Brian lives in Massachusetts with his wife and two kids. He works in finance and enjoys writing and movies in his down time.
Let’s begin with a nice cliché: The first way to respond
We fear what we don’t understand. That statement is true, even when it’s directed towards another person’s positive change or habit that is foreign to the other. However, it’s the ways we display our fear that I want to elaborate and dissect. When we don’t understand something, we typically react a few ways: the first being to ignore it. This is a more neutral approach; nothing harmful about it, but it doesn’t foster any value or support for a positive habit. What do I mean by that last sentence? Well, positivity in any form should be spread like wild fire, whether it’s words of encouragement, volunteering for the less fortunate or in this case, encouraging good habits. This support can be directly or indirectly expressed and can benefit not only others but ourselves if we allow it. I’ll break down the significance of support later, but the take away is that it behooves us to spread positivity.
The second way one can respond to something not fully understood, is of the more nefarious nature: we express negativity through anger and criticism. This was of course the unfortunate case during the days of slavery when white men and women saw African Americans (or any other color than their own for that matter) as a threat, something savage and worst of all, something that they perceived as a threat to their culture and social circles.
While there are a multitude of ways people can respond to perspectives and actions that oppose their own, the last and most pertinent one I’ll discuss, is to poke fun. It’s odd, for sure, but it’s just another coping mechanism human’s use to combat cognitive dissonance (wow, two psychology references in one sentence, just call me Dr. B.N.Hook), Briefly, cognitive dissonance is where we observe or experience something that doesn’t fit into our belief system so we try to rationalize in this case, that it’s just stupid and silly. We do this despite frequently knowing deep down that it’s something we might like or want to incorporate into our lifestyle.
What’s all the fuss about?
So, what are some positive habits that people make fun of on a regular basis? Some of the most common ones I hear being satirized are exercising, taking healthy supplements, meditating and even writing positive notes to encourage one’s own endeavors. I’ll begin with yet another anecdote from my daily work travels.
The other day, I noticed someone on the train with a shaker cup filled with some mysterious brown and clumpy liquid. Just coming from a health and fitness background (my major in undergrad was exercise science), I instantly recognized that it was a protein shake. I overheard a man and a woman next to me comment about what kind of gross stuff the gentleman with the shaker cup was drinking. They continued, chuckling and whispering comments not very inconspicuously, I might add. A couple things to point out here, the first being that they cared so much about what someone else was doing, they geared their focus on it. But the next one is best expressed through a brief rant. Are you that bored with your petty lives that you find someone with a health shake entertaining and ridiculous? That’s not even funny in any way shape or form. I’m not defending the guy with the shake in the sense of a vulnerable and defenseless person. I just mean, certain things are objectively funny where most people will either find it funny or at least see how others do. On the other side of the coin, there objectively not funny things that would only provide comedy if you were higher than a Boeing 747 or intellectually challenged (that’s p.c. for idiot). Just start making fun of inanimate objects while you’re at it you comedically challenged morons.
Alright, that’s done with for now. I stopped writing this a couple of days ago and was going to continue, but I think that’ll suffice. But in case it’s not, fly a kite and eat your vegetables.
Till next ride