Cynicism

2008 Snow Pictures 033Negative & pessimistic attitude, general distrust, serious skepticism, poor expectations of life and others

A cynic can chill and dishearten with a single word. Ralph W Emerson

We can destroy ourselves by cynicism and disillusion, just as effectively as by bombs. Kenneth Clark

A cynic is not merely one who reads bitter lessons from the past; he is one who is prematurely disappointed in the future. Sidney J. Harris

Cynicism is a handicapped way of thinking that should be avoided if our goal is to become the best person we can become. Always doubting, distrusting and expecting the worst prevents us from developing our true potential. We tend to become whatever it is we think about. Life tends to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Cynicism is basically the same as negative thinking but it is more of a reflection of distrust and skepticism. The opposite extreme, “Pollyannaism” is blindly and foolishly trusting and being overly optimistic. Neither of these traits is desirable. As it is with many things in life, a proper balance is better. To excel at personal growth and development and to truly maximize our potential, we need to choose the side of optimism and “positivity”.

Being a cynic adversely affects our relationships with families, friends and co-workers. Opportunities to meet people and have meaningful relationships is damaged. If our livelihood is dependent upon meeting people and having relationships, we are probably doomed to failure if we suffer from too much cynicism. Cynics justify their cynicism by saying people are selfish, dishonest, mean, and out to take advantage. They are very untrusting.

There are always those who warrant our distrust. It is very “irrational” and unhealthy to always distrust everyone. Being a cynic is like being a recluse or hermit; emotionally isolating one’s self because of fear of harm and hurt from interaction with others. Cynicism is really a self-defense mechanism which justifies a life of emotional isolation because of unwarranted fear and a lack of emotional courage.

Sometimes we will be “victimized” or “taken advantage of” when we wrongly trust someone. We will get “burned” on occasion. By trusting others, it is also true we will experience rich and rewarding relationships. We will have our share of successes. Life does not promise all of our experiences will be joyful and wonderful. It does require that we try. Every aspect of life has both a good and bad side. Life is to be experienced, not avoided. We learn and grow through our experiences, good and bad. When we have a bad experience we should be sure to learn the good that can be gleaned and then go and engage the next new experience. We grow by action and interaction. Avoid being overly cynical. It is unhealthy and unwise for our overall mental health and well-being.

Challenge: Would you describe yourself as too “cynical?” Be very aware of the negative consequences this may mean to you. It is truly a handicap that limits your ability to experience life and develop your full potential. Cynicism will stunt your growth and development. You must engage, experience, and learn.  Knowledge and wisdom results by being involved and engaged in life. You cannot skip this. It is critically required learning.

Wisdom: Cynicism is not realistic and tough. It’s unrealistic and kind of cowardly because it means you don’t have to try. Peggy Noonan

Spiritual: (NIV)

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

The whole Bible was given to us by inspiration from God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives; it straightens us out and helps us do what is right.  2 Timothy 3:16

Cynics do cop out. It is an excuse to bad-mouth, criticize, opt-out, and condemn. It is counter-productive and destructive. Our world is rampant with cynicism. Those who truly believe in God have a healthy and growing relationship with Him and learn to overcome their cynicism. They will have reasons to be joyful and confident. We can believe by our faith everything will come together according to God’s will and purpose. Why worry?

Prayer:   Help me to overcome any cynicism in my life. Give me the strength to expect the best of others.

 

 

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