Normal is not something to aspire to, it’s something to get away from. ~Jodie Foster
If I asked you to define normal, how would you define it?
Is it a standard to measure up to? Is it the way of life, the prerequisite to fit in? Is it what nature intended?
When I think of normal, the following words come to mind.
Acceptable, common, usual, regular, typical, average, standard, conforming, right.
Normal is a word that has been used and abused. Like any other word (in any language), it’s not the word itself but the context in which it’s used that makes a difference.
Is it used to clarify and help or to judge and ridicule?
What’s normal behavior? What’s a normal mood? What’s normal appearance?
The dangers of normal
In today’s world normal has become another belief that gives its faithful followers the right to inflict pain—both physical and emotional—on others.
Normal is used to judge, discriminate, ridicule, insult and subject others to unwarranted cruelty. In a normal society, there would be no place for minorities. Otherness is the enemy of normalcy.
It becomes easy to forget about empathy, compassion, understanding and the most common thread of humanity—love.
Normal created an overmedicated society. There is a pill for everything under the sun that’s not within the scope of what’s perceived as normal—anxiety, stress, attention deficit, and so many other challenges.
How did we reach a consensus on what level of social behavior is acceptable? Can we ignore each individual’s unique circumstances and abilities?
Who decided on the how we’re supposed to act and how we’re supposed to feel?
The limitations of normal
Normal is subjective.
Someone or a group decided on what’s acceptable and the rest followed. Whenever something different comes up, we fear it and meet it with disdain, instead of welcoming it with curiosity and a desire to understand.
Normal is static and rigid.
We can go back to not so long ago in history and see what normal got us into—segregation, wars, discrimination and hate. In other words, we separated every aspect of our lives into normal and abnormal. Thus creating us and them—the root of all manmade pain.
At one point, it was normal to think the earth was flat. At another, it was normal to think one race was superior to another. Now it’s normal to racially profile people.
Normal makes us stop thinking and questioning and start following blindly. It is why societies stagnate. It takes courageous souls to think, and challenge the norm and ignite the spark of change.
Normal is unrealistic.
To try to mold more than 6 billion people on the face of this planet into predefined standards is impossible.
No one can claim to fully understand human behavior or create a standard for it. None of us came with a user manual.
Back to nature—normal is not natural.
Nature does not discriminate, does not judge and does not abuse.
Nature creates and nurtures. It’s neutral; it doesn’t favor a certain race, political affiliation, social class or citizens of one country.
Nature embraces the rebels and the conformists, the beautiful and the freaks, the short and tall, the thin and fat, the healthy and sick.
Nature does not gloat at the demise of others, nor does it take sides in conflicts. Events in nature are mere balancing acts and not a curse or punishment as some used to think.
Since the human race evolved, we have been drawing the lines and defining how things should be. We complicated the simplest of principles and created misguided references to what’s normal.
We now have manuals that define torture and volumes on how people should behave towards each other. The truth is simple: treat others as you want to be treated. If it hurts you or someone you love, it would hurt others—that’s torture. We all desire to be loved, respected and allowed to express ourselves, without harming others or the planet—that’s all the human rights code we need.
It’s time for us to wake up and question the notion of normal.
Nature is evolving and whether we like it or not, we’re being pushed forward. Letting go of old beliefs and rigid labels and judgments will be a move in the right direction.
I don’t know what the purpose of life is. However, I know it didn’t intend for us to be molded or controlled by others and to shy away from our uniqueness.
Life would be much simpler if we trust more and allow ourselves and others to be—in harmony with life.
“Life is the dancer and you are the dance.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
We are all freaks of nature. No one will ever be like you or me. But we all have a common desire in this life and that is to be all we can be. So forget about normal, get your freak on and dance. :)