- The definition of normal is changing.
- Normal prevents us from extraordinary
- Normal reduces our authenticity
- Normal diminishes self-love
- Normal doubts the strength of our relationships
- Normal gives a false sense of security
- Normal gives up the chance to be an agent of change
There are essentially two opposing forces within us. A part of us wants to be unique and stand out. There is this other part of us that wants to blend in. To be a part of a community. In other words, we want to be normal enough to be accepted by society. Man is a social being after all, and being a part of society is high on our list of priorities as an individual.
We spend our lives trying to balance an equation in our own ways. How do we appear normal but also different? How can we be a part of a community but still be memorable? In this internal conflict, we often forget the most important thing - ourselves.
We often lose our identity and we forget to express ourselves. We are all different as individuals and when we go out of our way to be normal we diminish our glow a little. We bury our authentic selves deeper and become someone we are not. This process is not sudden. It happens over time. And one fine day we all get up and look in the mirror unable to recognize ourselves. We wonder how we became who we are and what was that one event that led us here. But the reality is, that we got here over time. Every small decision we took to be acceptable was actually suppressing our real selves. We got here not in one fell swoop but in million small steps, all taken so we are normal.
In our quest to be accepted by society, we have glorified being normal. We are so worried about what "they" will think that in the process we have suffered years of discontent and disconnection with ourselves. Many have stayed in marriages they are not happy in, jobs they dislike, and pretended to be who they are not only because they were afraid of being judged.
This phenomenon is so prevalent that Apple launched an ad campaign based on it. And what's more, they were actually judged for making a campaign that touched such a sensitive issue.
Say what you will about the ad itself, but what they are saying in the ad is absolutely true. Haven't the ones who've changed the world been those who took that chance? Took the chance to be judged or took that risk to stand out and think differently? Isn't it absolutely necessary to leave the ordinary and normalcy behind for something extraordinary?
Being normal is vastly overrated. Period. And here is why:
When we can't even agree on one definition of normal and it is completely subjective, then how can being normal be something we strive for as individuals? Shouldn't we give up trying to be normal when the definition of normal itself is constantly changing and ever-evolving? How can we ever keep up with something so vague and fluid in the first place?
In other words, normal prevents us from doing anything out of the ordinary or meaningful in life. As humans, we are all extraordinary. We are born to be different and make a difference in the world we live in. Our lives have a purpose and meaning that we all want to accomplish.
We love what Maya Angelou had to say about this. We truly are amazing in all our glory. All those parts and sides of ours that we've spent years avoiding or hiding are the parts that make us who we are. They are the parts that make us extraordinary. And in the words of Maya Angelou - they make us amazing.
In our attempts to be normal (and sometimes even feel normal) we have given up something even more important - our authenticity. When we take steps to hide (or even change) who we are so we appear to be normal, we chip away at the authenticity of our souls. If you are a carefree bird at heart, caging your soul tarnishes that spirit. It takes away a piece of the whole that you are.
When you try and strive for normal, you are inadvertently telling yourself that you don't love yourself. Your subconscious believes that you are not lovable. Because you are trying to change or hide that side of you that is authentically you. You tell yourself that if you show that side of yourself you will not be accepted or loved. Without even realizing it, you start living a half-life.
When we change and hide our true nature, things that make us who we truly are, we are also doubting the strength of our relationships. We believe that others (specifically people who love us) will stop loving us because of who we really are. We never give our relationships a chance. We assume that our relationships are weak, unable to survive the revealing of our true selves.
We believe that by being normal (whatever definition of normal we have in our heads at that time) we are safe. That we are secure. But the reality is far from the truth. Because how safe can you be in a situation where you have to hide who you truly are? If you have to pretend to be someone else just be feel accepted, then you are not safe there, no matter what you choose to believe. When there is a lack of authenticity, there is a lack of trust and safety.
When you stop trying to be normal, you will stand out without doing anything. You become the inspiration to millions of others to become their authentic selves. You then are a source of strength for others who are also struggling to be normal when they don't really feel like that within them.
So, if you have been living under the assumption that by pretending to be normal you are maintaining some sort of status quo, you are wrong. Now, more than ever, the world needs your light. The world needs your greatness and your extraordinary self. Being normal is overrated. Be yourself instead.
I get some of this, normal may not be what it's cracked up to be. But for someone who struggled with an eating disorder for 28 years, being a normal eater looked pretty good to me. I wonder if it's the same for people who cannot think well, hear well or leave their house because of crippling anxiety.