“Hello Kettle, this is the Pot. You’re black.”
You know the old saying, and its crude and derogatory lecture on hypocrisy – overused and trite as it may be. The fact is, there is a lot of it still roaming the surface of the planet.
Hey – it’s election season, what do you expect?
But the hypocrisy I’m referring to is more commonplace, more mundane. Take for example the blogger who holds up someone else’s work for criticism – actually, for assault is more like it – then when subjected to a bit of analysis him- or herself has the audacity to not only complain, but to whimper about being “kicked when I’m down” so to speak. It brings to mind the old school yard taunt: you can dish it out, but you can’t take it.
It is hypocritical to call yourself enlightened when you stoop to the sneak attack and then lie about your motives. It is hypocritical to lay written and verbal assaults on others, then claim to be wounded – and innocent – when the other party strikes back.
Hypocrisy reigns throughout society. Citing incidents in our government is pointless because we’d be here all day. Big business is guilty of it on a mammoth scale. But what concerns me most is what we, the individuals, are teaching our children by buying into this culture of blame and retreat, of hold others to one standard but living by another.
I don’t claim to be a perfect or enlightened person. I’m a flawed, frail human being who is doing the best I can do under the current set of circumstances. I make mistakes. I do things I regret. I say things I wish I could take back. But I don’t pass the buck and I don’t claim to be something I’m not. If someone lashes out at me, I’m not a “turn the other cheek” kind of gal. I will stand up and say “Oh really? Shall we turn that spot light back on you?”
If you push me hard enough, I will push back, so if you don’t like being shoved, get your elbows away from me. I’m a very patient person, and I really have to be incited for me to respond. But rest assured, I will respond. What I won’t do is turn myself into a hypocrite by choice. I won’t pretend to be one way when I’m really another. I won’t teach my children to pass the blame, nor to take the blame for others. I won’t teach my children that they can point the finger elsewhere when it should be pointed at themselves. I won’t teach them to hide behind their insecurities and mistakes by trying to shift their responsibilities to others. I won’t teach them to be hypocrites.
In a culture where our highest elected officials refuse to be accountable for their actions (and I’m talking both sides of the political aisle here), where corporations ruin environments, communities, and lives and then try to blame the shareholders and the government for their wrong doings, and where it is easier to blame your exhusband, your exwife, your exlover for the lousy choices you’ve made in your own life, how are we to raise our kids to take responsibility for themselves? How do we show them how to take control of their lives instead giving up control to the various and transient influences they will encounter? By taking responsibility ourselves.
I’m responsible for what I say. I’m responsible for how I feel. I’m responsible for all the good things, and all the bad things that I do. I own the choices I make. I own my life and all I do with it. It’s that simple. When I feel I owe an apology, I give it. If I don’t feel I owe one, I won’t. I won’t become a bully, but I won’t roll over and be a doormat to anyone, ANYONE, because I have far more self respect than that.
Though I may act in what are hypocritical ways upon hindsight, I will endeavor to act in ways that are true to my personal integrity. That’s all I can do. I can’t control the rest of the world and all of the hypocrites who live in it, I can only control me, and that’s enough of a struggle right there.
I’ve never been good at playing games with people. That’s what led to my divorce. After four and a half years, I was tired of pretending to be happy. I called off the game and let someone else have a chance at it. I don’t play games in my current marriage (14 years married, 16 of being together). When I perceive a problem, I address it. I don’t want to run the risk of misinterpretation, so I lay the issue on the table and we discuss it until it’s resolved.
I don’t play games at work. Sometimes that leads to leaving jobs that I’ve only held a few years, but I’d rather have a lot of jobs on my resume’ than to sacrifice my integrity to hypocrisy.
I won’t play games with my writing. I don’t know all there is to know about being a good writer, so I continue to study, to read, to learn. I put into practice what I’ve learned, and I try to share the information when I can because I believe the world needs better writers. To do anything less again leads me to hypocrisy.
It’s a simple formula, ultimately. I have to live with me. I don’t answer to anyone else, except the higher power in whom I believe. I do the best I can do at the time I’m doing it. I move forward. And when I encounter hypocrisy, I call it out and deal with to the best of my limited ability, whether it’s my own or someone else’s. In the end, I don’t much care what the rest of the world has to say about it, with the possible exception of my kids and my beloved. But I already know I have their love and support, so I don’t spend time dwelling on that.
Ultimately hypocrisy and insincerity are discovered for what they are (think Jim & Tammy Fae Baker, snake oil salesmen, and people who try to collect money for imaginary causes). While I’m not perfect, and I’m not always successful, I try to live my life with sincerity for what I do: from my family, to my writing, to my teaching, and to my other activities. If we could just get our politicians and businesses to follow suit.