Sheridan Taylor Logo


Sheridan Taylor

In which our hero explains the cancer of cynicism in our minds and society, and how to turn that shit around and develop mental flexibility.

I’ve been talking about what I’ve learned about why I’m fucked up. I’ve talked about how I’ve recovered, and how to prevent this same shit that’s affected so many people from poisoning the next generations. I’ve pointed out symptoms and signs and causes of mental illness. I’ve talked about using various tools to recover from, or at least mitigate, harm.

But, it doesn’t have to end there, at a return to zero state. We can build from there. We have the tools preprogrammed into us. Yeah, damaged adults need to fix our shit, but we can also learn how to prevent it from impacting our kids and grandkids. We do that by focusing on the positive attributes we were born with and still exist inside us, despite having them fucking crushed by life into a tiny ball hidden away in the corner of our soul. Then we show the kids of our society how to find their own strengths and attributes to prevent them from becoming infected with mental illness, especially the sick and judgmental indoctrination they’ll face in our post-secondary institutions.

We have to learn, believe, and teach cynicism isn’t realism. Cynicism is a lack of flexible thinking. It’s just a continuation of negative thinking. It’s possible for humans to be both realistic and content. Realism acknowledges there’re problems in life, we’ll need to find ways to overcome them, and we have the capacity to do so. No matter how shitty things get, we can still find contentment through seeking meaning and responsibility. We can’t make the world something it isn’t but we can change how we see it, foster an optimistic attitude through flexible thought processes, and act in positive ways that’ll create tiny pockets of balance. Be the person you want to have in your life.

I’ve had to focus on the ugly in my past to deal with that shit in the present, but only so I could put it down and go forward into tomorrow without it. I don’t want to spend my life looking back, or dwelling on the ugliness. That meant I could only see ugly around me today. Gratitude keeps depression away, curiosity banishes fear, and hope prevents cynicism. Hope isn’t a lack of realism, or blind optimism. I recognize obstacles will arise and I’ll need to overcome them.

The Dalai Lama used a term, “stupid happiness,” I really like. He explained only a fool would stop to admire the view with a smile when they’re being chased by a bear. Trying to only be happy is denial of reality and inflexible thinking. But when I was hopeless and cynical, I couldn’t even set a goal, never mind lay out a plan to reach that goal. Now that I can experience hope, I set goals, see the hurdles, and make a plan to deal with or prevent them.

Cynical is just another word for hopeless. Cynicism and nihilism are pretty closely related. Synonyms for cynicism are: pessimism, sarcasm, suspicion, disparagement, scepticism, and distrust. That’s a pretty bleak outlook on life, isn’t it? A certain kind of person tries to give the impression of wit and intelligence by projecting cynicism. They aren’t witty or intelligent. They’re weak and surrendering free will to an imagined predetermined fate because it’s easier than practicing self-determination, creativity, or perseverance. When you’re cynical, there’s no such thing as justice, hope, or optimism, so why try? Cynicism is surrender. You fight it with realism, with spirituality, belief, humour, knowledge, and determination. These things are where we find courage and wisdom. Where we find courage and wisdom, we find hope, and where we find hope, we find happiness.