I really wish I knew a good way. Genuineness is a key factor here. I've tried being nice to people that I dislike, and it usually backfires. Do what degree does cynicism arise out of being uncomfortable and impatient with one's self? Maybe that's a good place to start. *shrug*
I guess just in general. A more positive and less cynical outlook on everything. Probably not much you can do to change it. I was curious if there are others here that deal with cynicism and negativity and if they've done anything or found ways to subdue that train of thought a little bit.
IC... well IMHO, the mind of a cynic is about having to see/live in absolute, provable, truth as they see it and a degree of perfectionism. They seem to almost be ashamed of finding out they are/were "wrong" in whatever viewpoint. They see cynicism as "safe" in that regard as they pick and choose their "proofs."
I mentioned an old movie on another thread that exemplifies my outlook.... "Sea Wife" where a life boat is filled with men and one woman who happens to be a nun. A conversation ensues between her and a cynic onboard. She tells him God is with them and not to worry about survival. He says "You don't understand, I've just seen too much." To which she replies "No, I think you haven't seen enough." (I am not religious but do accept the validity in her statement no matter what one calls the force she refers to.)
Therein lies the problem with the cynic. They tend to be myopic in their fear or insecurity. Opening their eyes to what is really here would show them that in order for anything/everthing to exist, there must be balance and a very delicate one.... the principal of yin/yang if you will. The implications of that are that all is 50/50... positive/negative that comes out neutral. If the cynic wishes to have a more comfortable life, acknowledging the other, ignored, 50% and then choosing to dwell in it would accomplish that. Life is nothing more than a series of choices. Not being a cynic, I choose to live in the equally valid positive 50% while acknowledging that the other exists. It seems to me that, if seeking to live in truth, encompassing the broader possibilities contains more of it.
I know this is long and I could have just said... "be more positive" but this is something I struggled with pretty much from childhood . It was really horrendous and I learned very early on about the negatives in this world. I know what a strong grip cynicism can have... so I'm giving the process I went through attaining a more fulfilling, pleasurable and contented life.
Humor, acceptance? I don't see cynicism and compassion as mutually exclusive and don't consider selfishness a bad thing in and of itself. We do need to look out for ourselves to some degree because when you are an adult, it really isn't anyone else's job to look after you.
The way I see it, most people are not malicious, just selfish and unaware. Sometimes people are malicious (which has always struck me as a colossal waste of energy) and sometimes people are beneficent (which is pretty cool). We can't do much except try to stay out of the way of the malicious, be aware of the selfish (including ourselves), and enjoy and strive to emulate the beneficent.
It isn't that hard to be compassionate because humans are social animals wired for a certain amount of empathy. If you spend a little time thinking about how it would feel to be in someone's difficult situation and really understand it instead of just dismissing it, compassion often results.
“There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.” ~ John Rogers
I'm about the same in my feelings about other people but it doesn't bother me that much. A combination of apathy, seeing everything as a joke and enjoying negativity really help. Feeding my sense of superiority doesn't hurt either.
When I was in the military, I got put in charge of squads and platoons. Having to put everyone to work on a big task was a headache for me. There were a lot of people who did half-assed work, and I didn't want to have to spend all my time running around yelling at them to do their job right. I couldn't fire them or get rid of them, and I couldn't just leave them idle on the sidelines and make the good workers carry the whole load by themselves.
In time, though, I learned that everyone is good at something. As I got to know the bad workers better, I learned what they were good at and could usually find a niche for them where they would perform reasonably well. Across time, watching each of them as individuals and looking for their strong points, I could have the entire squad or platoon functioning effectively in some capacity. Also, I learned not to be a perfectionist. You work with what you've got. If your workforce isn't a good match for the job, then you do the best you can and accept that the result isn't going to be perfect.
So that's how I look at people today. When I start socializing with a new group of people, I accept that not all of them are going to be a good fit in my life. But I try to find out their strong points, try not to be a perfectionist, and try to figure out some way or place that they might fit into my life. And sooner or later I can usually find some way to enjoy their company and make them a friend.
That kind of mental/social exercise keeps me from getting cynical and viewing people in terms of herds of uninteresting people. It pulls me out of my head, makes me focus on people as individuals, and makes me pay attention to them in order to figure out their best qualities. I go along with them, try out the things they enjoy, and have some new experiences.
So that's my response. When I'm getting bored or feeling closed in on myself, I just start hanging around with a group of people and seeing what I can learn about them. It keeps me on my toes and exposes me to new things. It also renews my faith in humanity when I can find points of common interest with just about anyone sooner or later.