I have to admit I struggle with cynicism at times. Like most everyone else in life, I have faced my fair share of betrayal, rejection, ridicule, and failures.
As a result, the optimist in me that always hopes for the best in others, myself, and circumstances is often let down.
This leads me to create an internal default shield to help protect me from habitual disappointments – ie: cynicism.
However, my cynicism is actually a by-product of being a wounded optimist.
In time, this can lead a tender hearted person to harden their heart, and abandon their softer side for the more protective and guarded stance.
Thus, forging relationships becomes more difficult, or shallow, and trust becomes a mythical tale of long ago. It’s traded instead for a life of “survival of the fittest” and “dog eat dog”.
How many of us can get caught up in this mindset, and what is the wounded optimist to do? We are to love others anyway. Trust others anyway. Help others anyway.
Mother Theresa is credited for a collection of wisdom principles called “Do It Anyway”. It’s a great reminder that even though we may be taken for granted, taken advantage of, ridiculed, rejected, and betrayed, we should do the right thing anyway.
It’s as easy, and at the same time, as difficult as that.
Perhaps a cynic is a realist. They understand the likelihood of disappointment. However, we don’t have to abandon our optimism. When we choose to trust, love, and help anyway, we get the joy of surprise, reciprocity, sacrifice, authenticity, and vulnerability – such blessings are treasures the cynic rarely gets to experience.
So, when my cynic begins to rise, I remember it’s really my optimist fearing disappointment. And it’s that same disillusionment in earthly things that helps me refocus my hope to the only firm foundation there is – Jesus Christ.