We don’t like it when people are being hypocritical. But beyond that, we don’t like it when we are being hypocritical. But this post is not about being a hypocrite.
This post is about being a human being who is in the process of self-development.
When you are in the process of developing yourself, you will find yourself in a transition phase. You are neither the person you are and at the same time you are not the person you want to be.
At least not yet.
In that transition phase, it is quite normal to feel like you are a hypocrite. It is understandable that you are uncomfortable in this phase. That feeling of hypocrisy can lead you to abandon the process of self-development altogether and return to your former self.
Sarah and Smoking
For example, Sarah wanted to change her lifestyle. Before, she smoked cigarettes and most of her friends are doing the same. She realized that the habit is dangerous to herself physically and financially.
So Sarah started her journey to change her lifestyle. She reduced the number of cigarettes she smokes per day and joined a smoking cessation program at a local hospital. Her close friends were the first to notice that Sarah was not the same person they knew.
Sarah is now in the transition phase. She is not the smoker that she was before but at the same time, she is not the person she wants to be yet. She still has a long way to go. That is normal in the process of self-development.
But the phase is making Sarah feels uncomfortable. Her close friends started to treat her differently and she feels that there is an increasing gap between her and her friends. She now feels guilty for starting the change and feels like she is not being herself.
The hypocrisy feeling starts to creep in and she is now standing at a fork in the road.
Uprooting Your Old Self
I believe many of us have stood at a fork in the road before. Perhaps you are there right now. Here, you might feel like you are being a hypocrite and you want to return to your former self and make yourself feel better. You might feel like that is the only choice you have.
But that is not true.
You always have a choice. You are not being a hypocrite and there is a simple test that you can use to confirm that. Look at your belief right now. If you believe that you want to be a better person, then you are not a hypocrite.
A hypocrite does not believe in becoming a better person. A hypocrite believes in remaining the same, but only behaves differently on the outside. It is simply a stunt to convey a certain image on the surface, but deep down the hypocrite doesn’t believe in any of it.
That is not you.
You believe in the change and you believe that you should change. Even though on the outside you might stumble here and there, but deep inside you firmly believe in the change. That is what differentiates you from hypocrisy.
Sarah might still smoke every now and then. Her friends might make fun of here and call her a hypocrite. But in her heart, Sarah believes in the person she wants to be and she aspires to be that person one day. That is proof that she is not a hypocrite.
The discomfort you feel about the change is part of the change. It is not hypocrisy. It is you trying to uproot your old self and trying to plant a new one. Uprooting hurts, but it is necessary because you realize that your old self is not benefiting your life.
Just like uprooting an old tree and planting a new tree, the process takes time and energy. You have to be persistent with the work that you are putting in and be patient before you can see the fruits of your labour.
If you ever doubt yourself and still feel the clench of hypocrisy, then ask yourself this question, “What kind of person do I want to be?”
If you want to a different and better version of yourself, then you are not a hypocrite.
This process is never ending because we have a lot of old trees that we don’t want in our garden. So we have to constantly check which tree needs to be removed and plant a new one to make our garden better. Our garden is never finished because it is always a work in progress.
You are always a work in progress.