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Taming our Cynicism

Michelle Martin
Taming Our Cynicism The United States and much of the world's population continue to experience natural and human influenced stressors. 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 sometimes 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.

Much of our suffering comes from attempting to control the beliefs and/or actions of other people. The fact is people hurt people. It doesn't always make sense as to why, and that is something we must own and work on individually. However, indifference does not assist with improving our circumstances and only slows our personal growth…to a snail's pace.  

We may never fully understand why humans behave the way they do. However, cynicism can keep us from connecting and experiencing genuine loving relationships. We have control over our own perspectives, and how we choose to behave during difficult experiences. Take a moment to evaluate how you manage adversity. Do you default to negativity and judgement? Do you hold onto your pain as a defense? Are you able seek and extend forgiveness? It requires honesty and courage to attempt to better understand your thoughts and behaviors. If you want to make improvements but don't know where to start, consider enhancing a few areas of your life.   

Negative people are emotionally draining. Instead of lingering in negativity practice compassion for what struggles other people may be moving through. Focus on the good things happening in your life when you feel other parts are suffering. Reframe your mindset and internal dialog to remain optimistic whenever possible, and if there are struggles which are too difficult reach out to friends, family, or health professionals who can help support you.

Statistics around isolation have revealed loneliness has reached epidemic proportions. The Health Resources & Services Administration report social isolation can be as damaging to our health as smoking fifteen cigarettes a day. We know social connection is good for our health, so 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 change, and in return we get to connect with others in our community. Find an organization which resonates with you, and get the whole family involved. 

Most of us are moving through life in the express lane. It can be difficult to slow down long enough to appreciate the beauty of life, let alone how present we are in each moment. Take the time to fully engage with people; make eye contact, listen rather than speak, or pay–it–forward when you're able. Practice mindfulness with your surroundings using all of your senses. Attempt to be aware of how you are affecting people around you, as we sometimes leave an emotional wake behind us. How you treat people is a direct reflection of how you feel about yourself, so remember to practice self–care, self–forgiveness and positive self–talk.

Whomever or whatever you feel has harmed you or created a sense of indifference, transforming those feelings into cynicism will only limit your potential. Instead, validate your feelings, but shift your perspective to see the experience as a learning opportunity. Share this acquired knowledge with others whom may be moving through their own adversity. When we understand we are sharing the same types of fears and frustrations it can help us understand each other better. Most of us carry some aspect of pain and disappointment, so remember to be both courageous and kind as you move through life. Keep your boundaries and expectations in check but stay confident in yourself and the journey you are experiencing.
Michelle MartinMichelle is a Certified International Health Coach (CIHC) and Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. She supports Canopy’s health and wellness initiatives through a holistic approach based on bio–individuality. Michelle writes and speaks about health-related issues including sleep hygiene, nutrition, mindfulness, and forgiveness. She has presented for a wide variety of industries and audiences, and encourages attendees to be boldly curious about their wellness journey. Michelle volunteers her time as a National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) instructor, providing evidence-based education and coaching for families of loved ones with a mental health condition.

Along with supporting wellbeing initiatives, she is part of the Customer Success Management team and assists with providing proactive service and solutions for Canopy Members and partners.