Already Hopelessly Hypocritical, Denial Perpetuates It

June 5 , 2021
By Kidist Yidnekachew ( Kidist Yidnekachew has degrees in psychology and journalism and communications. She can be reached at )

It is not that hard to notice ourselves or others being hypocrites. All it takes is to recognise where the problem lies. It is not having double standards that is the problem but pretending that we have a single one.

We scrutinise others for the same things we do and tolerate. We ask "how could anybody do that?" yet we find ourselves doing the exact same thing and not disgusted by our actions. Salvation, thus, comes with recognising this behaviour as opposed to denying it and becoming a less hypocritical version of ourselves.

A perfect example of this is social media. It is unnecessary to get into the weeds, but it clearly holds a mirror to the double standards we hold dearly. When we see injustice and atrocities committed, we do not speak unless it affects us directly. We sit around and get angry for the lack of activism - for lack of a better word - but we chose to do nothing about it ourselves. We get mad when our identity is threatened, and yet we threaten others’ identity. We turn to hypocrisy as the best defence to protect our self-interests.

I met a friend who is the ‘head of the hypocrites committee’ the other day. He told me about the kind of woman he wants to marry.

“She has to be well-organised, educated, a good cook, kind and, of course, she has to be fit and attractive,” he said.

He went on and on about how he hates unkind people in general and how mandatory it was for a wife to be generous. He gave himself the distinction of being articulate and neat. Right at that moment, the waiter brought us macchiato. He picked the cup with his greasy right hand, which he used to eat firfir, a dish made from injeraand sauce.

Is it unfair to judge him as a hypocrite based on this action alone?

It is, but he went on to make my point. For someone who wants to marry a fit woman, he is out of shape. He said he hates exercising and loves food. He preached kindness but was rude to the waiter throughout our meal.

What of his aspirations for his wife to be well-educated?

He was granted a full scholarship to study overseas, but he turned it down.

“I don’t want to spend my life studying as life is more than education, and it is meant to be lived leisurely,” he concluded.

I will skip on the looks part as beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. But what this guy is or seems to be and what he wants in a life partner are two completely different things.

It is not just him, of course. People claim to want in others the qualities they lack in themselves or could not cultivate, but they often insist on others having the same attributes.

Many of us hold double standards to many things that bear witness to our hypocrisy. Our children hold the mirror to our hypocritical behaviour and actions.

We tell them to wash their hands before they eat but do we adults always wash our hands? We ask them to be nice to others but are we friendly to neighbours? We tell them to read books, but when was the last time we bothered to do as such?

We teach our children to be fair and kind, but our actions speak otherwise. Even the principles we firmly hold and defend, we break when no one is watching. Our hypocrisy goes far and deep, but we are blind to it.

PUBLISHED ON Jun 05,2021 [ VOL 22 , NO 1101]

Kidist Yidnekachew has degrees in psychology and journalism and communications. She can be reached at

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