Are you contemptuously distrustful of human nature and motives?
Do you expect the worst then boast when – surprise of surprises in this world – the worst happens?
Do you have a “Well, actually…,” “Not to play devil’s advocate, but…,” and “Typical, so typical…” handy at all times to point out when people are wrong… because people are always wrong?
You… are such a cynical cuss.
People avoid you because of this, you know. You’re dank lettuce in the salad of life.
Don’t be dank lettuce.
There are ways you can loosen that death grip on reality of yours.
And don’t dare think ‘They won’t work, this is obviously a gimmick.’
1. With Great Cynicism Comes Great Responsibility
Your worldview being what it is, you have a duty not to suck the life out of every conversation you enter.
Matter of fact, you have a duty to be less cynical in public than in private. You will achieve this by doling out your cynicism in little, manageable bites.
Even if the world sucks and people are duplicitous dung beetles, isn’t it on all of us to make sure we don’t help it suck that much more?
2. See The Good
Yes. Wake up and say the word yes from time to time. Altruism starts with that tiny word.
Remember these truths: children laugh every day; lovers kiss every day; pies get made simply because pie every day…
Strangers assist strangers; friends hug; injustices are addressed; amazing art is being created, a lot of it simply for the sake of creation and not bowing to commerce…
Science is nearly at Spock levels, and the universe employs incredibly connective tissues throughout all its inhabitants.
I know that’s a lot to take in. I’ll give you a moment.
Somewhere in all that, you should realize that no matter how bad things not only appear but get, good is never farther than a glance away.
And you realize that people maybe, just maybe, are more decent than you thought.
3. Take A Breath
Literally. Get outside, get in your car, go to a park or forest, and take several deep breaths.
Cynical people don’t generally notice how often they hold their breath.
It’s a frustration response. Someone exhibits the worst of themselves, the cynic – flabbergasted – holds her breath. Just for a moment. But those moments add up.
Oxygenate. Re-establish an internal rhythm. Inhale. Exhale. Chill.
4. Cynical Definition, Part 2
Concerned only with one’s own interests and typically disregarding accepted or appropriate standards in order to achieve them.
Let’s establish from the start: politics is a cynical undertaking. Corporate enterprises are wholly cynical affairs. People are genetically coded to be closet narcissists.
But there’s a corollary to everything.
If we’re lucky, one out of ten politicians is decent and takes their role as public servant to heart.
If we’re lucky, not every corporation exults in its status of having more rights as a “person” than you and your neighbors do.
If we’re lucky, people reveal themselves to be more than the sum of their parts.
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5. Reveal Yourself
It might be hard to admit… but a lot of what goes into cynicism is fueled by fear. And what do we do when we’re afraid? We hide.
We hide behind absolutes. We build protective walls out of blanket statements.
If you want to stop being so darn cynical all the time, delete the following phrases from your daily vocabulary:
“It never fails…”
“Of course they…”
Try to dismantle the walls you’ve built. You may have built them so that you couldn’t see others, but they’ve gotten so high that no one can see you. Even you have kind of forgotten what you look like outside the walls’ gloom.
Reveal yourself. Why are you afraid? Don’t worry that you are afraid of things. It’s ok to be afraid. But know why you are. Untangling that knot often dissipates the fear outright.
The fewer bricks in your wall, the more light reaches you.
6. Surround Yourself With Positive People
Even the cynic in me takes center stage from time to time, making me long for isolation, a house deep in a pleasant wood, and maybe a spaceship with coordinates to my own private planet.
So here’s what I did to waylay such inclinations: I made a screensaver for my ‘puter.
Not just any screensaver. I made the Screensaver O’ Awesome. It’s chock full of pictures of people who make me so happy I could squee. We all use photos of loved ones as screensavers, but how often do we curate those photos for maximum impact?
Pick photos of friends and those who smile upon you across vast internet distances. Use only those family members who uplift something very specific in you. Add photos of places and events that trigger profoundly happy memories.
The very act of curating such an album banishes cynicism to another room, but I find it utterly impossible to rage against the dregs of humanity when the actual pics pop up during a lull in my computer-day and rotate like the greatest inspirational gallery in the world.
7. Step Away From The News Mill
I get that you want to consider yourself well-informed. That’s highly commendable. How informed are you, though, by a bunch of blabbing heads in designer suits and dresses reading scripts that, quite literally, were written by the corporate office?
Newsflash: that ain’t news.
You’re consuming anger and fear and speculation. You’re consuming marketing in anchorperson’s clothing. You, my friend, are awash in hogwash.
Step away from it; that, or seek out reasoned, less shouty sources of actual information.
That’s a hard diamond to find these days, yes, but the alternative is feeling as if humanity’s gene pool needs serious chlorination, and that’s a horrible feeling to rent brainspace to.
8. Mind The Balance Beam
This one needs constant reinforcement.
If you say people suck, you must also acknowledge the wonderful people in your life.
If you say people are untrustworthy, you must also give due consideration to those people in whom you’d entrust your life.
If you think nothing is ever going to change, recall the good that’s happened either to you or to someone you know.
Minding the balance beam is a lot like eschewing absolutes. Life is so rarely an either or; it’s usually everything simultaneously in a confusing, roiling pot that will sometimes smell divine and other times turn you green with nausea.
It’s ok to complain about life. Donald Trump somehow became president of the US. That demands serious “WTF, humanity?!” It’s ok to bemoan stupidity when it’s worn as a badge of honor.
What’s not ok is diminishing yourself by holding onto a worldview that is quite easily refuted. Cynicism only serves to make the taste of bitterness tolerable to you.
I submit that you deserve better meal options.