If you’re someone who practices what you preach you probably have these 9 character traits

Is there anything more annoying than a hypocrite?

You know the type of people I mean. People who say one thing and do another. People who are quick to give out advice, but don’t follow it themselves.

Of course, if someone isn’t following their own advice, you have to wonder why. It makes you question everything they say. After all, if their opinions were so great, why wouldn’t they live by them themselves?

Then there are those people who do practice what they preach. People who live by their own set of morals and ideals can be an inspiration to everyone around them.

And if you’re the kind of person who lives that way, you probably have numerous other positive character traits, too.

Here are a few of the top character traits that show you are someone who practices what they preach:

1) You don’t preach

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Naturally, one of the best ways to avoid preaching what you don’t practice is to avoid preaching at all.

But it goes deeper than that.

You see, if you practice what you preach, you are probably someone with a high level of personal integrity.

“The root of integrity is about doing the right thing even when it’s not acknowledged by others, or convenient for you,” writes psychologist Seth Meyers. “An individual with integrity is the antidote to self-interest.”

Unless it’s your actual job to preach, telling other people how they should live is often poorly received. It can seem arrogant, judgey, and bossy.

So if you believe in doing the right thing, preaching at others is something you probably want to avoid.

Instead, you prefer to lead by example and let others live life the way they want to. 

2) You don’t judge

When people don’t practice what they preach, it implies that they don’t believe in what they are saying. On the other hand, it may mean that they think what they advise is the best thing for other people, but not for themselves.

Sometimes, that comes from a kind of judgmental view that they understand other people better than those people understand themselves.

In contrast, practicing what you preach shows that you don’t put yourself above others. You don’t judge them as if they were characters in a book or movie, assuming you know everything about their lives when you don’t.

3) You practice empathy

Empathy is the ability to understand and even experience the feelings of other people.

“Empathy is the ability to emotionally understand what other people feel, see things from their point of view, and imagine yourself in their place,” writes psychologist Kendra Cherry. “The ability to feel empathy allows people to “walk a mile in another’s shoes,” so to speak. It permits people to understand the emotions that others are feeling.”

We all have this ability to one degree or another. But it’s also something you can practice daily to improve.

And when you do that, you understand that everyone has their own challenges and problems, and that in another person’s place, you might well act the way that they do.

This empathy stops you from being a hypocrite because you don’t presume to give advice to other people you wouldn’t follow yourself.

4) You have a strong moral code

Ultimately, being a hypocrite is wrong. Telling other people to do things you wouldn’t do yourself is a way of belittling others and acting as though you know better than them about their own lives.

So if you refuse to do that, it’s probably because you have a strong moral code.

You have a firm sense of right and wrong, and you won’t compromise it for anything. That keeps you minding your own business and helps you avoid preaching what you don’t practice.

5) You’re an independent thinker

People who live truly authentically usually share these 10 traits 2 If you’re someone who practices what you preach you probably have these 9 character traits

It’s a strange psychological truth that the less firm people are in their own beliefs, the more desperately they try to convince others.

Many people inherit a lot of their beliefs from their family, friends, or the culture around them. In that sense, they don’t really believe what they think they do. Instead, they just go along with what they’ve been exposed to.

An independent thinker, on the other hand, forms their own opinions. They look at the evidence before drawing conclusions, and once they do decide on an issue, their opinions are generally quite firm.

These opinions may or may not coincide with the thoughts and values of the people around them. But to an independent thinker, that makes no difference either way.

This independent thinking can help keep you from being a hypocrite because you know that your path is not for everyone. If you give someone advice, it’s based on your own experience, and you always practice what you preach.

6) You don’t worry what other people think about you

“Taking others’ opinions as truth can lead to a vicious cycle of insecurity and vulnerability,” according to this article on PsychCentral. But “there’s no use in trying to avoid any and all judgment – it’s simply impossible. For better or worse, assessing other people is a natural part of social interaction.”

Most people spend a lot of their time worried about what others will think of them. And often, that’s why people preach to others about how they should live their lives. Giving others lofty advice you wouldn’t follow yourself is one way to try and increase your social status.

You’re much less likely to become a hypocrite if you don’t play that status game. Instead, you live your life by your own values, and don’t care too much whether other people share them or not.

You see no need to try and make people think you are better than you are, because you don’t care too much what they think in the first place.

7) You are honest

Part of avoiding being a hypocrite is being honest not only with others, but with yourself.

“Attacking each other with one-size-fits-all moral rules is how we become hypocrites; defending ourselves when the rules come back to bite us is how we reinforce our hypocrisy,” writes life coach and researcher Jeremy E. Sherman. “We declare ourselves committed to some virtue and then just slide whatever we want in and out of that category.”

In other words, hypocrisy is a form of dishonesty.

So if you refuse to be dishonest both with others and yourself, it becomes impossible not to practice what you preach.

Instead of giving out advice you don’t follow and judging other people by standards you don’t hold yourself to, you hold yourself accountable to everyone around you.

8) You aren’t interested in playing games

As I wrote earlier, hypocrisy can often come as a response to the status game most people are playing.

Often, people become hypocrites out of a deep sense of insecurity and inadequacy. Setting yourself up as a judge of others is a way to boost your status and get ahead in the status game.

But if you have a lot of integrity, those games don’t interest you at all. You prefer it when people are as honest and straightforward as you are, and have no patience for games designed to put one person ahead of another.

9) You avoid fake people

Finally, one of the best ways to avoid hypocrisy is to avoid fake people.

After all, not practicing what you preach is one way to be a fake person. Holding other people to standards you don’t hold yourself to means you are trying to present an image of yourself that doesn’t really match the truth.

When you are around fake people, it’s easy to be drawn into their false world. They will pretend to like other people more than they do and pretend to be people they are not. That often includes giving out advice they would never follow themselves.

If you have no patience for false friendships and fake people, it may be a sign of that integrity we talked about earlier. And that integrity will never allow you to be a hypocrite.

Practicing what you preach

As you can see from the list above, practicing what you preach can be a sign of lots of other positive qualities.

Ultimately, it comes down to integrity. A person who practices what they preach doesn’t see themselves as better than other people, and doesn’t judge them for not living the way that they do.

So if you refuse to give people advice you wouldn’t follow yourself, you probably have lots of these other admirable qualities too.

Picture of Clifton Kopp

Clifton Kopp

Welcome to my writings on Ideapod! I'm a bit of a "polymath" in that I like writing about many different things. Often I'm learning from the process of writing. I hope you enjoy, and please leave a comment on one of my articles.

Enhance your experience of Ideapod and join Tribe, our community of free thinkers and seekers.

Related articles

Most read articles

Get our articles

Ideapod news, articles, and resources, sent straight to your inbox every month.