Hypocrisy is a tricky thing, isn’t it? It’s like a force that constantly tugs from one side of a very thin line. The line of judgmentalism. We hate to think of ourselves as judgmental, yet we cross that line often and easily. Blindly.
We get our judgmentalism from seeing our Shadow projection in others. Our Shadow is where we stuff undesirable traits we have recognized in ourselves, repressing them from our awareness into our unconscious. That means we have been, at least at some point, intimately familiar with those characteristics and ways of thinking. We have identified them as part of ourselves too distasteful to cope with psychologically. But our intimate familiarity makes it easier for us to see those qualities in others. This underlies the maxim, “You spot it, you got it.”
When we are ready to confess this maxim, we understand the depth of our own hypocrisy. This doesn’t make “it” OK in you, nor the others in whom you spot it. We only “spot” it because our own eyes spot our own guilt, and spot in someone else the very trait or complex we own darkly.
This self-recognition of our hypocrisy is one of countless ways the Higher Power makes goodness out of badness. It is the enormous value of coming to see our own dark parts, and can connect us with others much more deeply, and with our own identities. Realizing our imperfections and frailty, we realize everyone else also carries their own burdensome Shadow.
This growth in awareness informs our attitude and actions toward others, and is called “compassion.” Often, the eyes of our compassion fall lastly on us ourselves. But self-compassion seems absolutely required for our other-centered compassion to be authentic. If we look upon others compassionately, and we haven’t recognized our own frailty, it is fake compassion. It is acting piously without being pious, which is quintessential hypocrisy of the darkest order, which keeps us small and unreal. That underlies our resentment of others, and our own self-loathing.
Our Higher Power stands beside us as we dip into our own darkness (excavating shame), slowly reassembling us from fragments into the whole we are created to be. And doing it only with our cooperation. “In recovery,” what are we recovering? The broken fragments of us.
Neil D. 2021-01-27