Off and on there has been a trend where it’s acceptable and even cool to be totally “over it” and generally not interested in anything. Deciding to not like something, even if you aren’t familiar with what it is or why someone else might like it, is far easier than trying to figure out what it even is. By saying you don’t like things, you don’t have to commit or even make a decision about new things. It’s an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality, leading to cynicism.
The real problem comes when you start deciding not to like any particular person, not because you’ve spent time with them and learned that you aren’t compatible with them on one or more levels, but because you decided you disagreed with some small thing you saw or heard. A cynical person will seek out the negative in anyone they come in contact with and in this social media age, probably share it with someone or the world at large.
Knock it off. The more you spend time finding all the bad bits of everything, or just plain hating stuff, the more you allow your brain to marinate in negativity – and the more you are training it to be miserable and unhappy all the time – and that’s bad news for everyone, especially yourself.
Fear not, there is a cure!
The cure for cynicism is gratitude, optimism, and respect. When you make an effort to counteract cynical thoughts with ones that are either respectful, optimistic, or demonstrate gratitude, you are training your brain to seek out those things first. Make the practice of replacing stinking thinking with uplifting a conscious effort.
If you aren’t in the practice of doing this, it’s going to feel weird at first. When you look in the mirror and the first thing that flies into your brain is, “Wow, I look like hot garbage today” then take a moment to correct yourself and say something else, like, “Today is a new day” or “I am filled with purpose.” Whatever you say, whether it be super obvious or lovely and thoughtful, keep doing it. The more you train your brain to find the good, the more it will seek it out without you thinking about it, and the better you will feel.
Drop off zones used to make me so angry
So…I tend to suffer from road rage – especially when it comes to the school drop-off zone and the rules that keep being forgotten. When a car stops at the most convenient spot to let off their little princess instead of pulling all the way forward to make room for everyone, I tend to let a few choice words fly. Then my kiddos started doing it too. Sigh…
It was time for a change. When someone is being intentionally moronic, or way too slow, or makes a ridiculous choice, I try my best to find a few good things to say or not say anything at all. Some of my favorite swaps are, “Be brave, you can do it!” or “You got this momma!” Interestingly enough, my stress level about the whole drop-off situation actually calmed down when I didn’t allow my mouth to run away with my angry brain. And even better – hearing the kiddos say these things is the best thing ever.
Discussion question: What’s the dumbest thing about a stranger that got you mad? Tell us in the comments!