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Cynicism And You

August 13, 2014

I’m a self-described cynic, I don’t easily buy into the notion that people can be fully honest and I have a hard time believing people are as genuine as they seem. There’s also a whole world of other thoughts I have as well, that are just depressing and sad. I don’t like this side to myself. It’s been a constant companion for as long as I can remember, but I’ve never liked it. I’ve never liked how I can’t just trust people and their motives.

Yes, I know that lying is a coping mechanism in this world and that to get by you need to lie. How we got to the point that ‘honesty is the best policy’ I will never know, because honesty isn’t always the best policy and honesty can hurt just as much as a lie. People will try to justify it by comparing into to a band-aid where, ‘Rip it off as fast as you can and the pain’s only a few minutes,’ that’s bullshit. It’ll always be bullshit. Some truths are just too harsh for people and they leave emotional scars.

Having this in my head all the time I can safely say I don’t like being lied to. Or at least deceived. I’m okay with a lie as long as you and I both know it’s a lie and we don’t acknowledge it’s a lie. But the moment you try to actively deceive me then I have an issue. Yes, lies can be deceptive, but to me a deception is more a, ‘Aha! I’m smarter than you!’ Sort of deal where a lie is just protecting someone from an uncomfortable truth and a deception is just because you think the person is too stupid to notice. It’s insulting.

And what does all of this have to do with cynicism? Well, as I said: my cynicism is about people and their motives and disbelieving they’re telling the whole truth. It tends to make one paranoid and I’ve been lied to enough by so many people (mostly the ones I could give a shit about) I tend to see everyone as one big lie waiting to happen. I’d liken this to tooth decay. Sure, it starts off slow, but eventually it becomes an insidious thing that touches every aspect of your life.

This is what I’m sick of and what I’m working toward changing. I’m not always successful and keeping it in check and if I care about a person it makes these feelings worse. I’m also not advocating believing everything that everyone tells you because that’s just as bad as being cynical. No, we shouldn’t take people entirely at their word all the time, but we also shouldn’t be treating everyone as if they’re just aiming to get something from us and then screw us over in the end.

My cynicism has also led me to dislike being social or not ‘join in on the fun’, because how can you when you think the people are one moment away from turning their back on you? Or worse yet: using you for their own means? It’s all really childish and one thing that I should’ve worked on changing so long ago, but in my teens and 20’s it made a hell of a lot more sense to keep it around then than it does now. Except now it’s trying to shed a deeply ingrained personality flaw that you’re pretty sure will never be completely eradicated.

It’s a balancing act and one that requires good judgment and a healthy dose of realism. Remember: lies are agreements between two people. First the person needs to lie and then the other person needs to agree to the lie. If the lie is too unbelievable or too much then it doesn’t work. And yes, I’m saying it’s okay to lie. Just don’t lie for the hell of it or for fun.

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