I’ve been called cynical a good number of times in my life. Most of these times were when I was a little younger, particularly in my teenage years when I wore the label as something of a badge of honor. I believed that cynical people weren’t deserving of criticism because they simply saw things for what they really are, which just happened to be a harsher view than the average person. I felt as though being called cynical was really just a way of saying that I thought differently and saw clearly. I was proud of that.
These days, I try to distance myself from the term when I can because I recognize the negative edge that cynicism can have. Now I generally think in much more positive terms (or at least I try to), and consequently I’m far more aware of when negativity creeps into my thoughts and words. I think it’s true that being an authentically hardened cynic can genuinely be detrimental to a person’s life experience (or at least diminish the enjoyment one can have in their life, even if they don’t realize it). Still, every now and again I run into the cynic label and have to address whether I’m being misunderstood or if it’s coming from the tiny cynic that’s still hiding deep inside me, rearing its ugly little head. But I think I’ve pinpointed a key distinction that draws a practical line in the sands of cynicism.Read More