A friend visiting from Colorado asked an important question over lunch a couple of days ago, the answer to which finally surfaced during a quiet moment earlier today. While I didn’t ask, I imagine the question was asked as he is at an age (mid 20s) where I recall noticing the same thing in the world around me.
Some see their parents becoming cynical, others see it in family or friends farther afield. When I first saw the dark and heavy cloud that accompanies cynicism some 20 years ago, I remember feeling a mixture of horror and despair. I asked myself “How could someone give up on life and the future like that, and so early?” I also remember thinking “I sure hope that doesn’t happen to me.”
Cynicism has nothing to do with the world around you. Yes, the world can be a horrible place and yes, the accumulation of negative life experiences can be trying, but no one can force you to take an attitude in relation to the living of life. Your attitudes are your responsibility and this responsibility should never be taken lightly.
Cynicism has everything to do with the failure to come to terms with your central purpose in life. Unfortunately no one can tell you your central purpose. It has to emerge through you from the inside-out. You’ll save yourself a lot of time and disappointment if you remember that your central purpose is revealed to you as you faithfully and generously serve others.