Family Works: Speaking on cynicism
by ROB COOMBS ID. Min. Ph.D.
Jun 01, 2014 | 1066 views | 0 0 comments | 46 46 recommendations | email to a friend | print
It’s difficult to encounter a day without meeting a cynic. With so many things that can and do go wrong, it’s little wonder that there are an abundance of individuals who stand ready and willing to point out that such mishaps, mistakes, and poor outcomes are an inevitable part of life.

No one describes this reality more aptly than Mr. Murphy. His law, "Murphy's Law," stated: “If anything can go wrong, it will.” Some “corollaries” epitomize the essence of negative thinking. Listen to just a few: (1) Nothing is as easy as it looks; everything takes longer than you think. (2) A day without a crisis is a total loss. (3) The other line always moves faster. (4) The chance of the bread falling with the peanut butter-and-jelly side down is directly proportional to the cost of the carpet. (5) Inside every large problem is a series of small problems struggling to get out. (6) No matter how long or hard you shop for an item, after you've bought it, it will be on sale somewhere else cheaper. (7) The repairman will never have seen a model quite like yours before. (8) Friends come and go, but enemies accumulate. (9) The light at the end of the tunnel is the headlight of an oncoming train. (10) Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clear to the bone.

As humorous as these sayings might be, they reflect the sad reality that many individuals look at life through a cynical lens. Nothing is ever quite right. Regardless of how positive an experience may be, the cynic finds the negative. No matter how bright the sun may be shining, the cynic finds a black cloud.

How does one become a cynic? After all, young children are not cynical. At best, it usually takes at least 30 years to grow a full-blown cynic. A seasoned and ripe cynic usually takes about 75 years, long enough to earn the distinguished title of being a grumpy old man or a spiteful old lady.

To become a cynic one travels through a series of emotional stages. Cynicism finds its roots in anger, or more precisely anger that is allowed to remain unresolved. Such anger festers over time, gaining a life of its own. This unresolved anger remains evident even when the individual’s life is going reasonably well.

Over time, anger that remains unresolved turns into hatred. Hatred is more widespread than anger, thus becoming indiscriminate concerning its targets. Hateful people are miserable to be around, whether you know them or not. Once hate has taken firm root, the hateful person eventually becomes bitter.

Bitterness leaves the feeling that nothing can or ever will be right with life again. Eventually, this bitterness progresses into cynicism, a pervasive attitude that life is a rather miserable experience.

How does one avoid becoming a cynic?

Deal openly and honestly with your anger. Don’t allow unresolved anger to take root. If you do, then you risk the progression from anger to hatred to bitterness to cynicism.

Unless you are hoping to become a grumpy old man or a spiteful old lady, refuse to travel down this road.