It is often said that knowing the problem is half the solution, and that establishing an understanding of its dimensions is what allows you to overcome it. This applies to all aspects of life, be them about your work, a family problem, an illness, a physical disability, or even a social disability.
Human behaviour, however, has failed to apply this simple methodology on what may be the most important aspect of all; personal standards.
More often than not, we are faced by situations where a person criticizes a certain aspect or behaviour and we find ourselves musing on the inside, saying something along the lines of, ‘Well, look who’s talking!’ Our everyday lives are filled with depicts of double standards that are confusing, frustrating and exhausting. Such encounters leave us with the desire to preach to the other person on their own shortcomings and to shed a harsh light on their flaws, lest they realize their own contradictions and hypocrisies. Maybe then they will understand that they are criticizing what they themselves harbour inside them.
But before one can actually do that with others, shouldn’t one have that stand with oneself?
In its very essence, human nature is filled with contradiction. There are no rules that can never be broken; there are case-by-case scenarios that determine how far (or low) one will go. You may think that you would never kill another human being, but under the “right” circumstances and pressures, we are all capable of murder. The same goes for stealing, lying, adultery, eavesdropping, backstabbing, and on and on. What tops that list though is hypocrisy.
Yes, to a certain degree, we are all hypocrites! The double standards that we witness in others and that make us want to slap them silly exist within us, too. The contradictions in other people that enrage you are in you, too; they are just different than the ones that trigger your frustration. But they trigger someone else’s frustration, and that person is often left saying to themselves, ‘Well, look who’s talking!’ about you.
By definition, hypocrisy a pretence of having a virtuous character, moral, belief or principles that one does not really possess. With that in mind, think back of how many times you’ve told someone else to be patient when you yourself are incapable of patience? How many times have you told a friend they need to be more assertive with their boss or spouse or child when you yourself have given in countless times? How many times have you felt hurt or insulted because someone you were (supposedly) having a conversation with refused to listen to you, when you have interrupted others on countless occasions, too, just to make a point?
If that isn’t a level of hypocrisy, I don’t know what is.
In a self-searching journey to find out my own contradictions, I have discovered, for example, that I often condemn gossip but fall into it myself sometimes. I have found that I often complain about things that I am personally guilty of, though I prefer to keep the details of this confession to myself for now.
Disabilities are not restricted to physical capabilities; they are actually more evident in our personalities and approaches towards life and others. Just as someone with a chronic disease or special needs makes peace with their disabilities and accepts them as part of themselves, we must make peace with our contradictions and accept our shortcomings as part of who we are.
The real disabilities that reside in us are the ones that we are not fully aware of and that will most probably shock us if we discover them. What you do not know can – and will – hurt you. If we put these disabilities into perspective and accept them as part of who we are, we will instantly become better human beings.
Embrace the hypocrite within. Accept that person as part of who you are, and know that contradictions are in the very DNA of human nature. Denying their existence does not make them un-exist; on the contrary, it makes them more prone to cause irreconcilable damage to your life.
It’s ok to be hypocrite, as long as you are aware of the fact.