Hypocrisy is the act of pretending that one has beliefs, opinions, virtues, feelings, qualities or standards that they do not actually have; this is usually done in order to mask their actual motives or feelings; falseness.
The term hypocrite is widely misused. Many persons state that hypocrisy is the action of ‘not practising what you preach’. It is easy to see the resemblance, and completely understandable why there has been widespread confusion. However, this, like many others, is an incorrect definition.
1. a pretense of having a virtuous character, moral or religious beliefs or principles, etc., that one does not really possess.
2. a pretense of having some desirable or publicly approved attitude
I’ve recently been aware that I’ve misunderstood the meaning of the word hypocrisy – I was one who believed the meaning to be ‘not practicing what you preach’. I’ve often felt hypocritical in my actions when they do not align with the things I say or believe. And, while I’m somewhat relieved that I’m not actually a hypocrite, I’m left looking for a word that describes the conflict I feel and struggle with.
For example, I firmly believe that buying my produce from local farmers is the best choice for all involved, yet its rare that I actually purchase my produce from local farmers. By definition, this is not a hypocritical act, but I’m still very conflicted about it.
The conflict is about choosing convenience over food that I know will taste better. I choose to eat food that has travelled the country before getting to my refrigerator because the produce is more accessible to me and my crazy-life-schedule. This feels entirely hypocritical because I have been known to preach about the personal, social and ecological benefits of local eating, yet I do not default to this practice. However, according to the dictionary, hypocrite is not the right word. But somehow, conflict does not seem like the right word either.
For me, local eating is a goal that requires a lifestyle changes, and I’m working on that. One day, I hope to make local food my default, and cross-country food the exception.
But, what about the Tahoe that we recently bought? One friend told us we needed to turn in our hippy cards due to this purchase. Another friend simply said “dude, I thought you were supposed to be earthy?”. My feeling on the subject is this – being earthy does not mean I need to suffer on road trips in a small, underpowered vehicle. It also doesn’t mean that I need to spend entirely too much money to get a hybrid version of the same vehicle to make myself feel more smug. I do not feel I need to martyr myself by being miserable on vacations for the sake of saving some gas. Also of note – this is not a daily driver for either of us. When one of our other (admittedly gas-guzzling) vehicles dies, we will likely replace it with something small and environmentally more friendly.
This, I suppose is the root of my internal (and external) struggles with finding my place in life and keeping my focus. I try my best to make decisions that first benefit myself, and second benefit my community, my environment, my world. I struggle to not let my direction be guided by societal norms and stereotypes, but it is a difficult line to walk when I’m keeping my feet in two different worlds.