This is a pretty simple topic that doesn’t really require much extensive explanation, but I wanted to take some time to go over the dangers of hypocrisy, especially if you put yourself out into the world as a paragon of any given ideology. One of the worst things a person can do is to preach one thing in public and then go into their own private lives and do exactly the opposite. The fastest way to destroy your credibility is through hypocritical action, and it’s nearly impossible to regain any level of trust through this form of dishonesty.
Obviously, there is a difference between hypocrisy and agreement with an idea. For example, there are many virtues I extol here on this blog that I don’t necessarily practice in my own life. It’s perfectly fine to make a statement that things should be a certain way and accept that you’re too flawed to live up to it. No one is perfect, even though we strive to be. Where you start to run into trouble is when you start claiming that you’re an expert or authority on a particular subject, and it turns out you you live your life quite differently than you claim to.
The most public example of this right now, which is the impetus for writing this article, is the recent “beef” between the content creators of the YouTube channels Aba and Preach and the Fresh and Fit Podcast. The short version is that the members of Fresh and Fit went on a rant about a certain activity that they urge their followers not to participate in, and it came to light that they participate in it themselves. Aba and Preach called them out on it and a huge argument erupted online that resulted in threats of physical violence and other such nonsense.
The focus here isn’t really on the drama, but on the fact that a huge level of hypocrisy was on display by the Fresh and Fit team with regard to presenting a lifestyle they don’t necessarily live out in real life. The real danger of putting yourself out in the public space is being revealed as a hypocrite, and it is incredibly important to take great care to avoid any level of perception that you aren’t who you say you are. A private person might get away with a certain amount of hypocritical action, but a public figure is actively going out of their way to present a certain image. If you’re going to do this, you better well practice what you preach.
I’m sure the Fresh and Fit team will somehow survive this particular incident, because too many people today don’t place enough value on honor and integrity for it to really matter to them, but the right decision to make would be to put anything they say in the proper context; in other words, they have no credibility in that space anymore, so why listen to them? While I found their videos entertaining and found several kernels of truth in what they said, it’s difficult to maintain respect for liars.
If you choose to put yourself out into public for view by others, these are the kinds of risks you are taking on. The kinds of things you can get away with as a private citizen don’t fly when you’re on display for all to see, and you are inevitably held to a higher standard than the average Joe on the street. It’s not fair, but it’s just the way it is. If you can’t live up to what you’re preaching to others, it might be a good idea to not place yourself in a position to be judged on those values.
At the very least, don’t make it seem like you’re the master of it when you aren’t.