Cynicism and How to Beat It

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?

You have alot going on some of it part of your personality, some it part of the circumstances you were brought up in and part of the culture that surrounds you. You may want to talk to your priest of confessor about this if you feel it is neccessary. Pray to soon to be “saint” Pope John XXIII who really brought about peace and saw the goodness in all people. Remember to see every person as an image of Christ and to love them. You also should work through your past and give it up to God relationships that cannot be healed.

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.

I thankfully don’t live in a third world nation, but when I’ve spent too much time with people who make me doubt the good qualities of humans, the best solution has been spending time with people who have the qualities I’ve come to doubt people have. I think the solution is spending time in different surroundings with people different than those who have caused you to doubt that there is goodness in people.

Thanks for the ideas. I would like to talk to a priest, but I will have to work through the language barrier to do so. Still, no effort is too great for freedom from this despair. I’ll also try to keep in mind that we are all brothers and sisters in Christ, even those children who do not know it.

I thankfully don’t live in a third world nation, but when I’ve spent too much time with people who make me doubt the good qualities of humans, the best solution has been spending time with people who have the qualities I’ve come to doubt people have. I think the solution is spending time in different surroundings with people different than those who have caused you to doubt that there is goodness in people.

I think you’re right. I’ll try to join some sort of church group, then. Maybe a bible study or young adult’s club. Thanks for the suggestions.

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