After a rough couple of years while I was a teenager which included a natural disaster and my parents’ divorce (and one parent’s subsequent moral downward spiral), I became extremely cynical and bitter. Before that point (until about age 16), I had been a very upbeat, carefree, and idealistic person. I got better over time, but as a young adult in my mid-20’s, I find that I still have not yet recovered completely.
I think pessimistic cynicism eats away one’s faith and forms a hard, ugly scab to prevent God’s grace from reaching one. I find that my default attitude is to assume that people are nasty, dishonest, and petty. I feel like people will try to take advantage of me as soon as they are able, and so take great care to leave no opening. I tend to notice the weaknesses in others’ characters instead of their virtues, and do so in order to arm myself in case they try to “attack” me. I trust very few people. Part of this is because I’m living in a non-Christian, third-world country with a different set of morals and where cruelty is common. Still, I feel that if I trusted more in God’s mercy and love, I would be able to be optimistic despite my surroundings.
Is this the same as despair? A sort of despair about human nature and the world in general? Anyone have any experience with this?