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Taming Our Cynicism

Keep indifference from eroding your relationships and the joy of life

Photo by Daniel Páscoa on Unsplash

The United States has been under many different types of stressors, both natural and human influenced. These stressful events have caused whole communities to suffer physically and emotionally. While we are watching the world around us move with such uncertainty we are also moving through our own painful and overwhelming circumstances. There will be many moments which test our optimism for the future. While there isn’t an easy catch-all to maintain balance, there are tools to help you discover personal growth and perspective within your own life while moving through difficult experiences.

“Inside every cynical person there is a disappointed idealist.” ~ George Carlin

When I work with clients I hear about their suffering. Many of my sessions circle back to the discussion of personal relationships. These discussions do not surprise me as I have similar conversations in my personal life. Recently I was having dinner with a group of women, each in different stages of their relationships. During our discussion a number of women confessed they didn’t want another intimate relationship because of the pain their previous relationship caused. Some of these women had controlling relationships, while others were suffering from a lack of connection, loneliness or deception. Sadly these types of experiences can plant a seed of doubt, fear, or cynicism.

I have personally experienced controlling, lonely and deceptive relationships. After my divorce and a few relationships that followed I could feel myself giving up on the idea of a genuine loving relationship. I kept asking myself why I was attracting a certain type of man. Needless to say I was asking the wrong question, and a question void of any self-awareness. It was around that time I was determined to understand why I was choosing particular men and the relationships which followed. Because we do pick our people, and these people pick us. Now instead of being frustrated about my relationships I attempt to learn from the experiences, specifically what it is I’m supposed to let go of and grow from. Some examples may be a belief system or thought process which was passed from another influence, or a personal experience which has skewed the idea of what a healthy relationship could be.

I’ve worked many years on improving myself and how I want to move through life as a human being. I’ve become highly aware of my own triggers and own my choices and behaviors. Cultivating self-awareness takes time, but it is essential to create a healthy personal foundation so you are able to identify and maintain healthy relationships. When you’re able to identify, process, and remove your own triggers you become less reactive and defensive. You will also communicate more effectively. This takes time and practice. Keep your ego in check and release the need to be right. The goal isn’t to win, it’s awareness and collaboration with someone you care about.

How you feel about yourself directly affects your relationships. Attempt to understand you cannot control other people’s behaviors and choices. You can only control your own perspective and how you choose to move through the experience provided. The fact is people hurt people. It doesn’t always make sense as to why, and that is something we each individually must own and work on. However, indifference does not assist with improving our circumstances and only slows personal growth (to a snail’s pace).

“Most cynics are really crushed romantics: They’ve been hurt, they’re sensitive, and their cynicism is a shell that’s protecting this tiny, dear part in them that’s still alive.” ~ Jeff Bridges

If you desire to understand the world, you’re not alone. We may never fully understand why humans behave the way they do. But cynicism doesn’t solve the issue. Indifference keeps you from connecting and experiencing genuine loving relationships. Your personal perspective of the world around you starts internally. It requires a lot of honesty and courage to attempt to understand yourself. However, the more you understand yourself the more you can empathize and connect with people you allow into your life. If you want to make improvements but don’t know where to start, consider incorporating these lifestyle practices.

Self-love

Treat yourself well through self-care, self-forgiveness and positive self-talk. How we feel about ourselves reflects onto our choice of partner. If we do not treat ourselves well it will be incredibly difficult to find an emotionally healthy partner who will fill that void.

Self-awareness

Most of us are moving through life in the express lane. It can be difficult to slow down enough to appreciate the beauty of life, let alone how present we are in each moment while moving through it. Take the time to fully engage with people and practice mindfulness with your surroundings. Attempt to be aware of how you are affecting those around you. How you treat people is a direct reflection of how you feel about yourself.

Perspective

You may feel defeated by the negativity of the world and some of the people in it. Instead try to see the best in people or at least have compassion for what struggles they may be moving through. You may find you have a lot of good things happening in your life that you can pull from if you feel other parts are suffering. Keep a positive mindset when possible, and if there are struggles which are too difficult reach out to friends, family or health professionals who can help support you.

Helping others

Connecting and helping people is good for our health. Take time to volunteer and see the world outside of your own circumstances. There are so many wonderful non-profit organizations fundamentally changing lives, families and communities for the better. These organizations need our help to create positive changes for those in need. Find an organization which speaks to you, and get the whole family involved all year long.

You don’t know this new me; I put back my pieces differently.

Whomever or whatever you feel has harmed you or created a sense of doubt and indifference, transforming that harm into cynicism will only limit your potential. Instead, take time to share your wisdom and talents with others. When we start to understand we are sharing the same types of fears and disappointments it can help us understand each other better. Most of us carry pain, flaws, and disappointment. Remember to be both courageous and kind as you move through life. Keep your boundaries and expectations in check, but stay confident in who you are and the journey you are experiencing.

Elle Martin is a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health and Coach and founder of SoHo Well+being. For more health information and wellness inspiration, follow her on Twitter and Facebook. @SoHoWellbeing

Originally published at medium.com

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