Choosing to face the world

Facing the world;, 12 years old and happy to be alive in 1967!

When I was 16, I worked as a nurse’s aid in our local hospital. The head nurses on each floor were responsible for our evaluations. The only thing that I remember about my first written evaluation was the comment, “Mary is over-zealous”. I left the meeting feeling pretty good and after work, met my mother who was, at the time, also a head nurse on a medical-surgical floor. As we chatted on the way to the car, she asked me how my evaluation went and I said good, but I did not understand what Mrs.____meant when she said that I was over-jealous. That just didn’t make sense to me.

My mother asked to see the evaluation and said, “It says over-zealous, not jealous”. I had never heard of the word zealous, or the concept that you could be overly enthusiastic about work. My mother told me that the woman critiquing me was rather cynical and not a happy person but that I could try to tone it down a bit, that did have a rather “dramatic” side to me.

I did try to tone it down after that. But it was not only this evaluation that affected me, there was a feeling in the air (circa 1960’s-70’s) that to be “cool” you must be a bit cynical, aloof, and mysterious. God-forbid you look foolish. You had to pretend that you didn’t care…about anything. No one told me that this attitude would also eventually lead to a life full of strife, unhappiness and illness…I don’t think that “they” knew this either.

Last evening I was reading a wonderful book by Prentice Mulford, published in 1889, called, “Thoughts Are Things”.  In it he writes,

“So long as we feel that strong repulsion, through seeing only the defects in another, so long are we ruled by such sentiment, we are in fetters. We are, in his or her presence, so full of hatred as to be unable to assert the better part of ourselves. All our own evil is called out and comes to the front. There is only the clashing of opposing wills…. Cynicism is born of repulsion and personal prejudice carried to its extreme. The cynic ends by finding everybody unbearable and at last hates himself. No cynic was ever in good health.”

Cynical, critical thinking has no place in my life anymore. I choose to face this world with a happy, trusting, open heart and smile.


(the free download of this book is below)

Thoughts Are Things by Prentice Mulford…/ThoughtsareThingsbyPrenticeMulford.pdf

14 thoughts on “Choosing to face the world”

    1. I am so glad that it didn’t change you Patty! You are still one of the happiest people that I know and I love that!

  1. “I choose to face this world with a happy, trusting, open heart and smile.”
    That will certainly be my new mantra. Thank you for such beautiful words to begin my day and work week!

  2. When I was 16, I worked as a playground counselor in the city where I grew up. That summer I met Kevin, who was 8 years old and amazingly critical and cynical. Every activity was “so lame…” and Kevin was happier starting a fight than getting involved. Still he came to the playground every day.
    My partner, Betsy, and I talked a lot about Kevin and how to engage him but nothing worked. We were beginning to dread seeing him each morning because he was a leader in a negative way and other kids followed and imitated him. That turned out to be the key. We risked asking him to help us make up a new game for all the kids and help us teach it to them. He took the responsibility seriously and really caught fire! His whole identity changed as he saw himself differently. Kevin changed us, too. Attitude is everything!

  3. Love this photo Mary and so happy that as we age we are getting smarter and mentally and emotionally healthier. So much better to lift each other up than to put one another down.
    You make my day everytime I get to read your posts…hope you have a great day today too! xoxo

  4. Good post, Mary. It has been my experience that a lot of “cynics” are using cynicism as an armor against pains that they have suffered from the hands of others: i.e., ‘if they THINK I don’t care, they won’t bother with me at all.’

    What a shame that they don’t realize that their armor also prevents people from seeing the true and good people they really are. Double-edged sword.

    I wish all of those affected could see your post today. Might break a small chink in that armor.

  5. I can see the joie de vivre you had even then. You exude zest and it’s contagious. I love you.

  6. Thanks for your thoughtful reminder about cynicism, reading your post I immediately started to think about a good friend of mine who expresses her judgements of others often and harshly. Although I enjoy her company and consider her a close friend I feel really bad sometimes after being with her. I am also mindful that I often at times of stress I am critical of myself and others. This is a tendency I am wanting to be aware of and let go of and your “Thoughts Are Things” reminder came just at the right time for me!

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