Does mistrust of others hold you back in life and prevent you from being happy, showing love, being transparent about your feelings, or accepting love yourself?
Cynicism is the inherent distrust of other people’s perceived selfish motivations. Especially in our current world, cynicism is in no short supply. You believe that there’s nothing waiting for you in other people beyond betrayal and manipulation.
While being skeptical is an important life skill, cynicism shouldn’t be its default setting.
What Does It Matter if I’m Cynical?
While boundaries are an essential part of life, unwillingness to place any trust in others makes collaboration impossible.
The driving force in your life should not be the fear of other people. Some people are worthy of your trust. Some people are worthy of your love.
You can’t live your entire life alone and you should not build such high walls that people who could be beneficial to your life, mentors, lovers, and colleagues have no way of connecting with you.
Both mentally and physically, this cynicism will harm you and hold you back.
What Are Some Meaningful Steps I Can Take to Quell My Cynicism?
- Create Boundaries: This one in particular may seem antithetical to the idea of fighting cynicism, but it’s an incredibly important step.
You cannot begin to lay the foundational layer of building trust with others without defining your hard no’s in interpersonal relationships.
- Follow the Path of Nature: Going all the way back to the Greek Cynics and their philosophical tenets, nature provides us with the correct way to live.
Be flexible and flowing to life’s challenges, but hard and steadfast when push comes to shove.
Also, walking around nature itself is a great way to remind yourself that not all is wrong or bad in the world.
- Take Inventory and Practice Gratitude: What can you eliminate from your life and what can you donate? These can be as simple as inanimate objects that give you stress or unhappiness or people in your life that take too much of your energy.
If you take inventory of the things and people that make you happy and energize you, you’ll find a wealth of gratitude.
Finding the objects and people you appreciate most goes a long way in redefining your worldview and accepting that positivity and trustworthiness is possible from others.
- Embrace Happiness: Don’t always assume you’re going to have a bad time or someone else is out to get you.
Try to be interested in conversations with people, accept their invites sometimes, and don’t be blind to things other people can teach you.
Write down positive experiences, make an active effort to remember them. It’s easier to recall negative thoughts, so it’s time to find new ways to remember the good times.
- Focus On Mindfulness: You don’t realize when you’re on autopilot. Be conscious, be aware, and be present in every moment of your life.
When you’re sitting on a park bench admiring the scenery or enjoying a delicious meal, remember where you are, who you are, and what you’re doing and savor it.
The minute details and beauty of existence are so important to take stock of with regularity.
- Laugh Every Day: You should find something to smile about or laugh at every single day. Even if it’s small or absurd like your dog squealing when he yawns, focus on those moments.
- Disconnect: You know it’s hard to disconnect, especially if your job revolves around a computer, but you should find ways to be happy and content when the devices are away.
Take a bubble bath or go for a walk or eat a meal with your partner and agree that the phones stay away. Those moments of connection with nature, yourself, other people, or your pets are priceless.
- Be Yourself: Just like setting up boundaries takes examination, self-examination is important. Who are you? What are your principles and objectives in life? What interests you? What drives you? How do you spend your free time? What do you do for self-care and to relax?
Knowing yourself is the majority of the battle because you’re the best architect of your self-care and journey.
- Examine Your Echo Chamber: What types of people do you surround yourself with? Who do you follow on social media? What groups do you consider yourself a part of? What kind of news and blogs do you consume?
All aspects of influence from the people in your life to the ideas and perspectives you subscribe to should be examined to see if they are contributing to your negative thought loops.
It’s important to take a look at the way you think and what effects your media consumption has on your state of mind from time to time.
- Note Best Qualities and Find New People With Those Attributes: After taking inventory of your friends, family, and loved ones and the positive values they bring to your life, note all the qualities in them that you hold most dear. Write them down, think about them when you’re talking to new people.
As new people exhibit those same qualities that bring you joy and make you feel comfortable with being vulnerable with them, embrace that trusting them may come easier.
Finding new people to allow into your circle that have earned the right to be trusted is the whole goal of reducing your cynical outlook and will help to enhance your life and teach you new things.
Tackle the steps above in whatever order you choose and implement these changes. Hold yourself accountable. The only way to make life changes stick is to be honest about them and your progress. Lay a single brick each day.
Whether you let 100 new people or 1 new person into your life and make yourself vulnerable, the trip was worth it.
Personal growth and happiness go hand in hand with recognizing your negative patterns and taking active steps to change them.