Because very few things that matter can be explained with a simple right or wrong answer, I’m starting a new segment called “Nuance Notes.” In this episode, I explore the layers of distinction between paradox, hypocrisy, incompetence, and malice. Join me as I look at these qualities in different contexts and share ways to navigate life with more peace, power, and ease as a mystic.

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In episode 429 of the Embodied Podcast we discuss:

(3:48) Different perspectives on disappointment 

(6:39) Why I firmly believe that there’s no such thing as toxic people, just toxic behaviors

(10:02) Learning to hold paradox as a mystic 

(15:04) The difference between hypocrisy and paradox 

(21:47) Reflecting on one of life’s biggest questions: Why do bad things happen to good people?

(23:11) What to expect from my upcoming POWER Program

Resources mentioned in the episode:

Work with me:

Special offer:

Stay in touch:

Quotes from this Week’s Episode of the Embodied Podcast: 

  • I believe that most people at their core are brilliant, talented, and super caring – they’re just afraid to be for all kinds of reasons, some of which are cultural or systemic, and some of which are personal due to their lived experience.
  • When people have to see everything through a lens of right or wrong, there’s no room for the deep nuances, complexity, and paradox of life, which also means there’s no room for real connection and intimacy, or hearing anything that goes against their belief system.
  • Changing your mind about something when new information comes to light or you learn something and implement it after not knowing it doesn’t make you a hypocrite.
  • If we always need to know the answers, or always need to be right, we will rob ourselves of joy and peace, and the ability to move on and focus on other things. 
  • True beliefs do not need constant validation or agreement to remain intact.

How was this episode for you?

Was this episode helpful for you today? I’d love to know what quote or lesson touched your soul. Let me know in the comments below OR share the episode on Instagram, tag me your stories @elizabethdialto, or send me a DM!

About the Embodied Podcast with Elizabeth DiAlto

Since 2013 I’ve been developing a body of work that helps women embody self-love, healing, and wholeness. We do this by focusing on the four levels of consciousness – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.

In practical terms, this looks like exploring tools and practices to help you tune into the deep wisdom of the body and the knowing of the heart, which I believe are gateways to our souls. Then we cultivate a new relationship with our minds that allows the mind to serve this wisdom and knowledge and soul connection, rather than override it, which is what many of us were taught.

If you’ve been doing self-help or spiritual development work for a while, these are the types of foundational things that often people overlook in pursuit of fancier concepts that often aren’t practical or sustainable. Here, we will focus on building these strong foundations so you can honestly and thoroughly embody self-love. If you’re feeling it, subscribe to the show, and leave us a review wherever you listen from. You can also keep up with show updates and community discussions on Instagram here.

Transcript for Episode 429 “Nuance Notes: On Paradox, Hypocrisy, Incompetence, and Malice“:

Elizabeth DiAlto  00:00

Keeping in mind that a lot of people don’t hesitate to invest in programs that promise them that they will find things like the love of their life or have better sex, or lose weight or make money. But the reasons why those things elude a lot of people, especially people who are more mystically or spiritually oriented, is because they’re trying to follow formulas from folks who aren’t. Some of us need to be working with our divine support squads, our ancestors And our intuition more closely and more skillfully, to actually realize our life’s purpose path goals and aspirations.

Elizabeth DiAlto  00:39

What’s up everybody, welcome to episode number 429 of the Embodied Podcast. I am your host, Elizabeth DiAlto. And today we are introducing a new segment to the podcast, I am going to call this nuanced notes. And I would love to tell you that I will be doing this once a month. But I’m not making any promises other than to say that I will make these nuanced notes sporadically as they come up and feel relevant and I’m excited. So today, what we’re exploring the nuance about is the distinction between paradox and hypocrisy and incompetence, and malice.

Elizabeth DiAlto  00:47

So we’re gonna get into that in a minute, I just want to give you two quick reminders. First of all, if you’re here listening to the podcast, and you’re someone who ever wishes that you could like, geek out with me or other people who listen to the show. Afterwards, come and join us in the free group on mighty networks. You can get there by going to untamed forward slash free Dash community. And every week we have a post in the group where everyone talks about what came up for them what they learned any personal shares or experiences. Let me just again, geek out on the show. So there’s that for you. And as well, if you haven’t yet checked out or shared the details of my men’s program, living legend with wheeze Duran, it begins on July 7, the details for that are at according to forward slash Living Legends with an S. And if you’re listening to this in real time, Today is June 19. And tomorrow, June 28, there’s an info session for that program. So we encourage all men to sign up for the info session to see if the program is right for them. And if you are not a man, but you have sis men in your life that you care about, get their asses to that info session. And the link to join that is on the same page according to forward slash living legends.

Elizabeth DiAlto  02:52

So let us dive in. Those of you who have been listening to the podcast for a while know how much I love getting up into the nuanced the complexity, which often requires critical thinking and exploration of context, things that we’ve seen, especially in the heavily reliant upon digital communication age, appear to be going out of style. But this is how I will die on continuously modeling for people how to do it and inviting people to bring nuance and critical thinking, consider context. And just be curious always about all of these things, especially as we look at complex issues. Because very few things that really matter and really go deep are just black and white, very few things are that simple, simple to look at.

Elizabeth DiAlto  03:48

So here’s what actually inspired this podcast, I was chatting with a friend yesterday about developing a lens on life, constructed in response to experiencing constant disappointment. Or even if it’s not constant a lot, which I’m sure once you reach a certain age, I feel like 3035 Plus, like you’ve of course experience a ton of disappointment, because life is just life, you know. And also, we’ve all lived through a global pandemic now together. And I mean, how disappointing was that understatement of the universe, right? Minimizing the pandemic, but let’s be real. So one way of seeing things is that this is the way that my friend chooses to see things. He said, This is why I just live under the umbrella that all humans at our core are complete trash, and don’t give a shit. It makes things a whole lot easier.

Elizabeth DiAlto  04:50

My response to that was, except when you put humans under that umbrella that don’t belong there, and treating them as such is totally unfair. And then I shared not to be righteous or anything like that just to be like, I’m kind of the opposite. I believe that most people at their core are brilliant, talented and super caring. They’re just afraid to be for all kinds of reasons, some of which are cultural or systemic, and some of which are just personal, due to their lived experience. Either way, under each philosophy, most people are missing out on a depth and range of joy and connection, that is totally possible. And I get it, because in our current times, some people’s cognitive dissonance can be so overwhelming. That’s what really makes it seem like people are trash. But just like I said, the other week in the episode with weaves, the way there are nuances to toxic masculinity, like, masculinity is not inherently toxic. But of course, there are toxic aspects and expressions of masculinity that almost all men learn, and then have to unlearn. Just like many of us learn different types of toxic behaviors that have nothing to do with masculinity. But those needs to be unlearned, as well. So I firmly believe that there are no toxic people, just toxic behaviors. And I really tried to catch myself on that, because it’s become quite popular to call people toxic. And every once in a while, I’ll hear that come out of my mouth.And then I was trying to correct myself like, they’re not toxic, they’re being toxic as fuck, right, but they themselves inherently as a person, with a soul are not toxic.

Elizabeth DiAlto  06:39

So let’s dive into why though. It feels like people are toxic, or it can feel like people are trash, the convenient narratives and machinations of logic and reason to separate and distance themselves from the full implications of their choices, their politics, and their belief systems. Like when people are operating within those narratives and machinations and trying to make to fit everything they do and believe. Even the things that conflict with each other into some convenient belief system or box or something they could put a bow on is what results in toxic behavior. And another friend of mine different from the one who I was referring to earlier, Jessica fish who some of you who have been listening to the podcast a long time, have heard her episode on divesting from perfectionism. If you haven’t, it’s a great episode, we’ll put a link to it in the show notes. She shared with me a meme recently about weaponized ignorance. And I’ll read it to you. So it was a screenshot of like a dialogue between two people. I don’t know what platform it came from. But the one screen name was 10 snip T i n s and IP wrote this.

Elizabeth DiAlto  07:59

Don’t assume malice, assume ignorance. Life is easier. The world is kinder, and you can educate actual malice is pretty rare I find and then someone responded, their screen name is FROBO are are. They said, always remember Hamlins razor, never assume malice when incompetence will suffice as an explanation. That said, Never forget Fred Clark’s law, either. sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice. There’s a certain point at which ignorance becomes malice, at which there’s simply no way to become that ignorant, except deliberately and maliciously. And that’s big. And I don’t know about you. But I can certainly think of people in my life, who have had every opportunity, and plenty of resources, including time and money, to take the time to learn, heal and do better, but simply refuse to consider that they are part of the problem.

Elizabeth DiAlto  09:09

And even if they can consider an acknowledge that they’re part of the problem, they will literally do anything but take a close look at themselves, be accountable, or take responsibility for their part. And they continue to act like they have no idea how to go about learning or finding help, where they need their hands held to do so. Which effectively just exhausts everyone around them and puts people in positions to assist them in ways that are inappropriate, especially when the people they’re wanting to hold their hands and explain everything to them and lay it out for them. Which honestly with people like this often doesn’t matter because they’re not going to do the fucking work anyway.

Elizabeth DiAlto  09:53

But especially when those people are current or have been victims of their malice. It’s highly inappropriate. So part of being a mystic or spiritual seeker, if you don’t fully identify as a mystic is learning to hold paradox. maliciously incompetent people are always working to be in denial of anything that would burst their bubbles of righteousness and goodness, they’re incapable of holding paradox. And they rarely have any genuine self love or respect, which obviously makes it very difficult to extend genuine love and respect to others. That’s actually generous and compassionate, not obligatory, distorted or performative. Because listen, we all probably also know people like this. They say they love us. And they mean it. And they think that what they’re doing is love, right.

Elizabeth DiAlto  10:51

But there are so many things that make things not be actual love, it might be expression, it might be care might be affection. If we think in the context of Love Languages, maybe it’s acts of service, like maybe they show up when you need them. But they’re incapable of being emotionally and psychologically safe people to be around. And that’s conflicting, that itself can be paradoxical. And often people like this tend to have intense needs to be right. And I also want to acknowledge that this can really be categorical, because you know, life is different. And people have different aptitudes and intelligences and access to more healed healthy behaviors. In certain areas.

Elizabeth DiAlto  11:39

Like if you’ve ever known someone, if you have like an emotionally or psychologically abusive, close family member, some people will be able to relate to this experience were out in the world like outside of the home, they can truly be one of the most wonderful people you’ve ever met you’ve ever known. so kind, so caring, so generous, so helpful to others, and not abusive to others. But then they take it all out on their own family, right behind closed doors, all that toxicity, learns toxicity, behaviors, trauma responses, whatever you want to call the things has to go somewhere. And often with these types of people, again, who have that cognitive dissonance who have that split, it’s almost like there’s a split personality, right? Or a Jekyll and Hyde type of thing going on, it has to go somewhere.

Elizabeth DiAlto  12:30

And for a lot of people, it comes out in the home, or with the people that are closest to and again, for a lot of people these things are rooted in needs to be right, which are often just protective mechanisms, right? Like, when people have to see everything through a lens of right or wrong, or a dogmatic belief system. There’s no room for the deep nuances, complexity and paradox of life, which also means there’s no room for real connection and intimacy, for listening, or hearing anything that goes against their belief system. Because this shit is fragile.

Elizabeth DiAlto  13:06

true beliefs do not need constant validation or agreement to remain intact. For example, I could hear someone talk about things I vehemently disagree with, and not feel personally attacked, or even offended. And more often than not, I can even see why they would see things that way, given the context of their lives, and their history, and their lived experiences. So I could hold disagreement, without taking it personally. dogmatic and fundamentalist type people are only interested in contexts that upholds their beliefs. And that is not connected communal or relational. Because anything that goes against them must be sought out and destroyed. So their fragile worlds can remain intact. And a lot of people allow this a lot of people let them personally I’m not into it. And listen, there’s, again, even to that, though nuances. So I hope you can hear and understand that I am illuminating this, but I’m not even criticizing it. I have critique about it.

Elizabeth DiAlto  14:09

But I’m not even calling it wrong or bad. It sucks. I’m going to acknowledge that it sucks. It’s not my preference. But and something I’ll talk about a little later in the episode as well as we don’t know anyone’s path. I don’t know their soul contracts. I don’t know their agreements. I don’t know, who went what or why that person is on that particular journey. And that’s actually none of my business, which is one of my reasons for not taking it personally. Right. So this is where we get to get into the difference between paradox and hypocrisy. So paradox is rooted in the acknowledgement and navigation of more than one truth at once, especially when those things conflict.

Elizabeth DiAlto  14:49

So let me read you a formal definition of paradox. I googled it. It says a seemingly absurd or self contradictory statement or proposition that went in investigated or explained, may prove to be well founded or true. As for hypocrisy, actually, let’s give an example. Right? Let’s put it in context. Paradox might say that the current system of capitalism is oppressive. And at the same time, we have rent and bills to pay and people to feed. So we can’t entirely opt out. As long as that is the system. It’s the only system we have. Right? So having to engage in capitalism to keep a roof over your head, feed yourself or your loved ones, is not hypocritical. It’s paradoxical. It’s also a double bind.

Elizabeth DiAlto  15:40

Hypocrisy, on the other hand, is rooted in avoiding the inconvenient truths that exist in paradox, and not allowing yourself to hold conflicting things, without any accountability to each other. So hypocrisy does not want to acknowledge, for example, that capitalism sucks, it might even celebrate it, it likely will try to blame other things like people not being motivated enough or trying hard enough, or being smart enough, or productive enough or whatever. Right? Hypocrisy might find ways to justify and gloss over the harmful parts of things. And here’s the definition of hypocrisy, the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform.

Elizabeth DiAlto  16:26

And an example of hypocrisy would be people who might vote Republican, because they’re up in arms about taxes, right? They don’t want to pay more taxes. And they propose they claim that they care about human rights. But they claim to be anti racist. Have they claim to be pro liberation, or however it is? What is the context? All right. But in voting one way, it absolutely votes against other things, because like in politics, for example, you can’t separate those things, right? Like a vote is a vote is a vote is a vote like that. You can’t. You could say, well, I’m voting for this, but I care about that. Okay, but your vote says otherwise. Because what’s included in your vote is also all these other things, denial of human rights. Right. So that is hypocritical.

Elizabeth DiAlto  17:24

So essentially, paradox is about embracing truth that’s hard to accept. And I love that the word absurd was in the definition. Because there’s mystery and paradox, and accepting the paradoxical nature of something, we have to accept that not only is there no neat and tidy explanation, there simply just is no explanation. And the ambiguous phrase, a lot of people hate the phrase, it is what it is, comes to mind here, because when it comes to paradox, it really is just is what it is. Whereas hypocrisy requires lying, whether to oneself or others, or both. And I want to make one more point about hypocrisy, changing your mind about something, when new information comes to light, or you learn something and implement it after not knowing it before, doesn’t make you a hypocrite.

Elizabeth DiAlto  18:18

This is one reason why I think looking back at people’s old tweets, for example, and crucifying them for things they said years ago, without first checking in to see where they are with that thing now is one of the most heinous practices of our social media age. How are we supposed to grow? If we treat people like shit when they do? Right? If someone changes their viewpoint, and someone’s like, that’s not what you were saying four years ago. That should not be something we criticize. We should be like, Well, damn, that’s not what you were saying four years ago, so glad you changed your tune, right? Instead of giving people shit.

Elizabeth DiAlto  18:56

Or another example is saying things like you should have realized this sooner, says who? Right? This is ridiculous. Does it suck sometimes that it takes people as long as it does to learn things? Yes. But and this goes, I said this earlier, we’ll say it again. This is also a mystical truth. We don’t know anyone’s soul path. We don’t. That’s between them and God. And this is not to let anyone off the hook for their ignorance. But it’s also just allowing for grace because we are all ignorant. Sometimes.

Elizabeth DiAlto  19:27

There are current things that I am ignorant and there are things so I’m currently right now at the time, I’m recording this, I’m in Puerto Rico, I’m doing a language immersion, hanging out with my family. I’m immersing myself also in the culture, learning more about my ancestors, the history, pre and post colonial history of Puerto Rico, because it’s very complex here. The politics like there’s so many things right? Because I didn’t learn any of that stuff from my family. My immediate family, my dad, right? So I’m here I want to learn that stuff. I’m about to be 40 years old. And a lot of people could argue I personally feel like I should have known this shit a long time ago.

Elizabeth DiAlto  20:06

But here I am 39 years old only learning these things now. Right? And so there’s a saying Better late than never. I don’t know how I feel about that. But if it’s happening now, it’s happening now. And what’s the point of saying it should have happened anytime sooner? Because it didn’t. And I personally like to look at things. As always divine right timing, if it was supposed to happen sooner, it would have and listen, going back to this thing about for example, digging up people’s old tweets, giving them shit for what they said 510 15 years ago, without checking in around how they feel about things now, or giving people shit that they didn’t figure things out sooner. 

Elizabeth DiAlto  20:52

We can’t wonder why some people don’t even bother, when there are times when they do bother or did bother. And then get eviscerated for bothering in a way that isn’t satisfactory to others. And when it comes to damned if you do and damned if you don’t, a lot of people will then go, why fucking bother? And they won’t. And this is why part of the reason this nuance, this distinction between paradox and hypocrisy is so important. Because peace. If we always need to know the answers, or always need to be right, we will exhaust ourselves and rob ourselves of joy and peace, and the ability to move on and focus on other things. We will remain distracted by the unknown, rather than learning how to live with it unless or until an answer becomes available, if it ever does.

Elizabeth DiAlto  21:47

So think about one of life’s biggest questions. Why do bad things happen to good people? There is no satisfying answer to that. It just is what it is. If you would like to learn to live with and work with an accept and navigate life with more peace, power and ease as a mystic. You have to go deeper into your mystical practices, your spiritual journey, and you know, whatever those things are, things are different for people. There’s prayer, there’s rituals, there’s meditations, there’s movement practices, visualizations, right? There’s the healing work, that opens you up and helps you learn how to regulate your nervous system. Not that your nervous system has to be perfectly regulated all the time, but that you have the tools when you get dysregulated because we all do, the world is very disregulating, right?

Elizabeth DiAlto  22:36

These combinations of things physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual, are the pathways again to navigating life with more peace, power and ease. as well. If you want help doing that, I am very, very excited to be rebooting my power program. This July. Again, those of you that have been around for a while know that every year July 22, I do some kind of special something something for Mary Magdalene feast day, and this year, it’s bringing back my power program. And I’m not going to run it like I’ve run it in the past, I’m actually I’m combining two things. So from 2014 to 2017. Every year, I ran a mentorship. And the power program used to be it’s been a 12 week program, it’s been a year long program

Elizabeth DiAlto  23:26

But this year, when I reboot it, it’s specifically going to be a journey into the mystical heart. So this is going to be a mystical mentorship. And I’m actually not running my sacred and vitamin specialist training in 2024. Because the power program is going to be a year long, mystical mentorship. And I will say this, it is not for beginners. This is for seasoned mystics and spiritual seekers. So if you’re someone who is exploring spirituality, and aren’t sure what you believe in, don’t have any real practices and don’t really feel connected to the divine in any kind of real way. Or maybe you’re just like, really living in the questions about what that means for you. This mentorship, this particular thing is not for you. 

Elizabeth DiAlto  24:07

If you already have that divine connection if you feel solid in your beliefs, but we’d love to go deeper. Get some maps for your own mystical and spiritual journey through life that can be applied to all major life areas, health, wealth, relationships and happiness or evolution. However you want to think about that one, this is the program for you. So keeping in mind that a lot of people don’t hesitate to invest in programs that promise them that they will find things like the love of their life or have better sex, or lose weight or make money. But the reasons why those things elude a lot of people, especially people who are more mystically or spiritually oriented, is because they’re trying to follow formulas from folks who aren’t.

Elizabeth DiAlto  24:52

And so while this power program is not and will not ever be like a business mentorship, some of us need to be working With our divine support squads, our ancestors And our intuition more closely and more skillfully, to actually realize our life’s purpose, path, goals and aspirations. And this is what that mystical mentorship is for, is to connect you to your true power and purpose and approach both in your own unique, we’ll say mystically and spiritually informed way. So if that sounds exciting to you, you can get on the interest list for that I haven’t released the details, they won’t be out until later in July. But you can go to untamed forward slash power Dash 2023 Dash interest. So that’s untamed, forward slash power Dash 2023 Dash interest. 

Elizabeth DiAlto  25:47

And I have to say, there is going to be an application for that too, because it’s not going to be a huge there’s not going to be tons and tons of people in this program. And I do need to know about where you’re at what’s going on in your life, if I’m going to invite you to join so there will be an application. I’m also introducing a tiered payment structure. And I’m just super, super freakin excited about that. So, hope you enjoyed the nuance note today, and we will be back next week.