hypoocrisy – (n) behaviour in which a person pretends to have higher standards than is the case.
hypocrite – (n) a person who pretends to have higher standards than is the case.
irony – (n) a situation that appears to be the opposite to what is expected.
ironic – (adj) happening in the opposite way to what is expected.
(Oxford Dictionary of Current ENGLISH, 4th Ed., 2006)
I’ve spent much of this week feeling angry and frustrated with a world that says one thing and does another. I have, at times, wanted to bang my head against a wall. My normally compassionate personality has been tested and tried.
Maybe you can relate…
The world: “Hey kiddo, I’ll be there for you. I’ll lift you up. I’ll bring you sunshine when skies are gray.”
Me: “Oh, great! Here’s the thing, I -”
The world: “Sorry, I’m too busy right now. Maybe later.”
So, seriously, has the world become one big hypocritical mess? Or am I way off the mark? Isn’t it ironic that a world in which we spend a huge amount of time helping and being there for others will fail to do the same in return? Where did honouring one’s word disappear to? Has technology and social media held us less accountable for what we say and do?
First off, let me say that this blog fits under the category of Keeping It Real, and that’s exactly what I intend to do. There will be no mincing words here. (Hang on, this could be an interesting ride.) Secondly, I’ll be perfectly honest as usual. I am NOT sitting on a pedestal here, looking down from my Ivory Tower, and pointing fingers. This blog is just as much about ME as it is about anybody. Most of us know the saying, “People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.” While I have tried to always keep in mind this proverb which warns against hypocrisy, I know that on many occasions I have fallen short. So, trust me, I’m not throwing any stones; I’d like to think of it more as tossing a few pebbles at an open window.
The reality is that we all get busy and we do “drop the ball” on things from time to time. It’s what makes us human. What is especially frustrating are a series of broken promises and repeated lamentations. Some of us spend hours promising things that we never come good on and lamenting over issues in our lives, but we do nothing to break the patterns that we have created. I realize that pattern breaking is not always easy and, yes, our intentions can be good and things “just happen” and can get in the way of keeping our word. But when broken promises and lamentations start to affect how we handle relationships and friendships, and when people get hurt, that’s when problems can occur.
Lamenting our past mistakes, yet continuing in the same direction, even advancing towards them and with them “hand-in-hand” so-to-speak, can be seen as hypocritical but it also creates a form of irony. It’s ironic when we make claims to wanting to break free from a pattern and to initiate change, yet we create situations which just further, even nourish, the pattern development. Perhaps, we lack the ambition to actually jumpstart change. We may even lack the confidence to move forward.
Another reality is that we live in a society of instant gratification. Text messaging, social media, even email, can give us an immediate outlet and an equally immediate reaction. What we must be cautious of is “thinking before we speak” (or type). We can become perceived as hypocritical when we make public statements that we don’t live up to and things can quickly turn ironic when we find ourselves in situations that we said we would never allow to happen, even situations that we have reviled (maybe even thrown stones at?) in other people’s lives.
Now some of us may question ourselves on hypocrisy and claim that we are “fence sitters”, but I prefer to think of it as “being able to see things from different perspectives”. Some of us can see different sides to different issues and can relate accordingly. I think that this is actually a very great quality to have. It is termed as empathy when we can recognize emotions that are being experienced by someone else. Empathy leads to compassion. Compassion leads to love and understanding, which I believe should be our human goals here on earth. Being able to view and understand things from different perspectives can allow us broaden our horizons and to keep our minds open to other realms of thinking. Empathy is different from hypocrisy.
In pondering all of this and, yes, even doing some of my own lamenting, I started thinking about ways to avoid being hypocritical. (I sincerely believe that these ideas are actually a good start to holding myself accountable for my own words and, consequently, my own actions.)
Here’s my short list:
1) Don’t make promises you can’t (or don’t plan to) keep.
Do what you say you will, even if it means inconveniencing yourself. Your word is your bond. (Well, at least it used to be in the ‘good old days’.) Your integrity comes clearly under inspection here. If you don’t do what you say you will (repeatedly, forming a pattern), most often your integrity will be called into question. Lack of integrity also means that your trustworthiness will doubted as well.
2) Less is More.
Say less. Surprise people by doing more. Enough said.
3) Silence speaks volumes.
Sometimes the best way to respond is not to respond at all. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. (I just typed that in my momma’s voice — she’s one smart lady!) Likewise, if you don’t think you will be able to do it, don’t offer to. (See #1 also).
4) Words can never be taken back, only forgiven (if you’re lucky). Use them wisely.
Once said, even written, words cannot be taken back. Choose your words wisely because they represent you. If your words are false promises and hypocritical statements that’s most likely the way you will be viewed also. (See #1).
5) Let it sort.
Trust that things will sort out the way they are supposed to. Sometimes we just need to sit back, think, and allow our thoughts to settle before we can see a clear picture of how to proceed. I believe that things happen for a reason and God always knows what’s best.
So, my final thoughts:
In a world where time is precious and life seems too short, can we really afford to be hypocritical? Can we afford to jeopardize our integrity with false promises? Can we remain stuck in patterns (maybe even destructive ones), lamenting our situations simply because it’s “comfortable” or because we lack the ambition to change? Can we see past the irony of this hypocritical world?
I believe that we simply can’t put a price on our integrity. Our trustworthiness is not easily reinstated. Our compassion and respect for one another must be a priority.
At least that’s the view from this glass house.
(Dear Readers, Thank you again and again for your continued reads, likes, comments, and shares. Please remember to like our page on facebook, Writing For The Love of It. We still hope to achieve our challenge of 250 likes by the end of January! Yours sincerely, ~ K ~)