How My Daughters Killed the Cynic

Last night I was talking on the phone with relatives and I was doodling on the whiteboard that happened to be sitting in front of me. The marker wasn’t really working well, but I liked the distraction it was providing for my hands. Here’s what I drew…doodles of hope

Now I know what you’re thinking… “That’s…umm…interesting.” Here’s what happened at my house. I’m finishing up the phone call and one of my daughters walks by. Her face lights up in shock when she sees my drawing and she says, “Wow, Mommy!!” She calls her sister over to show what I’ve drawn. My second daughter gets the same shocked face and says, “Wow!! That’s really good!!”

Their reactions surprised me so much. I mean, come on, it’s a doodle with a bad marker. I wasn’t aiming to create anything of beauty, really.

But then, I realized something deeper.

I am a cynic. I’ve previously written about the mean mini-me locked in my mind that basically points out all of my failings as they happen, or sometimes before. And who definitely looked at this picture with disdain.

Yet, here are my two beautiful daughters, joyfully bouncing around my home, who found delight, beauty, surprise and skill in the same drawing.

I’m not pointing all of this out to sway you or even myself into believing this picture needs to be placed on the wall of a museum or even needs to stay on the whiteboard a day longer.

I’m pointing this out to demonstrate how much I need to shift my internal dialogue. Maybe you need that shift, too.

Remember that beautiful time in childhood when someone would ask if you could draw a horse and you’d say, “Yes!!” and set to work making a drawing that truly only looked like a horse to you. Then, you’d proudly show anyone who’d look, your beautiful horse. Remember when they’d look at that unidentifiable horse and say, “Wow!! That is so good!! You are such a good artist!!”

And then you went to kindergarten.

You sat next to Josie, who actually knew that horse drawings need to have a horse in them and that horses always have eyes, a mouth, and a mane? Comparison began and you slowly drew horses less and less because you couldn’t figure out how to fit all of those things in one picture. No one was telling you what a great artist you were anymore because you didn’t draw. Grown-ups started saying, “Art isn’t really her strong point. She’s better at math.”

There are so many aspects of ourselves and our creativity that have died this slow and painful death of comparison and judgment. My mean mini-me is just my defense against other people’s harsh words. See if I judge myself first, then there isn’t anything left for others to judge. I’ve beat them to the punch. I’ve put myself in my place before they feel the need to do so.

Here’s the problem: We are creative people. All of us.

We are made in the image of THE Creator!

We have creative minds and hearts. Hearts that feel incomplete when we have no creative outlet in our lives. Hearts that look at art or nature and long to join in the beauty, the creation.

I’m going through a course right now that is helping me to make plans for the new year. It is helping me set goals and actually achieve them. I know, crazy, right?

The first lesson had quite a large part about cynicism and how it has to leave the building before we can dream.

I think cynicism has to leave before we can live.

I mean, really live.

There are thousands and thousands of dreams and hopes I killed with my cynicism. Mostly in myself and my life, but I think in other people’s lives, too.

That is so sad to me! What might my life have looked life if I kept drawing, kept believing I was good at things, keep dreaming big dreams and believing they could happen?

I’m letting my cynicism go.

I have to.

It’s not helping me.

I need hope in my life. Cynicism kills hope faster than anything else I can think of.

Cynicism kills dreams. It kills relationships. It kills joy.

I’m no longer willing to allow my childish defense mechanism to rob my adult life of joy and possibilities and dreams.

I want to dream big dreams.

I want to hope.

I want to LIVE!!

Don’t you??!!

I know that big hopes and dreams sometimes get squashed and disappointment will come, but I’d rather live in hopeful expectancy, dealing with disappointment as it comes than to kill my own dreams with cynicism.

It’s a choice.

Over and over in the past few years, I am realizing that life, my perspective, my reaction – it’s all a choice. I have the power to choose to see the good, to choose to dream, to choose to believe in a good future, to choose to take steps toward that future.

When I believe that bad things are going to happen, they do. When I believe that good things are going to happen, they do.

The truth is life is full of the bittersweet. The good and the bad are mixed together. But what I focus on changes my experience of life so dramatically!

I’m going to let my true inner children, the ones I’ve birthed, kill that mean mini-me that’s been torturing me for years. The hope, love, joy exemplified in my children are the truest forms of myself and my creator. The way I encourage my girls to love themselves and others is the way I want to actually be toward myself.

Bye-bye, you cruel, cynical mini-me. I’ve no use for you anymore.

How about you? Are you ready to kill that cynic inside and choose hope for the new year?