenimore Cooper (1789–1851) American Novelist
Always be ready to speak your mind, and a base man will avoid you.
—William Blake (1757–1827) English Poet, Painter, Printmaker
Friends, if we be honest with ourselves, we shall be honest with each other.
—George MacDonald (1824–1905) Scottish Novelist, Lecturer, Poet
You may tell a man thou art a fiend, but not your nose wants blowing; to him alone who can bear a thing of that kind, you may tell all.
—Johann Kaspar Lavater (1741–1801) Swiss Theologian, Poet
His words are bonds, his oaths are oracles; his love sincere, his thoughts immaculate; his tears, pure messengers sent from his heart; his heart as far from fraud, as heaven from earth.
—William Shakespeare (1564–1616) British Playwright
Sincerity and truth are the basis of every virtue.
—Confucius (551–479 BCE) Chinese Philosopher
If all hearts were open and all desires known—as they would be if people showed their souls—how many gapings, sighings, clenched fists, knotted brows, broad grins, and red eyes should we see in the market-place!
—Thomas Hardy (1840–1928) English Novelist, Poet
If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his true friend. Therein is a drop of honey that catches his heart, which, say what he will, is the greatest highroad to his reason, and which when once gained, you will find but little trouble in convincing his judgment of the justice of your cause, if, indeed, that cause be really a just one. On the contrary, assume to dictate to his judgment, or to command his action, or to make him as one to be shunned or despised, and he will retreat within himself, close all the avenues to his head and heart; and though your cause be naked truth itself, transformed to the heaviest lance, harder than steel and sharper than steel can be made, and though you throw it with more than Herculean force and precision, you shall be no more able to pierce him than to penetrate the hard shell of a tortoise with a rye straw.
—Abraham Lincoln (1809–65) American Head of State
The great man fights the elements in his time that hinder his own greatness, in other words his own freedom and sincerity.
—Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900) German Philosopher, Scholar, Writer
The heart of a fool is in his mouth, but the mouth of a wise man is in his heart.
—Benjamin Franklin (1706–90) American Political Leader, Inventor, Diplomat
It is the weak and confused who worship the pseudo-simplicities of brutal directness.
—Marshall Mcluhan (1911–80) Canadian Writer, Thinker, Educator
Let us not be ashamed to speak what we shame not to think.
—Michel de Montaigne (1533–92) French Essayist
Even where there is talent, culture, knowledge, if there is not earnestness, it does not go to the root of things.
—James Freeman Clarke (1810–88) American Unitarian Clergyman, Abolitionist, Author
Sincerity is impossible, unless it pervades the whole being, and the pretence of it saps the very foundation of character.
—James Russell Lowell (1819–91) American Poet, Critic
Nay, Madam, when you are declaiming, declaim; and when you are calculating, calculate.
—Samuel Johnson (1709–84) British Essayist
Frank and explicit; that is the right line to take when you wish to conceal your own mind and to confuse the minds of others.
—Benjamin Disraeli (1804–81) British Head of State
Earnestness is the devotion of all the faculties.—It is the cause of patience; gives endurance; overcomes pain; strengthens weakness; braves dangers; sustains hope; makes light of difficulties, and lessens the sense of weariness in overcoming them.
—Christian Nestell Bovee (1820–1904) American Writer, Aphorist
The way I see it, it doesn’t matter what you believe just so you’re sincere.
—Charles M. Schulz (1922–2000) American Cartoonist, Writer, Artist
The essential element in personal magnetism is a consuming sincerity—an overwhelming faith in the importance of the work one has to do.
—Bruce Fairchild Barton (1886–1967) American Author, Advertising Executive, Politician
There is no substitute for thoroughgoing, ardent and sincere earnestness.
—Charles Dickens (1812–70) English Novelist
A wit should no more be sincere, than a woman constant; one argues a decay of parts, as to other of beauty.
—William Congreve (1670–1729) English Playwright, Poet
There is no greater delight than to be conscious of sincerity on self-examination.
—Mencius (c.371–c.289 BCE) Chinese Philosopher, Sage
Sincerity is like traveling on a plain, beaten road, which commonly brings a man sooner to his journey’s end than by-ways, in which men often lose themselves.
Those that vow the most are the least sincere.
—Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751–1816) Irish-born British Playwright, Poet, Elected Rep
Not to expose your true feelings to an adult seems to be instinctive from the age of seven or eight onwards.
—George Orwell (1903–50) English Novelist, Journalist
Inward sincerity will of course influence the outward deportment; where the one is wanting, there is great reason to suspect the absence of the other.
—Laurence Sterne (1713–68) Irish Anglican Novelist, Clergyman
Sincerity is the indispensable ground of all conscientiousness, and by consequence of all heartfelt religion.
—Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) Prussian German Philosopher, Logician