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Highly Sensitive People: Are You Too Cynical?
Photo by Elijah O'Donnell

Highly Sensitive People: Are You Too Cynical?

I’m becoming more cynical than ever before. This is frustrating because I’m normally a positive, idealistic person. I try to look for the good in people and on the bright side of life in general.

I hate feeling so negative! I think that I’m reading too many newspapers, watching too much television, and being on the internet more than I need to.

Highly sensitive people really need to deep-think the reasons why they feel overly negative. Understanding the root cause is the first step into figuring out how to break out of the negative mindset. If you don’t know what’s driving your negativity, it’s very difficult to come up with a mitigation plan. If you don’t reign in your negative thoughts, they will “poison” your feelings about everything else.

In my case, the root cause of my cynicism is focusing on all the bad things happening in the world. Highly sensitive people often have trouble hearing about violence or sad things in the news. Some of us are so empathetic that, no matter how removed we are from a situation, we feel like it is happening to us! This can be emotionally overwhelming!

I need to recognize that my worries relate to things I can’t control, so my concerns serve no useful purpose. I can’t stop my feelings, but I can drastically cut down on my media activities, even if only temporarily.  Since we live in an age where we are constantly bombarded with news, this is challenging, but it can be done. We have the power to choose where we focus our attention.

I can put my attention on more positive thoughts. I can remind myself that bad news is the exception, rather than the rule. Good news doesn’t sell newspapers as well bad news, especially when it’s sensationalized, so I’m getting a distorted view.

Another good approach is to go back to first principles. I believe that people are generally good and decent. The truly horrific stories are rare. There are more honest people than not.

While I don’t want to completely close my eyes to what’s going on in society, I must accept that bad things sometimes happen. If there’s an action I can take to make things better, I will do that. Action feels good and can make a difference. Anxiety feels bad and accomplishes nothing. I have to think rationally and not allow myself to get sucked into a media circus of negativity!

Do you have trouble processing the news that you get everyday? How do you distance yourself from the negativity? I’m interested in any thoughts or comments that you have.

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