The Big Bad Wolf of Negativity

“Negativity is cannibalistic. The more you feed it, the bigger and stronger it grows.” ~ Bobby Darnell

We all know the story of “The Three Little Pigs.” One builds a house of straw, one builds a house of sticks, and one builds a house of bricks. The Big Bad Wolf comes along to the house of straw, asks to come in, and when the pig refuses the wolf huffs, and he puffs, and he blows the house down. The pig then runs off to the house of the second pig which the wolf also blows down. Only when the first two pigs get to the home of the third pig with the brick house are they safe from the wolf. When the wolf can’t blow down the brick house he attempts to climb in through the chimney and falls into a boiling pot becoming wolf stew.

This fable easily translates to the negativity in our lives. The Big Bad Wolf being negativity, the houses are our minds/emotions and their defenses to said negativity, and the pigs are all of us.

The Big Bad Wolf comes in many different forms: toxic relationships, lack of support, our own anxieties, negative expectations, self doubt, and surroundings. The wolf feeds off of our inability to cope with the different negativity in our lives. As negativity affects us the wolf becomes stronger and breeds more negativity. And just because we resist one negativity doesn’t mean that it won’t come in other forms (climbing through the chimney).

Each one of us has a different type of house in terms of our ability to cope with the negativity in our lives. Those with “straw houses” tend to be overly sensitive and are easily affected by all types of negativity. Those with “stick houses” are able to resist certain types of negativity, or can withstand all negativity until they reach a breaking point. Those with a “brick house” are mentally and emotionally strong, those who can withstand a world of negativity.

If society was entirely of pigs with straw houses it wouldn’t take much for negativity to feed and strengthen. But when we surround ourselves with others who have brick houses we have safe havens of positive influences to counteract the negative.

So, take a look at your own life.

What type of “house” do you have?

What types of “houses” are in your support group?

If you are surrounded by straw and sticks, negativity will blow through like a hurricane/tornado/wild fire and destroy everything in it’s path. If you are the one with a “brick house” take the time to shelter those who may be feeling negativity washing over them. Give them the advice they need to “build their own house of bricks” because you never know when there will be an earthquake that destroys your house.

We are all affected by negativity differently but it’s important that we don’t let it cannibalize and grow stronger.

Be Good. Do Good.

Rob

How We Came to This: A “Rebranding” Story

“The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.” ~ Chauncey Depew

Happy New Year!!! Each new year brings new resolutions, transformations, change. We make resolutions that we are going to change certain things in our lives to improve ourselves physically, mentally, and/or spiritually. I have always found this practice to be kind of odd because if it is something we truly want to change we should make the resolution to do so the moment we determine the change needs to be made whether its January 1st, December 31st, or any day in between. That being said, I still make New Year’s resolutions.

One of those resolutions/goals is to get this blog going and to post regularly.  In doing so I felt I needed to make a change to the title. This blog is a way for me to talk about parenting, cycling, and life in general. SAHD Cyclist, the original title, seemed like a great way to explain my life as a part-time stay-at-home-dad (SAHD) and a cyclist. But I had a couple of problems with it.

First, SAHD is a horrible acronym. When you say it out loud what you hear is ‘sad,’ and much like other stay-at-home-dads, I am far from being sad. I love the time I get to spend with my son. Second, when I looked at the backlog of topics I want to write about, a pretty lengthy list, only two had anything to do with cycling. So a change needed to be made. New year -> New title -> New commitment.

That brings us to the result – ‘This Life of Balance.’ When I decided to change the title my first thought was ‘Life of Balance.’ It was exactly what I was going for when I wanted to start this blog. I wanted it to be about my life and how I try to keep it balanced, just as you try to stay balanced on a bike. But lifeofbalance.wordpress.com was already taken, as was alifeofbalance. Then it hit me. By adding THIS to Life of Balance, it added a level of individualism, a personal touch. It says, “this is me, these are my words.” So, ‘This Life of Balance’ came to life.

I look forward to sharing this journey with you. Some topics will be controversial, i.e. my first post. You may not always agree with what I write but I hope it will help to generate conversation and deeper thinking because that is what will make us all better humans and a better society. So, just as I will always open with a quote that relates to my topic, I will always leave you with this:

Be Good. Do Good.

Rob

This Isn’t What Our Veterans Fought For

“Honoring the sacrifices many have made for our country in the name of freedom and democracy is the very foundation of Veterans Day.” ~ Charles B. Rangel

On this 11th day of November we celebrate Veterans Day, Armistice Day, Remembrance Day.  We thank those who have given their lives to protect the freedoms which we hold so dear.  We thank them for fighting for those who could not fight for or defend themselves.  The sacrifices that they have made were not only for the betterment of our great land, but for the improvement of the lives of all throughout this world.  For those sacrifices they deserve to be honored.

But we do not honor them with our actions of the past days, weeks, months, years, decades, or even the past century.  My favorite Charles Rangel quote, “The promise of the American Dream requires that we are all provided an equal opportunity to participate in and contribute to our nation,” is exactly what our Veterans took up arms to protect.  They stand up for our basic human rights so that we all will have the same chance to participate and contribute to improve our lives and the lives of others.

Our most basic right as human beings though is to not have to live in fear.  Unfortunately, in the past days people of color, Muslims, those in the LBGTQA+ community, have had to live in even greater fear all because the words of our President-elect have given credence to those who believe they are superior because of their race, religion, or social class.  They spew hate because our society has again made it “socially acceptable” to spread the hate and segregation our future Commander-in-Chief built his campaign upon.  By passively allowing this rhetoric to infect the minds of our youth we set a path for our country that we have seen in the past (see: Nazi Germany).

I have heard too many times over the past three days from conservatives that the liberals of our country need to “calm down and support our President.”  This simple statement is not only offensive but is extremely hypocritical as they have spent the last eight years in a rage not supporting President Barack Obama.  And before you say, “Oh, it’s another liberal crying about such and such,” I have voted Republican for the presidency in every election up until this year.  Liberals aren’t upset only because their candidate lost.  They are upset because a man who has said he would take away the rights of some was elected into office.

On the flip side, our Veterans fought to protect our right to free speech and to peacefully protest, not to vandalize, loot, and incite panic and mayhem.  The riots that have sprung up around the United States only fuel the perceptions and hatred of the liberal side by the extremists of the right.  These actions drown out your voice, and more importantly, your overall message.

Our Veterans deserve a more honorable display than what we have shown in these last few days.  They deserve to know that what they fought to protect isn’t being oppressed by some, leading to the violence by others.  So, on this day, thank the Veteran in your life not only with your words but by living a life that contributes to the betterment of our great nation.

~ Rob Snyder