Finding Happiness in an Age of Cynicism

By: Corinne Maiorano

I have always been one to give others power over my own ideas and feelings. I’ve found that I am susceptible to the positive and negative energies of the people around me, even if these energies do not concern me directly. This trait has impacted the way I present myself and perceive the world around me, and I find that I cannot separate myself entirely from something or someone. It also makes me receptive to the negativity and cynicism that are so apparent in modern America. Many people today harbor a profound hatred toward the world and end up accepting lives that do not make them truly happy. This mindset is infectious and easily spreads to young people. However, I find it very important to find happiness and a place in the world in spite of the cynicism which permeates through modern society.

I think a major reason behind the cynical outlooks of many people in today’s world is that we have been taught to grow up so quickly. The rapid pace at which children are supposed to transition into adulthood leads to a sense of confusion which is often left unresolved. Adolescents struggle to find answers but end up resorting to a skeptical perception of the world that is harmful to themselves and others. They throw away their aspirations and hopes, which they are taught to view as childish, and try to take the easy way out by doing things that do not make them happy. This cyclical and detrimental attitude serves as a horrible example for others who are led to feel intimidated out of doing what they truly want to do.

It has always been rather clear in my mind what I would like to do in the future. I understand that this is not the case for everyone, but every person has a purpose in this world that they will discover eventually. I find it extremely difficult to remain inspired and committed to my aspirations when talking to cynical people who haven’t yet found happiness for themselves. It is almost impossible to get through these conversations without being negatively impacted and mirroring their pessimism. I’ll often feel like I need to downplay my goals to match them which is awfully unsettling. I can imagine that I am not the only one who experiences this, and after many of these exchanges, people may lose inspiration or even give up on their own goals.

However, I have decided to enable myself to find happiness in spite of the ideas of other people. A good friend of mine once told me to imagine that I am surrounded by twelve mirrors. When I walk into an environment that might cause me to lose sight of myself, I should turn these mirrors away and allow others’ negative energies to reflect back at themselves. I hold these words very dear to me, and although it is difficult, I encourage you to remain positive and allow this cynicism to reflect back toward its source. There will be many situations where your happiness and well-being are challenged, but it is of utmost importance that you walk away from them unscathed and continue to manifest your goals.

There is a lot of hatred in the world, but I implore you not to allow it harm your aspirations or prevent you from living a happy life. Though it may be instinctual, you do not have to follow the examples of other people who have learned to settle for an unhappy life. In the midst of all the pessimism that exists today, it is still possible to turn your mirrors away and allow positive things to happen.

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