I don’t know about you, but I used to despise hypocrisy in others and I fought to keep my own hidden by denying it existed. The only one who believed me was me and even I knew I was lying, and I believe lying is wrong. This is just one of my personal hypocrisies.
Yes, it still annoys me in others, but it really annoys me when it’s mine.
I’ve talked to several people who fear revealing the times in their lives they’ve done or said something counter to their core beliefs and convictions.
I’ll tell you what I tell them: We’re all hypocrites. If we say we aren’t we’re lying.
Here’s an example: I was sitting in a restaurant enjoying a solo lunch. My peace was interrupted by a passionate discussion several tables away. A group of Democrats tore into the Republicans. (I am Republican) They used raw, vile language to describe my side of the voting aisle. They called us vulgar names. (hate-monger, homophobe, and stupid were only a few)They slung labels around like Frisbees and claimed conservatives were the side that used hate language. They praised themselves as the party of humanity, open-mindedness, intelligence, generosity, and kindness. They let anyone listening know they were progressive and anyone else was “willing living in ignorance in the dark ages.” During their diatribe my emotions ranged from shock to anger and back again. Finally one of them said, “They’re all a bunch of hypocrites.” I’d like to say I responded with great intelligence and debated them with finesse. I didn’t. I kept my thoughts to myself.
During this verbal lashing, these accusers proclaimed their own self-righteousness – the very thing they despise in people like me. Really – as they condemned us, they grew more confident in their arrogance. Their voices raised, hands clapped and others pounded the table. They were right and anyone who believed differently was wrong.
The part that left a lump in my throat was this: I saw myself in them. I’ve sat in groups of people who believe like me and have joined in as we said similar things about those with opposing beliefs.
After a deep self-evaluation, I wrote: When we go from confident in our convictions to self-righteous, we taint the truth of our message, shut communication down, and we become the thing we despise: hypocrites.
As I write my Legacy, I’m admitting to the times I acted virtuous, and wasn’t or compromised a core conviction. I prefer confession to defending myself or accusing someone else. There’s a happy “side-effect” to this: acknowledging my pretenses makes me more aware of them and liberates me from those in the past I regret.
Here’s an interesting truth no matter what side of the aisle you vote for: the very act of calling someone else a hypocrite is hypocrisy.
Until next time,
Joy DeKok, author, speaker, author coach, and social media manager.
You can order Your Life, a Legacy in the Kindle version HERE. The print version is still in process.