“I always think that cynics are really romantics who have been crushed sometime in their lives and have put up this cynical mask to protect themselves.”
This quotation makes me think of one thing: Vulnerability.
Actually, more appropriately, it makes me think of a lack of vulnerability.
Unfortunately, I believe that this quotation is more accurate than most of us want to believe. Why, after all, are we cynical in the first place? For me, cynicism is my coping mechanism: Why be serious and face reality when I can be cynical and detach? Cynicism is also useful for connecting with other like-minded people. In fact, I am pretty sure Husband and I bond quite a bit over our cynical nature (who doesn’t love a little late night snuggling while watching The Colbert Report???).
If we are all hiding behind cynicism, what are we not revealing to everyone else? Are we afraid of reality? Are we afraid of being hurt? Or have we all been hurt just enough times to make us not want it to happen again. I don’t really know the answers to these questions. Regardless, it all comes back to a fear of being vulnerable.
As much as I love being cynical most of the time, I strongly believe that if everyone (not just me) was 1/2 as cynical and 2x as vulnerable, we would connect with each other in a much more authentic and meaningful way. Cynicism is easy, it is funny, it is relatable, and it is common. Vulnerability is the exact opposite: it is hard, scary, uncomfortable, and very individual. We are all vulnerable for different reasons, yet we all have one thing in common: Vulnerability itself.
As Brené Brown would say, “lean into the discomfort.” We shouldn’t be so reliant on cynicism. On the surface it might feel like we are connecting in a comical way, but every time we are cynical, we run the risk of isolating the people we are with. There is no easy solution to this. I wish I could say that I would stop being so cynical all the time. However, I don’t think I am quite ready for it all at once.
Maybe it needs to start with one person – then hopefully it will spread.