A friend of mine made the observation that it seems to her, no matter the party that is currently sitting in office, no matter the particular issue at hand, it always seems the nay-sayers are the loudest voices in the crowd. (On that particular issue, I am one of these fellows, but again, that's a different topic for a different time) This got me to think that perhaps this is true in all areas of our society as a whole. I read an article somewhere that the proverbial "they" did a study and found that people are much more inclined, when in restaurants and retail establishments and the like, to report to a manager when they received perceived "bad customer care" as opposed to giving out kudos for a job well-done. A friend of mine recently lamented on the loss of certain acquaintances because, they told her, her postings and updates were too "upbeat" and "happy". I can't tell you how many times I've heard people say that they don't like Rachel Ray for that very reason. We all exclaim that we want to "look on the bright side", but any reporter will tell you that "if it bleeds it leads". How long has the Jerry Springer show been on the air?! Some body's watching it, rather they admit to it or not. Is it that much easier to keep up with the latest scandal in Washington or Hollywood -- or, in our own neighborhoods and backyards, because we're more inclined to look for it? Are we guarded, cynical towards others intentions, and therefore always expecting some underlying duplicity, some 'angle' in every word and deed? No matter how much we proclaim and protest that we want to see "good news", as a society we seem to gravitate towards the mud. We WANT the dirty laundry.
In a recent discussion, someone close to me stated that they thought themselves a better judge of character than me, insinuating (well, blatantly stating, actually) that I was a bit naive' when it came to looking at the world -- that I wasn't cynical "enough". I don't think of myself as naive'; I prefer the term "optimistic"..."hopeful", maybe. But, I DO believe that, overall, society tends to lean toward the whispered rumors; that they would much rather hear word of your hurdles, than the details of your latest win. Perhaps the being in "opposition" or looking for the underlying scandal of every occurrence makes us feel that we're not an easy mark, but could it be we're all becoming TOO cynical in our efforts to prove we're not going to be taken advantage of that we loose all sense of anything positive? Can't it be possible that some things are NOT malevolent, manipulative or menacing, and things CAN be just as good as they appear to be? Sometimes a cigar IS just a cigar. Or, is that me, being naive'? This week, Mo Wants to Know:
Do you consider yourself to be a cynical person, or do you fall on the hopeful side? When you meet someone for the first time, are you more apt to first think "He seems friendly" or more likely, "Why is he being so friendly?" Do you assume good-intentions or are you apt to look for the angle? Do you think its better to be guarded and skeptical, or open and vulnerable? And, do you think we SEE more negativity because there IS more negativity in the world today, or because we LOOK FOR it more diligently?
And, again, if you have read these words, I hope you'll take a minute and post your thoughts here in the comments....everybody has an opinion, and I'm very interested to hear yours!