“How you’ve been GRINCHED”. Part 4. Numb and Cynical.
Dear reader, this article is Part 4 in a series of 10 articles titled: “How you’ve been GRINCHED and you didn’t even know it”. You can read the previous articles here: Read “Grinched” Part 1, Read “Grinched” Part 2, Read “Grinched” Part 3.
GRINCH – a bitter and ill-tempered character.
Let’s take a closer look at the fourth and fifth components of GRINCH (Numb, Cynical) personality.
N – Numb [definition]: deprived of the power of sensation.
This one is a bit more tricky. What do you mean I’m numb? I have feelings and emotions, so I’m not numb. Sure, keep telling yourself just that. Let’s take a closer look here. Do you share yourself freely in groups, at work, at school, with friends, with family on any subject? Or do you feel that you have to be selective in who you talk to about different things? Do your problems and struggles make you feel like there are no solutions to them, that they are uniquely your own and no one else can help you because they will never understand? Do you avoid making eye contact with homeless people at a traffic light? Do you know your neighbors well [or at all]? Do you keep a lot of what’s on your mind to yourself? Do other people’s problems make you withdraw yourself from communicating with them because you are dealing with enough on your own? Do you need a few glasses of wine, a couple of drinks [or else, you know] to give you an escape from reality and get a sense of ease?
I hope that gives you a glimpse of how numbness shows up in our lives, how we withdraw from sharing what’s on our mind because we’re afraid that others will misunderstand us, judge us, make fun of us, criticize us, discourage us, and spread rumors about us. In a way, numbness is caused by suppressing our emotions, not letting them out of our mind and body. It’s unhealthy, unnatural and detrimental to your wellbeing. It’s like trying to lock a beast in a cage: you may be able to silence the beast for a while, restrict it from getting out but it’s still there [and not going anywhere]. So I encourage you to get to the bottom of it and check if you’ve gotten numb in any way.
For example, for a long time I’ve been suppressing my true emotions and feelings. In the culture that I was raised in [Eastern Europe] the importance of looking strong, masculine, and confident was emphasized form the early age. They say “real men never cry”. But I can confidently claim now that it’s far away from the truth. Once I realized that my numbness was sabotaging my relationships with women [by not being able to fully express myself in a romantic way], I discovered a whole new dimension to myself. I discovered that free expression of my feelings does not make me small or weak. In fact, it gives me so much more power and fulfillment. It serves as a much better foundation for a relationship. It empowers others around me and creates an open and trusting dialogue with people that are dear to me.
In the movie, the Grinch got so numb to his feelings that it became his second nature to be cold, isolated, lonely and bitter. And that nature was constantly stopping him from being happy. It’s your choice to do just that or wake up to your senses and express yourself freely.
C – Cynical [definition]: having or showing a deep distrust of human beings and their motives.
That’s a good one, because most of us are pros at this. Have you ever been burned by trusting someone too much, i.e. betrayed? Has anyone turned their back on you when you thought they were your friend? Have you ever found out that people you trusted talk behind your back? Do you feel that on your own you can’t mess it up and you don’t need anyone’s help? Do you think that people have hidden agendas? Are you better off by yourself? If you’ve answered YES to even a few of these, cynicism has been present in your life.
While I understand that there are a lot of messed up things around us and it may be hard to trust people, what kind of life is it if you can’t rely on others? Trying to do everything on your own may work, it may have gotten you this far in life. However, consider that not trusting others enough may be stopping you from reaching new heights, achieving breakthroughs in various aspects of your life, solving problems you’ve been working on for a while. Sometimes that’s all it takes, someone else showing up in your life out of nowhere and changing your entire life. But how could this possibly happen if you’re not inviting others to share the journey with you? Moreover, you likely purposely withdraw yourself, make yourself look busy, and decline invitations.
“Ask and you shall receive”; “One man, no man”; “A friend in need is a friend indeed” – all these proverbs share a similar concept of strength via unity. Cynicism is the opposite of that: it’s a setup for loneliness and struggles. Imagine for a second if wolves were cynical [bare with me, I know I’m talking about wolves]. There would be no wolf packs because there would be no trust in one another, no trust in the greater strength by living and hunting together. In a similar way, if you’re cynical, you’re setting limits to what you can achieve. You’re robbing yourself of potentially magical relationships that could contribute immensely to your development and success.
The Grinch trusted no one and look what that led him to? Being all alone, pretending to be ok and doing that by choice, when in fact he was feeling miserably, annoyed by everyone else’s happiness, and deep inside wishing for friends and romance. It’s easy to be a cynic and throw everyone in the same pool and label them as “untrustworthy”. It’s easy to look back and see how many times you’ve been burned and project that into the future [on virtually everyone]. But if you were cooking and got burned by the hot stove, would you stop cooking forever or simply learn from the mistake and avoid touching the hot stove again while cooking? Exactly my point. Being cynical is easy and convenient, it takes you off the hook from having to deal with people. Think again at what cost…
Ⓒ 2018, Sergey Kiklevich, CEO of Gambit Solutions Inc.