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“I have never met anyone in all my life who wasn’t a hypocrite.” — K.W.

I have heard many people say they don’t go to church because there are too many hypocrites. To that, I say where do you go where there aren’t any? Groucho Marx (the late vaudeville comedian who died a long time ago) became famous in his day for saying he wouldn’t join any club that would have him in it.

I looked up hypocrisy in Brainy Quotes on the internet and only found harsh remarks about the word. Maybe that is an indication of how we treat ourselves—severe and ruthless!

Most people speak poorly of hypocrisy because they don’t like looking in the mirror and seeing it in themselves. When you got up this morning how long do you think it took before you said or did something that was hypocritical?  If you made it till noon you might qualify for being a saint!

Hypocrisy—saying one thing and then doing another—is about the human condition. You announce with great conviction that everyone ought to get up early each morning and exercise. . . then go two days without even thinking about it. Part of being human is consciously saying one thing and doing another. We are not only hypocritical but we are inconsistent. People are erratic about following through with positive, healthy habits. Exercise gyms and diet promotion companies count on it and make a lot of money from our inconsistency. 

We are also incongruent—feeling one way, believing something different, saying something different than what we believe feel, or say, and then ending up doing something different than what we believe, feel, or say. That’s one reason we have such a difficult time with politicians who live this way! In many ways, they reflect the part of who we are and we don’t want to look at!

So, if I am right do we just accept that we are all full of bullshit and just live this way? I have learned that there is a mature way to manage inconsistency, incongruence, and hypocrisy in everyday living.

Consider the following:

1. Live your life in consultation. One of the reasons that attending church became ineffective to me is that it became more about impression management and less about a space to be real, vulnerable, and open-hearted. Often there is a lot of talking about the vulnerability demonstrated by historical figures and little space to open my heart and share about my own. Sadly, church life has very little shared “torn-to-pieces-hood” unless it’s the other guy’s problem.  Addressing hypocrisy is not something historical. It is not a before-and-after testimonial. It is a current everyday challenge that must be opened every time you meet with support for consultation. Twelve-step groups are not unlike any other gathering of people. For the group to be vital, there must be this sense of sharing current inconsistencies, incongruences, and hypocrisies with openness to consultation.

Consultation requires a learner’s heart, vulnerability, and eagerness to incorporate the suggestions into everyday living. If you are not willing to do this then most likely you are not willing to seek consultation as a way of life. Those you utilize as a sounding board will not always be right and don’t need to be. If they are seldom right then you need to seek a new group for consultation. Consultation with a collective group is a way of identifying your hypocrisy and incongruence. When you engage in group consultation as a way of life you checkmate inconsistency in behavior. Living in consultation is an adulting tool that addicts, entrepreneurs, and others struggle to incorporate into their lives. 

2. Incorporate accountability in your decision-making. Addicts and Entrepreneurs like to be individualistic and mavericks. Few live a lifestyle of accountability. People like to talk in terms of team but prefer to call the shots themselves with little interference from others. We tend to be more willing to admit that we have weaknesses or blindspots and less willing to build support around these vulnerabilities.

So when I say that we are all hypocritical in our humanity, you might experience some relief about this human reality. However, the prevention process that comes into play is accountability. So, you are hypocritical, what are you going to do about it? Are you willing to do whatever it takes toward change? Are you willing to make course corrections? Circle back and make amends? Or do you say to hell with it, everyone else is hypocritical.  Are you willing to be answerable to another?

Addicts learn their best isolated thinking gets them into trouble. It would be wise for prideful entrepreneurs to consider the same. In recovery, sobriety contracts are only powerful when they are cinched with accountability. When you break sobriety you commit to tell on yourself to five support partners within 24 hours not only that you acted out against your values but what you are going to do to get back on track.

The prescription for managing inconsistency, incongruence, and hypocrisy is not rocket science. Consultation and accountability are a perfect fit like a warm glove on a cold night. Entrepreneurs who build a solid foundation and addicts who create long-term sobriety and live in serenity incorporate living in consultation and accountability as a way of life.