Crocodile tears. Derived from an ancient anecdote that crocodiles shed tears for the creature they are eating; the phrase has come to refer to a hypocritical display of false emotion. Insincerity. Sometimes worse– a show of emotion to lull someone in to sharing their story or revealing their vulnerabilities only to use that information against them. Dante reserved his 8th circle of Hell (out of 9, with 9 being worst) for the fraudulent–the hucksters, the corrupt politicians, the panderers and seducers, the false teachers, the perjurers and liars.
Why are they so bad? Perhaps it is because trust is so sacred, a bridge to community, a link between people that keeps us all from chucking it and living like recluses behind a bush. But also, perhaps it is because we do not come with built in BS meters. We are born trusting; we have to learn cynicism. And the way we learn that is to be let down, over and over, by the insincere. And when that harm makes us close off and guard, we become less than what we really are.
So the solution, it seems, is to fight back, not with insincerity of our own, but with authenticity and vulnerability come what may, to keep putting it out there every day, in every circumstance with truth and love and a whole heart. To be sincere. Authenticity and sincerity will help heal those damaged by crocodile tears, and they definitely won’t land us in one of Dante’s circles.