Slapping the donkey of cynicism
Believe it or not, there’s an even more depressing and contemptible law than Murphy’s Law:
“All good things must come to an end.”
Who would possibly believe or say such a thing, and why?
I wonder why we resist hope so much and embrace cynicism so readily.
Hope is risky; it sets us up for possible pain and disappointment when things don’t work out the way we had hoped.
Cynicism, therefore, is a defensive mechanism; we use it to avoid being hurt and disappointed.
When we don’t allow ourselves to reach for the sky, we can never crash to the ground.
There’s one problem with that perspective: It guarantees that we will always remain on the ground, firmly mired in perpetual disappointment.
“End of the road. Nothing to do, and no hope of things getting better.” “Eeyore
“Good morning, Pooh Bear,” said Eeyore gloomily. “If it is a good morning,” he said. “Which I doubt,” said he.
Hope also plunges us into the world of the unknown; we hope for possibility, not certainty.
Our inner Eeyore clutches cynicism because it gives him something secure he can depend on. He prefers the dismal known to the hopeful unknown.
The rain will always fall. Our plans will always go awry. Our keys will always get lost. People will always let us down.
We find a strange comfort in that certainty.
You know what? It’s true. Things always will go wrong. We will always have a reason to be frustrated and let down.
Sometimes life really does suck — but that doesn’t mean we have to be gloomy about it.
Because you know what’s even more true?
- The sun will always come out after the rain has passed.
- The lessons learned from disappointing failures give us that much more reason to hope for a better future.
- No matter what goes wrong, we always have the ability to fix it, to innovate and improve, to create solutions and solve problems.
- And even if we can’t fix what’s wrong, we get to control whether we focus on the gloomy rain or the golden sunshine.
Think about it: If we’re going to experience both pain and joy regardless, why not choose to focus on the joy?
Confirmation bias — the tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms our beliefs or hypotheses — is generally viewed as close-minded, negative, limiting.
But we can use confirmation bias to our advantage by choosing to be selectively positive about how we interpret our circumstances and experiences.
You have your hopes pegged on a business that fails. Your choice: “I knew it wouldn’t work out,” or, “I knew this was going to be an amazing educational experience! I knew I was going to learn how to increase my chances of success next time!”
You entrust a friend who then betrays you. Your choice: “You can’t trust anyone,” or “What a great opportunity to learn forgiveness and love.”
Because the truth is this: ALL of life is interpretation. Unless you’re God, everything you perceive is subjective.
Why not leverage that to your advantage by choosing to interpret every experience and circumstance through the lens of positivity, hope, gratitude, and joy?
The defensive mechanism of cynicism can easily be beaten with the offense of hope.
No, things won’t always work out the way you hope. Yes, you can be disappointed.
But hope is precisely what pulls you through those dark times. Hope is what gives you a reason to persevere. Hope is your water in the desert of disappointment, your light piercing the fog of failure.
John A. Shedd said,
“A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.”
Likewise, humans can stay safe in the harbor of cynicism, but that is not what we were created for.
We were created to hope and dream, try and fail and try again, reach for the stars and fall short and then continue reaching, striving, yearning for a better, brighter future.
Cast your cynicism aside. Reject its twisted comfort. Smack your inner Eeyore upside his gloomy head and embrace the thrill of hope.
Revel in the absolute certainty that all bad things must come to an end, and the best things in life never end: the unconditional love of our Father, the saving grace of our Brother, the stunning beauty of the sunrise, the awe-inspiring miracle of life itself.
No matter how challenging your trial, it, too, shall pass. And all good things come to those who choose to see them.