This I Believe

Gwendolyn - Worcester, Massachusetts
Entered on November 29, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

Hypocrisy and the Heart

I believe in hypocrites. Hypocrites are made when the heart overpowers the mind. The mind is wise. It evaluates life from a point of clarity, enabling people to think logical thoughts and speak in logical prose. People who are controlled by their mind believed themselves capable of acting virtuous and reasonable in any situation, a belief that holds until their heart takes control of the situation. The heart is the body’s most foolish organ. It acts on instinct rather than reason. When the heart takes control reasoned philosophy is forgotten and responses are based on sheer impulse alone.

The heart constantly transforms virtuous people into hypocrites. In my own life there was no defining moment that illuminated the fact that I am a hypocrite, rather, what I experienced was a gradual acceptance of my tendency to act a hypocrite. It happened in insignificant ways. Once I promised a friend that ordering Hawaiian Pizza was a horrible idea because I believed the combination of pineapple and ham on pizza to be disgusting. He didn’t heed my advice and I found myself faced with an unappetizing prospect for dinner. I ate a slice purely because my principles couldn’t withstand my hunger pains. It tasted amazing and I was forced to concede that my friend was a genius. Hawaiian Pizza made a hypocrite out of me, and that was just the beginning.

Countless times, my heart has made a hypocrite out of me. I was once proud to be nothing like my parents, yet, as I got older, I realized my personality contained elements from my parents. What’s more, I realized I was pleased to have turned out like them. I was once under the impression that I was a mature individual. I believed I dealt with my emotions in a practiced way. However, every time I got upset I found myself responding in a juvenile manner. I was incapable of acknowledging my feelings, instead I bottled them up and acted irritable towards the people who tried to help me.

The term hypocrite has a negative connotation. It is an insult to call someone a hypocrite, yet this should not be the case. Hypocrites cannot help themselves. They are virtuous people who, in the moment, truly believe the statements they make, yet they cannot be expected to predict how they will feel in the future. Most experiences are nothing like expectations and they force people to go back on their word. Everyone has realized their preconceptions proved false at one point or another. Anyone who denies life has made a hypocrite out of them is a liar. I believe people who are accused of being hypocrites need to own the truth. They need to stand up and say to their accuser, I am a hypocrite and I’m willing to bet you are too. I believe in hypocrites, the people who go back on their word, because they are the ones who follow their hearts, and I believe in the heart.