Snark, cynicism and irony are the revered attitudes of contemporary life. Notions of high-minded humor rest on pillars of sarcasm. Salacious television programming suggests viewers be suspicious of all human interaction. And news stories often stir the pots of divisiveness, perceived helplessness and fear. Our natural reaction is to gird up. Armored with a thick skin and a vicious wit, we believe we can thrive, or can at least survive, in this age of raised eyebrows and hardened hearts.
But carrying around a combined weight of skepticism and scorn can be a heavy load. When we distrust every institution, profession or person, we become isolated. Some vent anonymously online. Some medicate. Others meditate. But living in fear of some sinister truth that lurks around every corner waiting to pounce on our latent “naiveté” isn’t the only way to live. It’s really no way to live.
An attitude of cynicism says disappointment is the only possible outcome and that we must prepare accordingly. But what if there is an alternate truth? A revelation that can free us from being overwhelmed by fear. A truth that conquers cynicism and its accompanying band of Debbie Downers: anxiety, depression and anger.
That truth is, hope exists. And if we cannot go so far as to believe anything is good–can’t we at least offer a taste of the hope that exists by doing good?
Some ideas for transforming attitudes from helplessness to hopefulness:
- Search for at least one good attribute in each person who rubs you the wrong way because hope exists in restored relationships.
- Practice empathy because hope exists when we seek to understand others.
- Be a good listener because hope exists when we help lighten another’s burden.
- Be vulnerable because hope exists when others see they are not alone.
- Be cheerful because it’s hard to have hope when you’re always bitchy.
- Pray for others because hope exists when we ask the Almighty to protect and comfort His creation.
- Filter your media input because hope flourishes when you’re not inundated with negativity. (This isn’t PollyAnna. It’s wisdom.)
- Spend time in nature because hope exists when you marvel at the universe.
- Don’t mock or undermine others because hope exists when we eschew tribalism and seek to build on common ground.
Please feel free to add to this list in the comments section with your own ideas for offering hope to a cynical world. And may your Monday be blessed as you bask in this truth–Hope exists.