According to Merriam-Webster being a hypocrite entails putting on a false appearance about a belief, religion or any number of other things. A common manifestation of being hypocritical is the condemning and criticizing of someone for past behaviors while simultaneously hiding the fact that in the past you have displayed similar behaviors. In this case, being hypocritical is lying to others, to self and is self-serving. When the condemnation and criticism of the person continues it becomes a form of malice as its intent is solely to cause injury, pain or distress.
What is interesting about this phenomenon is that many times the person being condemned and criticized is aware of the hypocrites past behaviors, some of which may include legal entanglements, but chooses to be silent. Such silence has many motivations including avoiding the ugliness that is associated with such disclosure, wanting to move on in life and that the hypocritical person has already suffered enough. The person choosing to be silent in this case is taking the high road and not necessarily wanting to create turmoil and distress (malice) for the hypocrite.
How does this relate to an individual’s mental health? Condemning and criticizing another person while that person remains silent is cowardly and done in anger and hate. It is well established that living each day angry and hateful is a threat to an individual’s mental health.
There are many examples of hypocrisy in today’s world. The Republicans are accusing the Democrats, via the IRS, of messing with conservative groups yet the Republicans have failed to mention that they have done the same to democratic groups in the past. It seems like a clear-cut example of hypocrisy. The issue at hand is the condemnation and criticizing of another person or entity while hiding the fact that the condemning and criticizing person or party has displayed precisely the same behaviors.
The world will always have conflict, turmoil and other less than good things in it. The difference for many of us is that we are trying to be kind to each other, respect each other and treat each other with dignity. There is enough ugliness and strife without continuing to cause more for each other. Try kindness and pursue your professional and personal goals without hypocrisy. There you have it; moral hypocrisy is not a good approach if you are trying to maintain sound mental health.