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)