A little bit of cynicism is a good thing. If people were to believe everything that they heart it could get them into all types of trouble. The problem occurs when people become overly cynical about everything. They find it hard to trust anyone else and can feel scornful of any type of expert knowledge. The problem with this is that all humans will have gaps in their knowledge. They need the help of other people to fill these gaps.
An excessively cynical attitude can be a particular problem for people who wish to recover from an addiction. This refusal to consider the information provided by other people can keep these individuals trapped in their misery. Once they become sober, it is vital that they let go of at least some of their cynicism.
Cynicism is defined as an attitude of scornful negativity about the motives and integrity of other people. A cynic believes that the motives of other people are always self-interest. The term cynic was once used to describe a school of philosophical thought in ancient Greece. The cynics believed that the aim of life was to live in accordance with nature. They believed that human customs and traditions could be viewed as the source of suffering. The cynics had a strong conviction in the important of self-reliance. In modern times, the word cynic is usually used to refer to those who find it hard to trust the words of other people.
Too much cynicism can be a bad thing for people in recovery. Addicts tend to have a cynical attitude towards authority figures. They can carry this cynicism with them into recovery. This may mean that they find it hard to make good use of the available resources that could help them. These are some of the dangers of cynicism in recovery:
* If people are too cynical, they may refuse to accept any type of recovery program. Some individuals struggle without support, so their cynical attitude may prevent them from fully enjoying sobriety.
* It can be hard for other people to spend too much time with an individual who is overly cynical. This negativity makes it hard to find real friends in recovery.
* In order to progress in sobriety, the individual needs to learn a great deal. In fact, the learning never stops. It can difficult for people to learn when they always doubt the motives of other people who are trying to teach them.
* In order for people to get the most out of a 12 Step program, they need to have a bit of faith. It can be difficult for cynics to develop this, because they will always be questioning the motives of other members.
* Cynics can view other humans quite negatively. Such a worldview can be problematic for those who are trying to find happiness in recovery.
* The real joy in life is to be found through open-mindedness. Those who are cynical will tend to have a closed-mind in many instances.
* There may be time in recovery when the individual needs to ask other people for help. If they do not trust the motives of other people enough to ask for this help then they may suffer as a consequence.
* There have even been studies that suggest that excessive cynicism can be unhealthy Such individuals may be more likely to suffer from inflammation in the body, which increases their risk of heart disease.
Cynicism in small doses can be a good thing, but if people constantly feel this way about things it will get in the way of their recovery from addiction. The following are tips for overcoming excessive cynicism and replacing it with positive thinking:
* Cynicism is learned behavior, which means it can be unlearned, too. Mental habits can be overcome through persistence.
* In order to become less cynical, the individual must first recognize that this is a problem for them. They also need to understand why excessive cynicism can be detrimental.
* The key to overcoming cynicism is to challenge such thoughts when they arise. This means using logic to determine if such cynicism is a true reflection of reality.
* People can make the choice to develop a more positive outlook on life and other people.
* If people try to be more humble, they will become less cynical as a consequence. Humility is a wonderful asset in recovery. It means having a beginner’s mind.
* People are highly influenced by the other humans they spend their time with. Being around cynical individuals can make people copy the behavior. The solution to this is to spend more time with positive individuals.
* Open-mindedness is another key component to overcoming cynicism. When people are open-minded they will always be willing to give other people the benefit of the doubt.
Humility can be an important attribute for people who are recovering from an addiction. It involves the willingness to at least consider that other people may have something of value to say. Those with this attitude are not expected to just accept everything they are told, but they will at least give any claims a fair hearing. A humble person does not believe that they have all the answers, which means that they are teachable. The benefits of humility in recovery follow:
* Humble people are not afraid to ask questions because they think it will make them look foolish. This means that they get the information they need to live a successful life in sobriety.
* Those individuals who have this type of attitude find it easier to make friends.
* The humble are less likely to fall into conflict with others. This means they have less stress in their life.
* They tend to be more trusting and positive about life.
* Anyone who hopes to follow a spiritual path will need to have at least some humility.
* Humble people are always learning new things, because they feel less threatened by new information.
Another important way that people can reduce the amount of cynicism they experience is by working on being a bit more open-minded. This means that the individual becomes more receptive to new ideas and different opinions. It is closely related to humility. When people have an open mind they are always willing to learn new things and be proved wrong. Such an attitude can ensure that the individual is able to experience the best that sobriety has to offer.