The dangers of cynical attitudes and the rewards of optimism
A lazy colleague who calls in sick every Monday or another individual who pulls out every last minute, we have that one person in your lives who makes us cynical. It’s very easy to get cynical yet quite difficult to get out.
There are a lot of risks associated with cynicism. A study of over 97000 wens indicated that optimistic women had lower chances of heart diseases, cancer-related deaths. On the other hand, pessimistic and cynical ladies had higher chances of these ailments.
Cynicism is a defensive posture we take to protect ourselves. It’s caused by hurt or anger at something. We fail to deal with these emotions as they come, therefore they fester and skew our look. Cynicism starts with one thing and slowly spreads to other things.
One of my friends recently found herself getting frustrated with her husband more often. It began as small irritation at him for failing to carry along their camera or failure to get ready in time. These slight mishaps grew into a very hostile attitude towards all his undertakings.it affected her vacation and it wasn’t until she got back home that she asked herself what her problem was and how she let that feeling take over her.
Cynicism makes us indulge in self-righteous attitude and create expectations that people should behave in some specific ways.
With this limited perspective, we then end up focusing on the worst in human beings. My friend was on the edge, looking out for every mistake rather than paying attention to the experience of sharing her husband with her family.
It emerges when we focus on negative emotions we have within us towards others. These cynical feelings about her husband were as a result of her wanting to appear perfect in front of their families.
Vulnerability is another trigger for cynical behavior. When we feel betrayed or exposed, we react by becoming defensive. This leads to us viewing at others through the same filters that we see ourselves. It comes with a critical inner voice, directed towards us, telling us that we are not so deserving or good enough. We end up projecting this anger towards those around us. We, therefore, look at people from as close as friends and distant relatives through their flaws and fail to have compassion for their struggles and distractions.
Cynicism forms a negative filter through our observations, we end up missing on the joys of life. It becomes an us vs them mentality. It’s always advisable to ask ourselves “whose point of view is in action? Are these my true feelings or just overreactions?”
It’s not easy to make these connections. Mostly our cynical behavior mirrors those of influential figures from our past life. My friend’s story was as a result of the way her mother treated her back then. Whatever exposure we get in early life, has a lot to play in how we relate with other people when we grow up. As a grownup, it’s our role to separate these attitudes from our own and to stay know and differentiate from bad influences when we were young, so we don’t cause harm to our closest friends.
This kind of negativity can be contagious and affect those around us. It creates hostility, alienation and a feeling of self-protection and isolation. We are the ones with the control of this cynicism and remember that when we get cynical, it’s us who suffer in the end.
Being optimistic makes us happier and healthier. Positive emotion is a major factor in psychological and physical wellness. So why don’t we focus on the good on people? Why should we suffer because of other peoples flaws? How do we get rid of the cynical attitudes that bring us to our downfall?
Staying away from cynicism doesn’t necessarily mean that we pay less attention to our emotions. It involves us dealing with our emotions without having them affect how we view the world. Acknowledge your emotions and explore them fully, then after, decide how you would like to act.
Don’t gossip or talk ill about it, on the other hand, find out the cause of these cynical reactions? Is it anger or hurt? Are we projecting self-attacks? Are we in our right point of view? Then we can talk to someone else about how we feel, or at least acknowledge the feelings. After that, we would be in a better position to know what actions to take that won’t destroy our experience.
We have to be very sensitive to ourselves and identify our experiences. Develop a compassionate attitude that makes us open, curious, accepting and loving to our selves.
Feeling secure about ourselves leaves us in a better position to express compassion towards others. Recognize the fact that everyone has their struggles. When other people hurt us they are probably doing so from a defensive position and end up hurting themselves as well. Everyone has their shortcomings.
With Compassion, we have to acknowledge that we all think differently. Compassion allows us to feel our pain, anger or frustrations in a more controlled nondestructive manner.
We create the world we live in and it’s key that we accept that. Cultivating compassion instead of cynicism, we all feel great. Being understanding and open relieves the destructive attitudes and shows us the best of the people we live with.