It seems to me that cynicism has increased over the past few decades and so has the practice of dissing people’s dreams. Whereas in the 1960s people dreamed big impossible dreams, we have stopped this practice in favor of apathy and over analyzing. We think this makes us smarter and we tell people to face the “truth” or “reality”, but have we considered that a cynical “reality” isn’t worth living?
If you think that you don’t share this practice with others and the world, consider these following phrases:
You’re not facing reality.
And what planet are you from?
Oh, yeah, and pigs can fly.
Uh-huh, you’re dreaming girl.
And what makes you so special?
It’s not worth voting because we’ll just get another fool in office.
Why should I care?
The world is going to Hades in a hand basket.
No one cares any longer.
or the sarcastic version of “Good luck.”
If you have used any of those phrases in the past 24+ hours then you suffer from cynicism. And the cynicism epidemic shows up every where these days from the media, movies, magazines, social media, blogs, etc…It shows up in songs. Remember the happier songs from other eras? If you don’t, take a trip to YouTube and look up the following songs: Take the A Train by Duke Ellington, Sir Duke by Stevie Wonder, Let’s Face the Music and Dance (Fred Astaire or Nat King Cole) or just listen to Broadway tunes with happy lyrics. If you need some help with this, leave a comment and I’ll give you a list of songs.
Well, here’s the truth. We’re not doomed. We still have time to change the way we live on the planet. We still have time to change our bad habits. We still have time to change our diet, the way we relate to our parents, children and friends. We still have time to make a difference and change our corner of the world. We still have time to write songs, paint art, write novels, etc that matter and make a difference in someone’s life. But do we have the will? Do we have the strength to overcome our collective and individual cynicism?
The first step is to clear all those self-defeating thoughts from your mind and all that grief, anger, and wounds from your heart. Perhaps you suffered a blow many years ago that caused you to lose your childlike innocence, but here’s the deal, you can get it back.
The second step is to make the choice to transform your cynicism and despair into Hope. And you might have to travel way back in time to your childhood dreams to achieve this. Remember when you were a child and you dreamed of world travel? Remember when you dreamed of a certain profession? Remember when you told your friends what you wanted to do as an adult? Remember how you would lie there on the grass staring at the clouds floating past and you dreamed big? The only thing stopping you now is your disbelief in making the impossible possible.
The third step is to play more. Go outside, climb a tree, jump in a puddle, hold a frog or cricket in your hand. Watch a dragonfly flit about or listen closely to the different bird songs in your environment. Talk to a tree, pick up pebbles on a beach and get back in touch with your inner child who loves the natural world. Go to the library and pick up children’s books and sit in a favorite spot to read them. Write silly poetry from your ten-year old mind. In other words, have fun because fun and cynicism can’t co-exist.
The fourth step is to read inspiring biographies or better yet autobiographies of inventors, celebrities who started out with a disability and overcame it. You can also watch Ted Talks inspirational videos on YouTube, but be careful with Ted Talks because I’ve found a few cynical talks and they’re usually about dissing someone else’ view or lifestyle.
While I understand we need to transform every single structure and system on the planet, we won’t get there by complaining and pointing the finger at corporations or political figures. We will get there by supporting positive solutions that exist in the world, by buying products with ethics behind them, by cleaning up our lives while telling ourselves that yes, we do make a good difference. Focus on the positive changes we can make now on this day.
Stay away from us verses them situations and attitudes. That is another shadow of cynicism and is self-defeating. Perhaps you have certain views these days that you defend with your life, but you might not have those same views 10 or 20 years from now. As I get older, I have noticed many of the views I held in my 20s and 30s, transformed. As we grow and experience life more fully, our views and opinions change so stay mindful of that and refrain from attacking someone else’ views.
Finally, instead of reading books and other publications where cynicism finds a breeding ground (anything that attacks someone or something else), find inspirational literature such as the biographies I mentioned earlier, love poems, children’s books, self-help books and motivational coaching books. Read comedy, but stay away from sarcasm or demeaning comedy because that also breed cynicism. Stay clear of the news unless you want to feel a case of cynicism coming on. If you’re the type of person who shouts at the radio or television when the news airs, you’re in the danger zone. Turn off the television or radio and go for a walk or go take a warm salt bath.
Last but not least, when people share their dreams with you, don’t shoot them down with your “truth” or “reality”. You might just be swallowing your own bitter pill and forcing that on others. Instead, allow the person to share their dream with you and then ask, “What is your next step to achieving this dream?” Or even better, “How can I help you in achieving your dream? Thank you for sharing.”
All the big events in history and inventions we take for granted started out as “impossible dreams,” but the inventors refrained from cynicism. Had they not, I wouldn’t be typing on this laptop, in an apartment building with running water and electricity while airplanes fly overhead taking people to their dream destinations. The authors wouldn’t have written the books I love, and musicians would have tossed in the towel instead of providing us with music that feeds our souls. And what if your favorite movie director never made your favorite movie? What if we succumbed to eating miserable food choices because we had to avoid gluten instead of reinventing the food market?
Let’s applaud those positive-thinking pioneers that despite naysayers in the world manifested their “impossible” dreams. And if you follow the above steps I mentioned earlier in the post, you too can walk away from cynicism and bring positive transformation to the world. To quote Hay House, “You can do it.”
I give intuitive coaching sessions for artists and other creatives in Bellingham, Washington and surrounding areas. Go to http://www.wholemusicexp.weebly.com for details.