I've heard the word "hypocrite" thrown around a lot lately. What exactly is a hypocrite anyway? According to Merriam-Webster a hypocrite is:
A person who claims or pretends to have certain beliefs about what is right but who behaves in a way that disagrees with those beliefs.
A person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings.
We are all on crazy high-alert these days for hypocrisy in all it's many forms. It's so fun to throw stones right now isn't it? It feels vindicating to point out EVERYONE ELSE'S hypocrisy and sit on our moral high horses knowing that we ourselves are untouchable. There is so much hypocrisy OUT THERE and so much of it makes us SO MAD!!!
So all this has got me thinking about the hypocrisy in my own life. When all is said and done, we each have to look at ourselves in the mirror every day and account for our behavior - so I decided to account for some of mine. I spend a lot of time with myself so I figured I'd be a good person to start with. Since I am tired of reading about and watching all of my friends tear each other down for their hypocrisy (assumed or actual), I thought I’d go ahead and pick apart some of my own for your entertainment.
Here are just a few things I came up with that equal all of the first world hypocrisy in my own life. I am sure I was WAAAAAAY too easy on myself here, but this is just a starting point. I expect I will find a lot more as I dig deeper:
1. I care about the environment. I buy a lot of organic groceries. I live in a townhome and I refuse to buy a bigger house or more land because I feel it's wasteful and we don't need anything bigger that's going to cause a bigger footprint than we already make as a family. I also regularly buy paper plates, paper napkins and paper towels because I am a busy mom and sometimes all the dishes are dirty and there is no time to clean them. I also drive a gas powered car. A lot. I live in the suburbs and everything is far away, so even though I have the smaller footprint with the house, I more than make up for it with the car.
2. I use all-natural laundry soap, hand soap and dish soap so I can keep from putting more chemicals into the water we use. I also use chemical laden shampoo, conditioner and hair products because it works better on my hair. And because vanity.
3. I have lots of glass containers to put left over food into. It keeps the waste down and doesn't let plastic chemicals leach into our food. I also buy ziplock bags. I use them sometimes because it is easier. There is also a container of plastic wrap in my drawer.
4. I only have two kids. I drive a mini van. It is easier when we travel (which we do more of now that the kids are a bit older). I believe in global warming and not adding to that problem, but I still have to get to Grandma and Grandpa’s on the weekends and it's nice to get there with a bit of leg room.
5. I am a self-labeled feminist. I wear makeup almost every day. It's rarely environmentally friendly makeup because that is too expensive. I feel like I am less of a human without makeup on (societal conditioning). I also dress in socially appropriate/feminine/acceptable ways. While I choose not to show a lot of skin (mostly out of a deep rooted self-consciousness), I admit that I enjoy looking nice in that same, feminine, socially acceptable “I Feel Pretty” kind of way.
6. Speaking of feminism, my husband and I have assumed very traditional roles. He is the main breadwinner. I work from home with the kids. I also handle most of the interior housework. He mows the lawn and fixes things. We didn’t really plan this, it just kind of evolved. We trade off tasks when we need to, but we usually gravitate back to our “roles”.
7. I support LGBTQ rights in so many fundamental ways, but I still eat at Chick-fil-a in a pinch. Sometimes it is the only place I can pick up dinner and feed my kids that is on the way to dance class. I try not to admit that I do this because every time I do it I feel guilty and dirty and like I am betraying a large percentage of my friends over my choice of chicken nuggets. Then there is the food packaging that gets thrown into the landfill. So much for recycling.
8. I really believe in recycling. I separate out my cans and plastics and paper each and every week. I pick up trash at the local watershed trash pick up event every spring. I am a member there. I also make a lot of trash. A LOT. My whole family does. We try to be reasonably responsible, but we are busy. It just doesn’t make it onto the priority list every single day. Now granted we don't dump our trash directly into the steam we clean up, but who knows where it goes after it leaves our house? I sure don't.
9. Speaking of house, and recycling – I just redid most of the inside of my house because after living in it for 15 years it was wearing out and broken. So basically reduce, reuse, recycle is great in theory, but I just filled a large portion of the landfill with most of the contents of my home.
10. I shop second hand for a lot of clothing. I am against child labor and support fair wages and working conditions. I support reduce, reuse, recycle. I also buy a fair amount of my kid’s (and my own) clothes at department stores. Sometimes there are things you can’t buy second hand and sometimes it is nice to have something new.
11. I don’t like Walmart. I don’t like how they’ve killed small businesses. I bought a can of pringles there last week because it was the only store nearby that had them and we needed the can for a project. Oh and when we were done with the project we threw the whole thing away. I also order things off Amazon. A lot.
12. Speaking of Pringles, I'm not a super huge fan of GMO’s but I bought Pringles.
13. I believe in quality, public education for everyone ... AND... I homeschool my kids. The reasons vary and I choose to keep them personal so you can make whatever assumptions you want. There are a lot of them, but I still pay my taxes happily and assume someday my kids may attend public school.
Ok. Lucky 13! I am sure there is WAY more I could add to this very superficial list, but I figured this is a good enough starting point to give you an idea of the absurdity with which I conduct myself. Now I invite you to put on your Judgy McJudgester pants and tell me what a terrible person I am.
JUDGE ME. It's really ok. I can take it. I judge myself more than you probably ever will anyway.
I feel like I am basically a good person, and I've made a lot of what I consider to be good choices, but just looking at the above list with my outsider eyes, I also look like a complete, hypocritical, suburban, pseudo-feminist, pseudo-environmentalist a**hole.
You see, it all depends on the SPIN. When I look at my list - I can totally see how someone would look at my life and be OUTRAGED (or at a very minimum mildly annoyed) by all of the things I say I believe in (good intentions) but that I don't act in accordance with 100% of the time (poor execution). So what makes me a good person??? Is it my intentions? Is it that I at least TRY to do things in the best way I can? Is it that I TRY to be kind to everyone? Is it that I TRY to raise socially responsible kids? Is it that I SAY I believe in certain things even though it's super hard to actually address them every single minute of every single day? Are we the sum of our actions 100% of the time? (Because if that's the case, I think the vast majority of us are in deep trouble).
I think for the most part, every person thinks they are basically a good person -- but we all have a tendency to judge ONLY the parts we disagree with in EVERYONE ELSE and ONLY the parts we see as positives in OURSELVES. Denial is not just a river in Egypt.
So in short…
My life = hypocrisy in action.
So I invite you to take a break from stone throwing for a bit and make your own list. Really look at where the hypocrisy is in your life. It might make you pause for JUST a second before throwing all of those rocks at every other person that is such a horrible, hypocritical moron. It also might make you take a long, hard look at where you can do better. You can't control EVERYONE ELSE (Dangit!!!), but you can control yourself.
So enjoy my list, leave me some mean comments if you feel it’s necessary to spend energy on that, and by all means, if you see hypocritical things I am doing that bother you, feel free to point them out. I could use the feedback. But I'd also like to know about what it is that you are being hypocritical about. Because fair is fair - right? I shared, now you share.
Glass houses sure are pretty. If we all lived on those pretty glass houses, perhaps we'd all be just a little kinder to each other.
© 2018 Krysta Bernhardt. All Rights Reserved.