What Do Cynical People Really Want?

Cynics will tell you that everyone is selfish and weak; that ‘the system’ is rigged and driven by greed; that you can never succeed so it’s pointless (and contemptible) to try

That all ideals are ridiculous and that ‘do gooders’ are only out to show off their own (supposed) virtues.

Their downbeat assessments are based not on dispassionate analyses of our species but on an inner emotional compulsion.

Their philosophy is, first and foremost, a defense against suffering.

They twist their mental apparatus to secure themselves against the eventuality of any discouragement.

Cynics may look like people trying very hard to see the facts as they are; in fact, they are trying even harder to insulate themselves against pain.

Somewhere in the past, there will probably have been a blow to their hopes that felt too powerful to handle. Sadly though, cynics don’t give away the slightest clue as to their touching and vulnerable backstories.

The cynic is never truly and completely cynical. They are still recovering from hopes that grew too painful to avow.

A natural temptation, when encountering a cynic is to try to argue them out of their attitude by citing counter-examples. But this is in its own way cruel, because it misunderstands what cynicism is about.

What the cynic really needs – and yet fears they may never get, so naturally never asks – is kindness, a kindness that may eventually help them to rekindle their stunted secret desires for hope and fulfillment.