Saturday, January 06, 2007

Rethinking Cynicism

Young people have not had the life-experiences we have had, so to them, the confusing, frustrating, and frightening situations they find themselves in are accompanied by very real and strong emotions. Some of these assaults come fast and furious, and for more students than you can imagine, the caustic messages that inevitably follow these trials flow like acid rain. You are too short or too tall. You are too fat or too skinny. You’ll never get it right. You are ugly. You are too slow, too dumb, too smart. You’ll never amount to anything. Nobody wants to be your friend. Nobody likes you. Your nose is too big. Your ears stick out. You are gay. You are weak. More often than not, these assailing voices echo into adulthood, resulting in individuals who live in fear, anxiety, depression, cynicism, or a state of perpetual anger. If you think I’m kidding, take a good hard look at the adults in your life, your friends, and your family. If you created a list of the fearful, hesitant, anxious, depressed, and cynical people in your life, how long would it be? This would also be a good time to launch an introspective look into your own heart.

Take cynicism, for example. Our culture has become blatantly cynical over the past few decades. Yet we weren’t born that way; young children are not that way. Where did that cynical mindset begin? The answer lies in the adolescent years. Cynicism is really just a wall that is set up around the heart. This wall often results from a vow that made at some point in your life, a vow to never let yourself get hurt in a particular way again. Maybe someone important lied at a critical point in your journey. Maybe your heart was crushed by something someone said or did to you.


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