Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, living with chronic illness, Living with Illness

Do You Have a Cynical Touchstone?

You may be wondering why I’m writing about cynicism when I’m usually focused on positive energy and optimism when confronting a chronic or life-threatening illness.  The truth is that I start all my public speaking engagements with a qualifying statement telling the audience that I’m cynical and sarcastic.  I start with this because I know that often what I share is controversial and giving them this heads-up reduces the surprises.  That’s why I’m starting with asking you if you’re surprised by the topic…it’s to get you thinking about how you deal with your diagnosis and what factors play into your health and healing.

I believe we all need a bit of cynicism in our lives without it we walk around like one of those people who drank the Kool-Aid.  The cynical touchstone gives us something to play with in our minds.  It gets us to take a stand either agreeing with the cynical remarks in which case you may need an attitude adjustment; or defending the position that optimism and trust truly are the foundations to health and healing.  I also believe that a bit of cynicism lightens the mood and even gets a chuckle releasing the negative energy and allowing you to refocus your energies.

Playing devil’s advocate helps me develop clarity.  Although I can certainly be my on cynical touchstone, I’m also please to share that I have friends who I’ve known for many years who are just as cynical.  We can serve as each other’s touchstone and then get on with the work at hand, continuing our personal journeys to health and healing.  Be honest, don’t you find it difficult not to be a bit cynical at this time in our history?  There’s plenty to be cynical about so all we’re doing is expanding the range and having it be a springboard for expression in tackling our health challenges.

I’m not recommending that you adapt the cynical lifestyle as your default coping mechanism.  I am suggesting that a bit of cynicism helps keep it real in this crazy world.  If you can’t be a bit cynical then what part of you are you denying?  At least, having a cynical touchstone keeps everyone on their toes and that’s good enough for me!



I've lived my life in service to others. I'm focused on mental health and how it impacts our relationships, culture, and society. Through creative expression and narrative I believe we can impact change.

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