Scroll through your Twitter feed, and you’ll see a bunch of tweets by people talking about how they can’t wait for the world to end and put them out of their misery, or about how their life is such a disappointment. And we laugh and retweet those tweets with an added hashtag: #same! But the sad truth is that all these “joke” tweets have some truth to them. We are all slowly becoming cynical and disillusioned. The dark jokes we crack hide an existential fear we just can’t seem to fathom ourselves.
Why is it that negativity and cynicism have become so ingrained within our day to day lingo? Why is it that overly positive people are seen as too sweet, almost to the point of disingenuity, and negative, snarky people are lauded as cool and carefree? What is it that has made our generation so nihilistic?
Our elders might sniff and blame those pesky cellphones that we just can’t seem to keep away from, and the social media that we are apparently obsessed with. Their assumption might be an oversimplification, but it is not too far from reality.
Honestly, I think the main reason we have become disillusioned is because of the constant feeling of not being enough. And yes, social media plays a part in us seeing other people live these perfect lives, having countless vacations, being in loving relationships and having active social and professional lives. All of this social comparison just makes us feel like we are behind in this race called life. So how do we cope?
We make jokes. We become cynical. We call ourselves disappointments before others can say that about us. We say we want the world to end so that we don’t have to face the reality of the truth that maybe our lives could potentially amount to nothing we wanted it to be. We stop trying because if you don’t try then you can’t fail.
Here’s my take on all of this. The real world is scary. It is. And disappointment, heartbreak and failure are all inevitable. But shielding ourselves in a cocoon and building walls might keep us safe but it will also prevent from truly living our lives to the fullest.
Being positive and having expectations from ourselves and the people around us might lead to some disappointments when things don’t work out, but the positivity also acts as a superpower. We often forget that our fear of loneliness and existential crisis is shared by countless others, that’s why all those tweets get retweeted in the first place.
When we start the process of being positive and more hopeful about our lives in general, we pave the way for others to follow our example and do the same. And isn’t that the point of life at the day? To be warm and spread happiness to others? What is the point of donning a cold persona? As the Beatles sang in "Hey Jude", "for well you know that it's a fool who plays it cool by making his world a little colder."
So yes, while cynical sarcastic jokes are funny and relatable, we must also make a conscious attempt to not internalize them as part of our thoughts and just take them as jokes. while actively working to inculcate a greater sense of positivity and hope in our own lives! To overcome today's ingrained culture of negativity and cynicism, we must actively work to inculcate a greater sense of positivity, hope and wonder in our lives!