There’s a saying in the journalism world: If your mother tells you she loves you, check it out.
It’s meant to illustrate the reporter’s most prized mindset. Cynicism.
As a former journalist, I used to take great pride in my cynicism. It made me feel smart and savvy. Like nobody was going to fool me. I knew how much the world could hurt and had vowed that nothing would ever pierce my heart like that again.
So I held my cynicism up like a shield to protect me. Little did I know this limiting belief and mindset not only failed to block the bad, but it also blocked the good.
Instead of living a vibrant, technicolor, full and daring life, I lived a halting, hesitant, internal life where my dreams wasted away in my imagination and my real life never felt like enough. It never felt like me, but something I was supposed to be.
My cynicism, designed to protect me, explained this frustrating situation away with thoughts like, “I guess this is just how life is.”
I spent all my time hoping that someone outside of me would save me — that I’d be discovered for my amazing writing talents and be gifted a staff writing opportunity at The New York Times (which I didn’t even really want!), lifting me out of my never-ending struggle to feel satisfied as a journalist.
In reality I never felt satisfied because it wasn’t the right path for me. But my cynicism stopped me from find the path that was right.
It wasn’t until I grew so tired of seeing everyone else live their dreams while mine were stuck in imagination that I committed myself to something very scary. Hope. Faith. Belief that there was nothing wrong with me.
Belief that I didn’t need anyone to save me, that I hadn’t irrevocably messed my life up with wrong decisions, that I could create my own opportunities. That I had everything I needed to succeed, find my life purpose and truly enjoy my life.
Cynicism is just one of the mindset beliefs I had to let go of along the way, but also one of the most important. It’s scary to release, but so transformative when you do.
Releasing cynicism requires that you believe in yourself and take serious action to live the life you desire instead of stagnate while wanting change but at the same time not really believing it’s possible for you.
What is cynicism?
Cynicism is essentially a mindset, a belief that some things are too good to be true. It’s about distrusting others and generally expecting the worst in life.
It’s like, on one hand you have this deep hope and faith that good things are possible for you — you can heal, you can find love, your dream job, your life purpose, and feel happy, but then ultimately you push away every possible opportunity that arises, every inkling of an idea because your conscious mind looks for reasons why it won’t work.
You consider things too insignificant, too good to be true or think it won’t work for you even if it works for others.
This is the ultimate form of self-sabotage. You hope, believe, and maybe even ask the universe for help, but then shoot down all the opportunities that come your way because you deep down don’t believe that good things will happen to you.
You’re scared of being disappointed so don’t even allow yourself to take a chance that could change everything.
It’s okay to fail. It’s worse to never try.
In the beginning, the steps you’re asked to take are typically very small.
The cynical mind wonders what the point is. The hopeful mindset has full faith in the mysterious path illuminated by the heart and intuition.
For example, when I truly started to change my life, my intuition told me that I had to accept my life exactly as it was to move forward. I had to take advantage of the opportunities in front of me, not the ones I wish I had.
That included small things that went nowhere like taking a jewelry class. This was big because the jewelry class lasted for several months, and I had never wanted to commit to anything in the hopes that I would move cities any day.
That’s how taking a jewelry class led to me taking yoga teacher training, which led to so many other things, including you reading this blog right now.
Accepting everything meant giving up my idea of what my life should look like to accept it as it was. It also meant giving up my idea of what my career should look like to free fall into experimentation and face the fear of not knowing, of allowing myself to drift.
Your intuition might be telling you something else. It might be telling you to take the course or the class, to start knitting or learn pottery, to start meditating or yoga, to read a certain book. Any one of these seemingly minor things can kick off a chain reaction to take you someplace you never dreamed.
Sometimes it’s not even about the thing, but showing the universe you’re listening.
Whatever it is, you have to take the next step. You have to notice your cynicism and destructive mindset, become aware of how it’s sabotaging you and then dig deep to have the faith and the gratitude for all the blessings you do have.
You have to shake off the messages of the world that only big, grand things are worthwhile, that only sure bets make sense and that failure is a bad thing.
You have to believe.
When it gets hard is when it matters the most.
Bad things happening isn’t proof that faith is blind. It’s proof that the world we live in is based on duality — happy and sad, dark and light. We hold our cynicism up like a shield to protect us from the bad, but it also blocks the light from getting in.
To expand and evolve and heal, we must drop our shields, let go of our defenses and ignite the light of blind faith that a beautiful future is not only possible, but probable.
That may sound scary, but you know what’s really scary? Continuing to grip the shield of cynicism and never experiencing the full expression of self that’s dormant inside of you. A seed wanting nothing more than to reach its full potential.
Questions for self-inquiry: what is your relationship to cynicism? What is your heart or intuition telling you to do? Share in the comments below.
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All the best,
Suzanne Heyn is a spirituality teacher and online course creator. Her life-changing online course experiences and popular blog help people heal their hearts and love who they are. With an online community of more than 20,000 people, Suzanne is known for her practical, authentic take on spirituality that creates space for deep healing and heartfelt connection.
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