Every once in a while, every person has to be willing to look at him/herself and acknowledge how s/he is not such a good person. Not easy to do, but important. I spend a lot of time writing about how a person can be civil, good, considerate, kind, and so on… and I do not generate these thoughts from a solely outwardly critical gaze. I come to them, mostly, through self-critique (which usually follows a verbal tirade about something I think is not cool, thus signalling the guilty self-analysis of “who am I to talk?”). How does that popular saying go…? Something like: Whatever criticism you throw at others [typically–in one way or another–] can be equally applied to you. So today, at work, I’m discussing one of my biggest peeves with my neighbor: people not washing their hands after going into the restroom, and sick people who don’t cover their sneezes and coughs with their elbows. And I realized something. I am such a hypocrite.
See, I have a chronically sniffly nose. Summer, fall, warm, cold; it doesn’t matter. My nose will be sniffly. So I am a chronic tissue user. To be ecologically friendly, I have switched to recycled tissue products, but to also be kinder to the microbes on my skin I limit the use of hand sanitizer to mainly communal hand-oriented situations (dinner table, socializing events, etc). And washing my hands every time is also hard to achieve when strapped to a desk or away from a sink. It’s a tricky territory–a minefield of all the “right things” to do not adding up to one ideal solution for my nose-issue. So here I am at work, tending to my sniffles and finally realizing that this may be someone else’s peeve (or a version of my own). Yup, I’m a hypocrite.
But here’s the thing with calling myself a hypocrite, and maybe I’m just comforting my ego here, but I think it’s pretty progressive to acknowledge one’s own hypocrisies, contradictions, and inconsistencies. It is a strength quite frankly. People who can turn their critical gaze inward (and create productive solutions for their assessments) are often better parents, colleagues, and friends. They don’t rely on the notion that they’re perfect or untouchable by criticism. They have enough confidence to face criticism head on from the one voice they cannot ignore: their own. They know they have areas needing improvement and are willing to identify them. Every one–at one time or another–is a hypocrite, wouldn’t you agree? So if we can acknowledge it, learn from our “faults” and try to do better next time, we’re doing pretty great! And if you’re reading this blog, you can bet you’re one of those super awesome people! It’s easy to judge our worth by our short-comings, but it’s much better to judge our value by how we deal with our flaws. We are all in need of regular mental/spiritual upkeep. So why not throw some extra gold stars on our slate for how we handle the whole rigmarole?