So, there’s this funny thing that many of us do: we criticize others without realizing we have the same characteristics we’re criticizing in them but just in a different way. We act like hypocrites all the time.
Not you? You never do that? You only criticize people when they deserve it? Right.
They say we hate in others what we hate in ourselves. Have you ever considered that that could actually be true? I know the more I think about, the truer it becomes for me.
I won’t be surprised if that one person that always tells everyone to “stop being racist” says something like “those ethnic pygmies from the Congo can’t understand theoretical physics.” Oh, what’s that? Is that a thought you had at the back of your mind too? How funny. We’re always doing the same things we condemn others for. And the worst part is that we don’t have the sense to realize when we’re being hypocrites.
So, let’s burst some bubbles today. Here are 7 ways you’re being a hypocrite when you criticize other people:
1. You Criticize Musicians For Using Autotune
“There are no real musicians these days. All of them just fake their voices with autotune. And the instrumentals? All computerized. None of them have talent!”
Right. Unlike you, upstanding human being, who has pure talent that you don’t ever need to amplify with technology. What about that one time that time that you spent five hours on YouTube trying to perfect your English essay? Wasn’t that you using technology to enhance your natural writing talent? Oh, it’s not the same?
And why don’t you criticize athletes for using tarred tracks and friction enhanced shoes to run faster? Are they not enhancing their natural talents using technology? Those shoes that Adidas and Nike pay several million dollars for exercise scientists to design? That’s not technology?
Can I tell you something that you might not be quite happy to hear? You yourself use technology to enhance your talents in many ways. Quit being a hypocrite, sit down and enjoy the music without tearing it apart.
2. You Criticize Millennials for Using Social Media
“They should just put down all those screens and be present. Live in the moment, and enjoy ‘real life’. Why do they need to go to a concert and watch it through their phones while they can watch the real thing? This is the lost generation! All their ancestors are looking down on them and shaking their heads in disappointment.”
But don’t we all do fun things for the memories? What if they told you that if you go to that concert with your favorite artist, you would have to go alone, and right after the concert you would forget the entire experience so you would never be able to tell it to your friends, or grandkids or to even write it in your diary. It would just be gone altogether as if it never happened. Would you still be able to enjoy it the same way?
Why do we go to concerts? Why do we go on vacations and expeditions on the other side of the continent? Why do we do these “fun” things? Is it not so we can create good memories of these experiences that we can share with others and reminisce on later in life? Is it not so we can share these special experiences with the people who matter to us and build stronger relationships with them?
It’s human nature to want to retell and remember good times. That’s why books and cameras were invented. For us to be able to remember and to share good times, and fond memories with those we love and the general posterity.
So when I’m taking a picture of my breakfast and posting it on Instagram, I’m fulfilling my natural human desire to share my life with other people. You would be doing the same if you tell your boyfriend or girlfriend about your experience at Starbucks over your dinner later in the evening.
What’s wrong if I prefer to do it more accurately by taking a picture of my food and telling my story around it? What’s the difference between me wanting to use that picture to remember that strange lady that interrupted my breakfast so I can tell the story to my friends and you making a note about the same experience in your diary?
We all do it for the mental pictures and the stories. Some of us just choose to have actual pictures to perfect our mental ones and to help us tell our stories better.
Guess what? When I go to a concert, I’m enjoying every minute of it. I’m enjoying it so much that I want to be able to remember it so I can relive it and enjoy it once again in the future. I’m loving it so much that I want to capture every minute of it on my phone so I can watch it over and over later. Like an unlimited supply of spiritual candy. I’m going to share it with my friends later and we will bond over it. Just as you would tell your friends about a concert you went to and you would have the chance to bond over it with them.
If you’re going to admit that you like being able to remember things and to share memories with others, then you’re being a hypocrite when you criticize millennials for wanting to do the same through social media.
3. You Criticize People for Wanting to Look Beautiful
It’s superficial, right? They should be more like you, upstanding human, and care more about polishing their inner qualities and not their outer ones.
“Nicki Minaj got breast implants? That B should quit being so fake. Show us something natural that booty with some stretch marks. Quit making girls feel insecure like that. Make them feel insecure the way we do: Tell them they should be ashamed of themselves for not being thin enough.’”
Of course, you spending hours at the gym to get your perfect body is nothing like what Nicki is doing, right? Have you ever asked yourself why you think that way? Is it because you’re doing it to be physically healthy and she’s just doing it to be mentally healthy?
Nicki Minaj might feel more confident having a perkier body so that contributes to her mental health. But of course, self-esteem and confidence aren’t as important as physical health. It’s not like people are jumping off bridges because of depression, hopelessness, and low self-worth, is it?
“Oh, but what about the girls that are getting insecure because of all these Instagram models?” So, if Mary and Jane both have broken arms, and Jane has the opportunity to fix her broken arm but Mary doesn’t, Jane shouldn’t fix her broken arm because that would make Mary insecure? If I can do something that will make me feel more confident, I shouldn’t do it because other people can’t do the same and I would be making them feel insecure? Got it. Next time don’t drink that glass of clean water, hey. Not everyone gets to have clean water.
The truth is Nicki Minaj is just as good a role model as Meghan Trainor. If you can improve your confidence and self-esteem by doing something to your body, going to the gym or having enhancements, go ahead and do it. That’s the side of the coin Nicki represents. On the other hand, you should also know that you’re perfectly fine and beautiful even if you don’t embody society’s standards of beauty. That’s what Meghan represents. Both these kinds of role models need to exist.
4. You Criticize People for Conforming
When someone extends their hand to greet you, do you refuse to shake their hand because you don’t want to be a conformist? At the grocery store, do you shove yourself to the front of the line just to be a rebel?
We all conform to society’s standards in some way. We all want to be loved and accepted by the communities we belong to, so we agree with the rules they’ve laid out for us. Even when saying things like “be yourself and do your own thing” you’re conforming to the rule that everyone should be allowed to do whatever they want.
Why then do you look at it sideways if someone wants to follow the rules of their culture and get an arranged marriage? If a woman wants to let her husband have the last word because he’s the man, isn’t she just adhering to a social standard laid out for her? Why call her a conformist?
I have a guess. I think the problem is that we have come to expect everyone to be an activist for the things that we personally believe in. If we support feminism and someone doesn’t seem to actively speak out against what we consider to be against the feminist movement, we call them conformists. Or sometimes we might go as far as calling them the opposite of what we’re advocating for. We call them sexist for wanting their husbands to be the head of the house or for wanting to wear a hijab.
Some women just want to become housewives and raise their children. Some children just want to become doctors, lawyers, and engineers instead of venturing into arts. And some of these children, when they become engineers and doctors, will want to live in their parents’ house until they get married because that’s what their culture suggests.
We’re all conforming to society in some ways. It’s just that some people do it in a way that makes you think they oppose your social agenda. If you’re going to point fingers at people and call them conformists, point a finger to yourself too at least. Because otherwise, you’ll just be a first-rate hypocrite.
5. You Criticize People Who Don’t Advocate for The Social Issues You Defend
So, you love animals. You’re vegan, you only wear faux fur, and you love puppies. But can you believe that Susan is out there eating big macs every day, wearing leather, and not having even a single puppy? How dare she, right? This is a crucial cause that everyone must support.
Or maybe you’re a fitness fanatic. You love to work out every day, and you don’t eat anything that edges too close to the unhealthy column. You make sure to always caption your Instagram gym photos with “make sure you get your workout complete today.”
But can you believe that Bob orders pizza every day, and doesn’t ever work out? How dare he, right? Everybody should know how important and absolutely paramount it is to take care of their health. All those who don’t, all those who aren’t skinny enough are being selfish. How dare they risk causing so much pain to their friends and family with an early death. Right?
Do yourself a favor. Google a list of important social issues and see how many of them you actively advocate for.
You’re out here preaching about animal rights and the importance of physical health. Did you know that there are other animals that drown in the water you drink to keep yourself healthy? Those animals are called humans. Immigrants stuck in the Mediterranean. Immigrants that no one wants to let in because they aren’t animal enough for their rights to matter. Do you speak up for them? Or is this not important enough of a social issue?
Or maybe it’s just too far away from your immediate concerns for you to be worried about it. Have you ever considered that animal rights could also be too far away from the immediate concerns of some people for them to tweet about them?
There are millions of people dying of Malaria every year all across Africa. Do you advocate for their right to nets and Malaria medicine? Or is it again just too distant an issue for you to be concerned about?
We will all advocate for issues that are closest to us. You might feel like animal rights tug at your heart strings the strongest. Susan might wish to go start a movement for every African child to live a Malaria free life. It doesn’t mean that anyone of you is the better human compared to the other.
You can’t go around calling people evil or insensitive for not supporting the causes you support. Because otherwise, you’ll have to call yourself doubly insensitive for not supporting other important social causes and for calling someone else insensitive just because they don’t see things the way you do. You don’t get to be a hypocrite.
Life and let live. Support the causes you’re most passionate about, and when others don’t show concern for these same causes, don’t go calling them names. Let them also support the causes they’re most passionate about.
Sit Down, Be Humble, and Stop Being a Hypocrite
We are all flawed in many ways, and we all fail to meet the standards. Not being a hypocrite doesn’t mean that you have to say there are no standards for us to aspire to achieve. It’s about admitting that you also fail to meet the standards laid out for you. We all fail to stay on the right side of morals. We all fail to be good people all the time. And it’s okay to be less than perfect.
Why don’t you do yourself a huge favor? The next time you feel like criticizing someone for something, do some self-search first. See if you don’t do exactly what you’re about to criticize them for but just in a different way. That way, you can stop the hypocrisy before it even begins.