“When people tell you who they are,” Maya Angelou famously advised, “believe them.”
You are the steward of your own integrity, and the assumptions made by those that misunderstand who you are and what you stand for, reveal a great deal about them and not much about you.
I’ve recently gone through a trying and stretching situation with someone I’ve called a friend for many years. I’m sure we’ve all been through similar at one time or another. I’ve learned a lot about myself through it all and a lot of hard knocks about a place where loyalties end is exactly where insecurities begin.
I’ve cried. I’ve mourned a friendship I always assumed the best in. I’ve done my best to always be my best, but I’m not perfect, nor should I be. This experience has caused me to go back and question so much and so many, bringing me to a dark place of cynicism. Cynicism quickly breeds inappropriate assumptions and even obsessive judgments. This only serves to destroy me and others in character assassinations.
Then my deeper integrity rose and reminded me that I am someone who always assumes the best of everyone, even in their own cage of insecurity. I choose to be someone you literally have to smack me in the face with bad intention to be convinced of it. So it’s those that are passively manipulative that I will never see coming, even years in. Ultimately, I’m okay with that.
I choose to resist cynicism — fight it actively. Fight it in myself, for this ungainly monster lives in each of us, and to counter it in those I love and have influence. Cynicism often pretends to be noble, but will always prove to be inferior. It is inherently uncreative, unconstructive, and spiritually corrosive.
I will be honest, I was beaten down for a while. My creativity stifled, my joy robbed, my positive outlook destroyed, but I am rising into my true self again—and quickly. I am a hard worker, an always mover, and an ever encourager.
Life tolerates no stasis — in the absence of growth, decay overtakes us.
There is nothing more difficult or gratifying than living with sincerity and acting from an abundant heart and filling the gaps between with trust.
Living in this space is the most potent antidote to cynicism.
I’m also convinced that some of the best breakthroughs in my life have come from my work with incredibly imperfect and fallible humans and their lessons. Recognizing where their helpfulness ends, and my own boundaries begin, could be the single biggest gift this life journey has to give us.