What is naiveté
I can be very naive at times. How about you?
My family is always kidding me about how naïve I am about some things. For example, if a family member tells me something outlandish, (like there’s such a thing as a Michigan peacock) I’m very apt to believe them because of course, they wouldn’t lie. I easily fall for practical jokes; therefore, people love to pick on me.
The first definition for naïve in the dictionary is “inexperienced”. I’m certainly not inexperienced. I’ve experienced enough of life to know its reality. Another definition is “youthful”. Young people are generally considered naïve. Young people generally trust and believe in people. Young people believe in possibilities.
I’ll take this definition.
According to this definition, it means I trust and believe in people. That’s true. I often walk into situations where I can’t win no matter what because I always believe people can change. Thus, I’m often disappointed because my level of expectation of others is so high sometimes. For example, I am always surprised if someone has said something hurtful about me. I’m naïve enough to believe most people like me.
I am always surprised when other people say or do things that are immoral or unethical. It is totally beyond my understanding to learn that people cheat on their taxes or are undercharged or not charged at all for a purchase and don’t bring it to the clerk’s attention. I’m always surprised when people don’t play fair. I guess I really am naïve.
But that’s o.k. I would rather be the one picked on than the one that does the “picking”. I’d rather be easy to play a joke on than so sophisticated no one would dare. I’d rather be naïve and see the wonder of life, than so jaded I can only see the ugly.
How naiveté is good.
I’m naïve enough to believe that just because the “experts” said I’d continue to suffer depression because I have had some episodes in the past, they’re wrong and that I’m the expert on my health. I’m naïve enough to believe that relationships can improve if people would only be gently honest with each other.
I’ll admit it. I’m naïve.
I’m naïve enough to believe that God still performs miracles. I’m naïve enough to believe that my prayers really matter. I’m naïve enough to believe that God is who He says He is, that He can do what He says He can do, that I am who God says I am, and that I can handle anything God allows in my life. Call me naïve if you will. I call myself smart.
Be smart in your naiveté.
Being naive doesn’t mean one turns their back on evil. That’s not being naive; that’s being foolish and not seeing and acknowledging what is real. It never means you turn your back on evil or don’t seek to make the world a better place. Naiveté doesn’t mean you are a “pollyanna”.
I’m not naive when it comes to finances. I’m not naive when it comes practical things. One would never want to try to convince me of doing anything I don’t want to do. I’m quite capable of defending myself or coming to the aid of someone who needs defending. A “pansy”, I’m not.
And if you’re naive, just remember there are some people and some situations where naiveté needs to be restrained. Believing in and trusting people doesn’t mean you don’t pay attention to your gut. It’s important to recognize the wolves in sheep’s clothing. It’s important to recognize a scam. It’s important to be sharp and astute with your finances. Maybe I should coin a new phrase,”smart naiveté. Or:
Naiveté is more of an attitude of believing in the good in people and looking for it; it certainly doesn’t mean being foolish or careless.
So how about you? Are you willing to be so naive that you think the best of people, even though you can get hurt? Are you naive enough to have others look askew when you say things like, “Yes, I believe in God”? Are you naive enough to just be who you are and let the chips fall where they may?
God bless and I hope you have a good day.