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Day 15: The Truth About Cynics

“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.”
~Jeff Bridges

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.

Image Source: Pinterest http://www.pinterest.com/pin/19984792071381336/

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.

9 thoughts on “Day 15: The Truth About Cynics

  1. That first quote really has me thinking this morning. I think I identify with that, as do a lot of others, but you are right in it’s what to do next/after/now.

    Thanks for the ponderings for today 🙂

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  2. Eloquent post. I think a lot of people project cynicism out of habit, I know I am certainly quilty of it, born out of the number of times when I used to be taken for a ride by patients. Yep, I was the gullible young doctor who prescribed pain killers and sleeping pills for a sob story.

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    1. Maybe that is just what has to happen to us to make us “better?” I don’t know. It reminds me of this conversation I was having with my psychologist one day about my anxiety/nausea and the triggers for it. I told her I started getting nauseous when I asked to acompany a rather unstable intubated/seizing pateint to the CT scanner. I was being given instructions on what to give him in every bad “crashing” situation. I followed that description by saying that I didn’t think work stress really was something that made me anxious. I told her that earlier that same day I went to a code where I did chest compressions on a frail man for quite a while. I could feel his ribs breaking and rubbing together with each compression. We tried everything but he died… and it didn’t make me nauseous. In fact, right after that, we went to eat lunch. She looked at me with a very perplexed stare and asked me, “don’t you think it’s strange that you weren’t even phased by the fact that a man died right in front of you? A man you tried to save just died and when you finished your job, it was lunch time.”
      I think about that conversation a lot. I know we have to have “distance,” but what does that do to our ability to connect as human beings?

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      1. When you are depressed, it decreases your ability to connect with anyone, let alone with patients. The first guy you were more anxious about your ability than the patient dying do that’s different. Death affects us differently than it does others even people like psychologists, it doesn’t mean we are blasé about death. I have found that psychologists are some of the worst equipped individuals when it comes to dealing their own or their family nember’s mortality when they are patients.

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  3. Ah, Brené Brown. She is my spirit animal (which I realize makes no sense). This is so true, and I want to continue on trying to lean into the discomfort. Minimal cynicism for me (at least, I hope so).

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