We’re all hypocrites. Let’s just get that out of the way. We believe in one thing and do another, contradicting ourselves more times than we care to admit, which is exactly why we don’t admit it, even to ourselves.
Not sure where your beliefs and actions clash? I’ll start with a few common hypocrisies to get you thinking:
- Thinking gossip is inherently bad, yet doing it behind others’ backs
- Believing in democracy and not voting
- Being disgusted with child labor, yet purchasing clothing that is made by children
- Loving animals but eating them
- Supporting the idea of a charity, but never contributing
So admit it, you’re a hypocrite. It’s okay. I’m a hypocrite, too. Everybody is. Life is too complicated and the world too large for our actions to always perfectly align with our beliefs.
For example: I don’t eat meat because I don’t want to support the slaughter of animals, especially in factory farms. Yet, I own three cats, all of whom eat a diet consisting of dead animals. Would I deprive them of meat? Absolutely not; they (unlike humans) actually need it to survive. But every time I buy a bag of cat food, I know that I am in fact supporting the slaughter of animals. Sure, I could get rid of my animals to rid myself of the moral weight of feeding them, but I could never. All of my cats are rescues, and I love that I am able to help provide them with happy lives, and that they, in turn, provide me companionship. I have found a way to justify my hypocrisy to myself, so I can live with it.
I’ve found that most prefer not to confront their moral contradictions. It’s uncomfortable to do so. My purpose in calling everybody out is not to chastise, but to spark reflection and break down our egos. It’s often easy to think we have it all figured out and look down at somebody who doesn’t agree with our point-of-view.
I’m also not trying to say that we should all be on board with abandoning our moral compass or ignoring the wrongdoings of others. There are certain things we can all agree are wrong. I’m saying we should look inside ourselves to see where maybe we’re not being the most true to ourselves and determine where we can improve and which moral ambiguities we can live with. After doing the emotional legwork, I would hope we could all be a little more understanding of those who don’t have the same beliefs as ourselves.
That’s not to say that we should stop challenging beliefs, whether they belong to us or another hypocrite out there.