|The Ingenue by Renoir|
I don't like to describe myself as cynical. As the saying goes: I'm not cynical, just realistic.
Sometimes that is true.
When I find myself being suspicious of everyone, though, especially people in (actual or self-proclaimed) authority positions, something is probably wrong. Realism does not have to see ulterior motives behind every bush. You're a doctor? A congressman? An expert of any kind? You must be lying!
I think that critical thinking-- doubting conventional wisdom and striking out on a road less traveled-- has often served me well. I just don't want to become so "critical" that I live in fear. Let's avoid paranoia.