Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Why So Cynical?

I don’t know if my cynical radar is amplified, but it seems lately it’s picking up a particular signal and I don’t like what it’s playing.  I don’t want to think it’s the people around me, that I’d choose to surround myself with such an attitude, but it seems to be like an infection spreading over the universe.  What disease or situation am I talking about?  Cynicism, especially when it comes to love and romance.

According to Webster – a cynic is:
1.   A person who believes that only selfishness motivates human actions and who disbelieves in or minimizes selfless acts or disinterested points of view.
2.   One of a sect of Greek philosophers, 4th century BCE, and who advocated the doctrines that virtue is the only good, that the essence of virtue is self-control, and that surrender to any external influence is beneath human dignity.
3.   A person who shows or expresses a bitterly or sneeringly cynical attitude.

Where are the romantics? Surely they don’t just live in novels, because that would truly prove a depressing world in which to live. So, I ask myself WHY?  Why are people so bitter and cynical?  What’s happened to create this atmosphere and social paradigm shift? 

My only guess would be pain, heart-break and disappointment.  But, that is something we all have experienced in one form or the other, or if we haven’t yet, we will.  It’s like a human right-of-passage.  Pain cannot be avoided.  But, allowing that pain to replace hope, romance, or a positive outlook on relationships shouldn’t be accepted. 

I know too many people who are romantic at heart, but refuse to allow even a modicum of romance in their lives.  They’d rather be alone, than risk being hurt or rejected.  They’d rather protect themselves with an armored coat of cynicism than get lost in the idea of romance.

I’ve been hurt.  I’ve been let down.  I’ve been rejected.  I’ve been unloved.  I’ve been disappointed.  I’ve been used.  I’ve been abused.  But, where is MY romance, adoration and the opportunity to be cherished? When do I get a chance to be the girl deemed worthy enough to put it all on the line and risk everything, to give everything, or to trust enough to place the most precious of hopes, dreams and aspirations into her hands?  I seem to always find the damaged men who have given up on love and romance because they have failed in a previous relationship.  You know what?  It failed in my previous relationships too, but I refuse to give up.  Instead, I hope even harder. 

Someone I once loved used to tell me, “I tried that romance stuff before… the poetry, the flowers, all that junk, and all it ever got me was looking like a fool, because the first jerk that came around and treated them like dirt walked away with them.”  Perhaps he was right, because he never used any of that romance stuff on me, in fact, he withheld all romantic and intimate feelings and acts, and I stuck with him for twenty years.  If anyone should be a cynic, it should be me.

I have a friend who says he’s no good when it comes to romance, and believes he will mess up any relationship he has that involves it, and thus has decided to abort all romance from his life.  He hides that part of himself from the friend whom he claims to love and honor most.  He has convinced himself the friendship is better without it; safer, truer, though it was initially built partly by romance.  Perhaps that’s true on his part, but doesn’t he think his friend would want all of him, including the romantic side?  If he keeps that part of himself isolated, he’s cheating them.  He gets all of them, or they are forced to deny a part of who they are and only give half of themselves, and they only receive half of each other. Two halves, in this case, don’t make a whole. His cynicism of romance and the rejection of it is damaging to the relationship. 

The act of NO romance will eventually kill a relationship just as much, if not more, than previous failed romantic endeavors.  I hope cynicism doesn’t destroy this relationship and the cynic is able to keep his friend, even if it’s just as a friend.  Unrequited love hurts more than lost love. With lost love, at least the love was there at one time before it became lost.

I have another friend that doesn’t even try to have a relationship at all, who cuts themselves off from even being in any position to accidentally stumble into a romantic relationship of any kind.  Yet, sometimes I can see a small glimmer in her heart that tells me the harder she pushes the possibility away, the taller and thicker she builds her walls, the stronger I know she really wants it, but too afraid to open herself to it.  She’s convinced herself she doesn’t need love and romance at all.  We all need love, that’s how we were designed… to love and be loved in return.

I hope I can inspire her to heal her cynicism, though I feel I’m a terrible example.  She’s watched me go through my pain, my adventures, my new meetings, new experiences and new hopes, saw my tears, felt my heart-break and listened to my disappointments when I failed, yet again.  She is there with me as I fight through these fears and even with a freshly-wounded heart, watches me as I open it yet again knowing full well it could get crushed, abused or used.  I could very much fail again and fear the solidification of her cynicism. 

I believe with all my soul that as long as I keep my heart open to romance, no matter how much abuse it receives, someday… someday it will receive the love, desire and romance it deserves… that I deserve.  The only thing I know is … if I close my heart and allow this disease of cynicism to consume me… I will never receive it.  The love I have for myself continues to heal me, sustain me, and give me the strength to get up and try again.  I may get my heart broken over and over, but I also… just maybe… maybe find love.  

I choose to remain optimistic.  I wish I could inspire my friends to do the same because I truly want them all to be happy and deliriously in love.  Maybe they are perfectly happy in their cynicism and it’s my romantic notions that don’t understand. If that’s the case, and it could very well be, then I don’t want to understand and become cynical too; I am meant to be romantic.  I could love and accept them as a cynic, and hope they can love and accept me as a crazy romantic in return.  I’m not saying they’re wrong in their methods, I’m just saying their methods are not right for me.  My methods may be the wrong kind, especially in light of my constant failure, but I can’t give up.  I hope they still love me after they read this blog post… they are cynics, after all. 

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

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