The other day, someone called me a hypocrite.
It really hurt.
I like to think of myself as someone who is honest and authentic, and someone who lives by their principles – to the best of my abilities, of course.
It still hurt.
And then I remembered the Japanese saying about how we all have three faces: the first face, we show to the world; the second face, we show to our close friends and family; and the third face, we never show anyone. It is this third face that is the truest reflection of who we are.
I didn’t feel any better. This theory just confirmed my lack of authenticity.
But it also verified that we are all the same in that regard. I felt a little better.
But why did it matter so much? After all, it’s none of my business what other people think of me.
It continued to gnaw at me.
So I did what any sane human could do at 10pm with that information.
I went to sleep.
When I woke up, I did all my various daily practices (gratitude list, prayer, yoga, meditation) and realised I didn’t actually care.
It wasn’t that I’d stopped caring what someone else thought of me, rather I looked to my own inner compass and concluded that for the issue that I was being judged on, I had a clear conscience. I had done my best, I had followed my principles, I had looked at the problem from all angles before embarking on my chosen solution.
If other people (apparently there were more than one) thought I was a hypocrite, they were entitled to that belief. Just because someone believes something, it doesn’t make it true. It reminded me of how my oldest two call my youngest child a “cry-baby”. It’s only because it’s something that she doesn’t want to be that the comment niggles at her (or more accurately, sends her into a flurry of tears). But it doesn’t mean that it’s true.
And as I realised this, there was something else that crept into my mind: that I cannot remember I time that I have called someone a hypocrite.
They say that what we see in others is a reflection of ourselves. I have made many judgments about people, everything from lazy and selfish, to kind and sincere. I am well aware that these are all qualities that I possess, in greater or lesser degrees, within myself. Hypocrisy is not one of them.
And suddenly, I felt very proud of myself. I had talked myself off a ledge – even if I had put myself there in the first place.
It’s a good feeling to feel like a real adult.
And it’s probably about time.