Intellectual Treason

I remember that glass being half-full not too long ago.  But it's looking more and more empty each day.

I am becoming a cynic.

That has been the stark realization trickling into and around my mind for the last several days.  Or maybe I'm just jaded.  Are those two the same thing?

Semantics aside, I find myself looking at things in the world and assuming the worst.  Or at least, not assuming the best.

Junior high kids at a football game- my first thought is that none of them is as cool as they think they are.

College kids- I found myself almost cursing under my breath yesterday as a crowd of Mizzou students kept me and Tamara from making a quick in-and-out stop at Chipotle.  For absolutely no logical reason, every single one of them bothered me.

Politics- I'm sick of it.  The whole "campaign" thing.  I was sick of it 18 months ago, and I was practically homicidal during the Primary season.  Yes, maybe there are many people who would say this is justifiable.  But how can I be mad at what I feel like I believe is the best government on the planet?

Even people at church- I get a little annoyed or smirk when I get the impression someone is settling on the mainstream ideas of the LDS church (like that the Plan of Salvation really is made up of 6 circles, one of which looks like the moon).  I almost mentally scoff that their percieved understanding doesn't make it too far past the lesson manual.

Now don't worry- Tamara and I are just fine, never better, and work is great.

So what is wrong with me?  Why am I becoming an Ebenezer Scrooge?  How can I change?  What must I do to become unjaded?  To feel hope again?  To see the best in someone from the start?  To rid myself of preconcieved notions, particularly where people are concerned?

How do I fix myself?

And if you just give me the "seminary answers," without any kind of elaboration or expounding, I'm gonna slug you.


could be stress, lack of sleep, Tamara's stressful life affecting yours?
But, a seminary answer really might be what you need: have you tried praying for a soft heart towards people? You better not slug your mom!
Tamara said…
I love love me! Time cures a lot, but prayer cures everything in due time! We are both stressed & I am not making your life an easy one these days, and I'm sorry about that. But, we keep swimming and swimming and we eventually will reach the other side where it is pure paradise. The time will come....we are just being tested, that's all. Keep smiling and making my life wonderful...the Lord will bless you, and when he does that in turn will bless me. And babe...we need ALL the blessings we could get right now!
Beckie said…
Okay, since Mom and Tamara took care of the seminary side of things, I'm here to tell you people are stupid. And annoying. And will get on your nerves for no reason whatsoever. But what you have to find are the good parts of it. Yeah, you have to wait in line at chipotle, but how worth it is that wait.
And yes, politics are annoying on a larger scale, so maybe find your passion in the government on a smaller scale, one that isn't as tied up in spin, and one you can actually influence.
And find something new about the general world that makes you happy today. For instance, today, I am happy for air conditioning that makes me feel like I'm sleeping in the artic north. Yesterday, I was happy for the nincompoop who I replaced and makes me look so good, my boss only hears good things about me.

I'm not a glass half full girl, but I find ways to still stay positive. Even if it's sometimes rooted in sarcasm.
Peeser said…
A few things to consider (thoughts that came to me as I sat in institute tonight- a rare treat this semester...):

First, if you remember President Eyring's conference talk a little while ago (I think it was last October) about remembering the blessings and tender mercies of the Lord each night- try looking for how the Lord has blessed you through other people (besides Tamara and the immediate family). Or you might even just look for how the Lord has used others to be His hands in someone's life, not necessarily your own.

Speaking of the "tender mercies" of the Lord, re-read Elder Bednar's talk on that (I can't remember which conference it was). Remember that Nephi's society wasn't too different than our own- it would be easy for him to fall into the cynicism we often adopt today (and I, like you, have sometimes fallen into that trap, too). Yet, Nephi found ways to glory in his tribulations, so to speak, and sought opportunities to recognize the "tender mercies" of the Lord, despite the difficult and frustrating circumstances surrounding him.

Something else to consider is what kind of company do you keep at work? One of the books I'm reading for my class talks about how dangerous it can be to eat lunch with other teachers because more often than not, you can get bogged down by their negativity. YOu are the company you keep. If you find that colleagues are a large cause of negativity, find ways to politely/tactfully avoid spending more time with them than you need to.

Finally, I don't know how often you read the Ensign, but I remember last year, I found time to read it on my lunch break because I didn't have anyone to eat lunch with. If nothing else, make time to re-read conference issues (old, as well as new)- perhaps try reading a talk a day, or whatever you can find time to manage.

I know this has been yet another epic comment, but these are all thoughts that I feel might help you address the concern of becoming too cynical and find hope in an increasingly frustrating and depressing world...

I hope this helps. I love you. You'll pull through.
Julina said…
And sometimes, this may just be one of the windows in your life "when you simply have to righteously hang on and outlast the devil until his depressive spirit leaves you" (from Ezra Taft Benson, “Do Not Despair,” Ensign, Oct 1986, 2 - though on the LDS website, the "Liahona" version is a little easier to read).

Actually, it's a good article about "least a dozen ways which, if followed, will lift our spirits and send us on our way rejoicing". There's also Elder Holland's CES fireside from this month (should also be available online by now).

But really, the point I wanted to make is that first quote, where you say something like "shut up, Mr Devil - I'm not going to let you get the better of me..." :-) (It might help if you have some bread dough or something else soft to punch into when you're telling him off...)

Hang in there - and watch something funny.
Sarah Lambson said…
I wish I had more to add to the comments already made.

I just think that as the world gets more evil and corrupt, it becomes harder to see the good side of things.

All we see are politicians working for their own gain and not the countries greater good. We see children raised to be the same brainless savages that there parents are (it's a horrible cycle). Then there are the people who complain but don't actually want to do anything.

What you have to remember is similar to what Juli was saying. It all comes down to Satan. I know you know that. But recently I've been having my own struggles. What helped me finally get on the path to getting over them was admitting that Satan was having a very real and damaging effect on my life. It becomes easy to think of Lucifer as a hovering mass of badness. Not much substance. An idea. A thought. Not a being seeking your destruction. I'm not sure if you've had this same problem. But realizing that cynical and negative thoughts are the influence of our outcast brother seeking to push our worst buttons and get us to react against the teachings of out Father really helps in telling him to "Shut it!" and "Back off."

I like how most of the comments were almost longer than the original post itself.

I hope you find your happy place again and see that glass a little bit fuller.
Boy, there is going to be a slug-fest in October. Wahoo! Nevertheless, those are perfect answers, girls. Way to go!
liz said…
I know you don't know me, I consider myself a friend of Tamara's so if I am putting my nose where it doesn't belong-forgive me. I thought you were the Super-Steven in the picture...and I found your writing very interesting.
It sounds to me as if you are using anger as a coping skill to handle the stress around you. Sounds like your whole life has changed...schedules and meal times the attention you are use to receiving might be practical to not take anything personal. Think things though and realize the world is not always so evil rather you can be a mere observer, detached and not involved but entertained. Enjoy the play Heavenly Father has provided for you and know that he is teaching you. It is all up to you, but until you do start to give out a positive response everything is going to continue to irritate you. It's not easy to share your lovely wife with all those students- not to mention all the time she has to take to get ready to go back to school and spend more time with them- but you still have her nights and weekends and just wait until summer rolls around! Again please forgive me if I have intruded!
Julina said…
Now wait - there was only to be slugging if seminary answers didn't get elaborated/expounded upon - and as Sarah pointed out, some of the comments were longer than the original post. So I think they met the "expounding" criteria, and therefore, no slugging is warranted.

(but Dad's the legal expert, so we may have to run it by him...)

PS Steven - love the Hammer Time avatar - awesome!
emily said…
ooooh. I like ALL these comments, but I'm-a-gonna go with Liz on this one. She's a sharp one, and I don't think she intruded!

And at least you are AWARE. That is a huge part of getting past it. You won't be this way forever. It's just in your makeup. (Go ahead and insert lame Covergirl pun here).

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