Growing up in a religious environment I learned early on in life the meaning of hypocrite. It’s a word used by the religious and non-religious. In general most people associate the word with religion. When someone’s behavior doesn’t line up with their religious beliefs they will often be referred to as a hypocrite.
It’s easy to label someone else withe title of hypocrite and much more difficult to acknowledge that you yourself are one. Honestly, until recently I’ve never even considered the possibility of being a hypocrite. Then I began to analyzed my life more. Upon this my eyes were opened to the fact that hypocrisy isn’t just for religion, it’s not confined to that arena.
My first blog post was somewhere around 5 years ago. Writing had never been much of a passion for me and at that time I seen it just as another avenue of growing and developing myself. Looking back the majority of my posts were written with the mindset of what does the reader want to read and what will make me look smart and successful. It was mostly how could I display my life in a manner that would inspire people to change. I was writing compelling posts, things I was learning in my life, yet I wasn’t making these newly learned lessons my core beliefs.
Dave Ramsey fanatic. That has been me for the past 8-10 years. Every book has been read. Conferences have been attended. Hours of The Dave Ramsey Show podcast have been consumed. I’ve memorized the Total Money Makeover Baby-Steps forwards and backwards. Being debt free has always been a goal of mine. However, my actions haven’t been funneled through that goal to keep me on the path. I recently wrote a post on Three Things You Need To Reach Your Goals. They’re Passion, Persistence, and a Plan. I had the passion as there wasn’t a day that went by that I didn’t dream of being debt free. I had the plan, The Total Money Makeover. But I never had persistence. Without persistence you can make short term gains but you will not reach your long term goal. You will lose focus and direction.
After all that learning, reading and talking to people about being debt free I’m not.
When I first realized that for the past ten years of my life I have been a financial hypocrite it stung. To look back and think about all the conversations, blog and social media posts that I have had on the thought of being debt free it made me sick. To set here today and not be debt free after years of writing and talking about it makes me angry. I can’t change my past actions though.
Social media makes it easy to be a hypocrite. Many of us post pictures, articles and quotes of beliefs or ideas that make it seem that our lives are a certain way. Here are a few lessons I have learned in the process of confirming myself a hypocrite. Hopefully these will help prevent you from being a hypocrite.
Be Honest. Don’t only be honest with others but be honest with yourself. If you are walking away from conversations knowing you have been untruthful you need to look deep inside yourself and determine why you felt the need to not be honest. We often have difficult being honest if the truth will cause others to see us with less respect or admiration. If were honest with ourselves and others it will begin to free us of the stress and anxiety of trying to live the life we think others expect us to live.
Believe What You Say. This can be difficult if you are someone who doesn’t like confrontation. This is often seen when discussing politics, religion, and parenting. We all have that person in our life that is very strong minded. They don’t discuss, they tell. If you are someone who doesn’t like confrontation it can be easy to simply agree with the strong minded person in an effort to prevent escalation. When you agree, even with just a head nod or simple “right”, you are saying you have the same belief. If you’re going to say it, believe it.
Compare Your Actions To Your Beliefs. This is the common sense principle in preventing hypocrisy but is often missed. If your belief is that debt is bad but you just bought a new bedroom suit on credit then your actions do not align with your beliefs. You have just became a hypocrite. Write down what you believe and then examine the last year of your life. Do your actions align with your beliefs?
Compare Your Actions To Your Goals. Goal setting is great. I personally set goals at the beginning of the year and throughout. Goal setting is having a desire and potentially writing it down or telling an accountability partner. Without action goals are useless. Posting all your goals on Facebook tells others that you are someone who has goals. Really that’s it. They look and see you have the goal of losing 10 pounds and think you are this dedicated goal oriented person. Without the action behind it your only a goal setting oriented person. Don’t throw an image of yourself out for the world to see if you are not going to back it up with action.
It’s easy to label others with the title of hypocrite. It’s going to sting but analyze and make sure you’re not pointing three fingers back at yourself.