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Don’t Worry About Being “Normal”

Colour: The spice of life
Creative Commons License photo credit: peggyhr

Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.   – Albert Camus

Being “normal” is overrated.  When I was younger, I really wanted to be normal, until I realized that trying to be normal was holding me back.  To me, normal meant “what everyone else was doing,” and I wanted nothing more than to do what everyone else was doing.  But I started to realize that I wasn’t that good at what everyone else was doing; I was good at what I did.  But, being good at what I did meant I had to give up my dreams of normal.

We worry too much about whether or not we are normal.  Because it’s really what we do that’s not normal that not only makes us who we are, but is also our greatest contribution.  But, unfortunately, being “abnormal” feels uncomfortable, and we may find ourselves running back to the comfortable nest of normal.  The desire to blend in is strong.

Showing yourself as “abnormal” is really about having faith that what you do is valuable, and that blending in would be a detriment, not only to you, but to your community.  We really need more abnormal people; those who can show us what is different about them.  Because when we have more people who show themselves as different, our communities become stronger, and paradoxically we feel and see the things that make us similar to each other.  Being abnormal makes you feel connected.

Strive to be abnormal and you will find yourself contributing to others in a way that makes you feel “normal.”  Maybe what you wanted in the first place was not to blend in, but to simply be connected.

What does “normal” mean to you? How has this played out in your life? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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8 Comments

  1. Exerting effort to ‘be normal’ is indeed a waste of time. I remember in school trying to act like the other people because they were my only reference. I didn’t think that was what it meant to be normal, rather I thought that was how you were supposed to act. But it never sat well with me and I would venture off to the library to play checkers.

    It’s the non normal stuff that is interesting. Whenever you talk to someone and they say they do something you didn’t expect it gets your attention, because it is interesting! If the opportunity arises I always mention that I am the current australian Iaido champion, which I follow up with some comment joking about how relevant that is to current days.

    Being interesting atleast keeps yourself entertained 😉

    Jarrod – Warrior Development’s last blog post..Seek Happiness Before All Else

  2. Hi Amanda,
    I too recall during school – a strong desire to “fit in”. And even out of school – that was still there. It’s taken many years to get to where I’m at today – comfortable in my own skin – and it’s such a much better place to be! “‘Be you”…a liberating place to get to.

    Amanda – I’m here because you are who you are – and I connect to that (I think you’re really touching upon something here, by the way – this idea of connecting vs. blending in). Connecting with other has become such a strong desire for me in recent years – and it all fits with me becoming less “blended” and more “me”…

    Lance’s last blog post..This Is Funtertainment

  3. Love this post! I have always strived to be “different” and I felt like that held me back as well. I’ve learned that it’s okay to do things just like other people do. It’s okay to be happy because happiness is, actually, cool. I really do love this post. Normalness is such an interesting concept and something that affects us all. Thank you for writing this — it’s great!

    Positively Present’s last blog post..stop judging: 4 reasons, 5 things, 6 ways

  4. You are right: being normal is overrated.

    What sets us apart from the crowd is what we should follow.

    Karen

  5. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Hi Jarrod – Absolutely right! Often it’s people who are bit eccentric who are the most interesting. Although it takes a bit of experience to see that. 🙂

    Hi Lance – Yes, I think when we connect with others, it’s often because we’ve seen something in them that is authentic. That’s what makes relationships rewarding. Thanks for your thoughts!

    Hi Dani – Cool! The reverse perspective! It is alright to be normal, and maybe always striving to be different takes a lot of energy also.

    Hi Karen – What sets up apart, often makes us who we are. Following that is important.

  6. Blynn Blynn

    I don’t know anyone who is “normal”, maybe that comes with age, that you just drop thinking about that. Never even thought of myself as normal, just me. I think people confuse being normal with what has been discussed as trying to fit in. But which hole is normal, the round or the square or the triangle, not to mention the quadrangle??

  7. For me growing up, normal = acceptance. And acceptance for me meant doing what everyone else expected of me. To not do so was to be not accepted was to be not normal.

    It has taken me many years to see the flaws in this way of being, and I do still struggle with it, but I have learned that acceptance begins with me and honoring my own self’s needs and innermost desires. When I do, I live from a place of authenticity that, in the end, results in far more love and acceptance than I could ever have garnered by simply following the rules and doing what was expected.

    Thank you for another great post!

    p.s. My fiance thinks I am the goofiest person around. I embrace it.

    Chania Girl’s last blog post..Putting Humpty Together Again: Mending the Cracked Pot

  8. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Hi Blynn – Good to know! Maybe now I can stop looking for “normal.” I like how you said it – I’m not normal, I’m just me. I’ll remember that one. 🙂

    Hi Chania Girl – Absolutely, acceptance does begin with us. It’s interesting that when we begin to live authentically, as you said, even when we do things that we think others will disapprove of, that somehow we do end up with more love and acceptance than we ever thought we could have.

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