Cynicism isn’t hard to understand. You simply need to close your eyes and engage your imagination once you read these three words, “high school cafeteria.”
One of my friends talks about cynicism being the head table in the proverbial high school cafeteria. I still cackle when I think of his mental image of cynicism. He said, “Try to be positive or hold out hope at the ‘cynics table’ and you get yanked back real quick. Take steps to sit with the visionary weirdos and you get a bean burrito thrown in your back.”
Hope is often opposed. There are some people that don’t want you to hope again. Some are passive about it and others take active steps to keep you where you’ve been.
That may not make sense to you. Why would someone else want you to stay cynical?
Here is the sad truth…your hopeful living indicts them as they drip with cynicism.
My wife is an attorney. She helped me understand the process of bringing a case before grand jury. She told me that the plaintiff does not need to establish their case against the defendant beyond a shadow of a doubt with a grand jury to get an indictment. They simply have to achieve a reasonable standard of proof through the evidence they present. The grand jury then deliberates on whether there is enough proof to move forward with a trial, where the standard “guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt” comes into play.
For some people, you are the case before the grand jury, which achieves an the indictment every time. Your hopeful living more than establishes proof that cynicism is not the only option. Your hopeful living may even show that there is a better option than cynicism.
[callout] “When your hopeful living begins shining a light on another person’s cynicism, they may oppose you.” [/callout]
That opposition may bring your relationship to a crossroads. Sadly, in some instances, you may have to choose between hopeful living and your current community of friends.
I had to make this choice. When I decided I wanted to move away from cynicism, I had to change the people I talked with most frequently. I had to change the books I read. I had to unsubscribe to certain blogs and podcasts. I had to stop following certain people on social media. I had to stop attending the“meetings after the meeting”.
These moves were not always understood. I was asked questions by others who thought I was ignoring problems. I was pushed about why I was acting this, knowing all I knew about what was broken around me. At times, I was scared of this path. I was afraid that if I stopped listening to these voices I had become so accustomed to, I might begin to ignore the problems and become comfortable with the status quo.
Gratefully, I can say that the situations did not change one bit. I was the one who was changing. The problems did not change, but my perspective did. The way I engaged them had been altered.
But I still felt this tug of war inside of me. Maybe you have felt this feeling too. You sense a growing hope in your spirit. Or at least an openness to hope. And then you’re like a small child wearing one of those leash backpacks at Disneyland. You get yanked back to reality.
That feeling of whiplash between growing hope and resistant cynicism can hold us captive. It can derail the momentum we have begun to experience towards a future that does not resemble our past.
If you’re in that space, I hope what you’re reading is an encouragement to you. If you’ve been feeling alone in your turn towards hope, if you’ve been feeling isolated as you push back against the cynicism that has reigned in your heart, hear these words…
You. are. not. alone.
You are not the only one who is seeking to reject cynicism and embrace hope. You are not the only person who has realized the powerlessness of fear to give us the life we have always wanted. You are not alone in realizing that your choice to protect yourself has kept you from experience what you most deeply long for and desire.
Other people have walked this road before you. Don’t give up when you feel that whiplash.
Other people will walk a hopeful road after you because of your courage. They are watching you, looking for inspiration.
[Tweet “If you can live with courage and hope, instead of fear and cynicism, then maybe they can too.”]
Don’t give up.
We need your life, lived with hope and courage.
[bluebox] If you’d like to hear read more about overcoming fear with courage and hope, then subscribe to my email newsletter. You won’t miss a single update from me. In the meantime, you’ll get a copy of my ebook, Greater. In the book, I talk about how courage is greater than fear and hope is greater than cynicism. I’d love to help you live with more hope and courage today! [/bluebox]