What Is The “Normal” That We Spend Most Of Our Life Trying To Be?
Brene Brown gives us a hint of what we are seeking when we say we just want to be “normal”.
Because True Belonging only happens when we present our Authentic, Imperfect Selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of Self-Acceptance
– Brene Brown
Being “normal” to most of us, means that we fit in. That we are accepted. That we experience a sense of belonging to a group or tribe. So the first clue to how we achieve that sense of belonging or being normal, is that we accept ourselves for who we really are, deep down inside. We don’t rely or depend on what other people are thinking about us. What they think about us is none of our business. It usually has nothing to do with us. It has to do with how our actions or lack thereof are triggering them. And whatever triggers them is all about their own shadows.
Normal is for people without courage.
So why is it so hard to have that feeling? Because we are so busy rejecting who we really are. An easy example is what most of us do when someone has a camera – we either try to stay out of the photo, or try to position ourselves so that we are hiding whatever part of our body we don’t want to be memorialized by a photo. Then we find fault with how we look in the photo. How many photos do you have of yourself that you actually love? Why not?
Normal is an illusion. What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly.
– Morticia Adams
We feel that we are the only ones who feel the way that we do. So we push the true self down into the basement of our soul, and lock the door. Then we start building a persona to match what we think is normal. Because this persona isn’t who we really are, we can’t really have that sense of true belonging. Instead we run around with this sense of “trying” to belong. What is so funny, is that almost every person in this group that we are trying so hard to fit into, is doing the exact same thing. In fact, there are probably friends of ours who if we all took down the personas and accepted who we really are, are in fact part of our tribe that we don’t think exists.
I tried being normal once. Worst two minutes of my life.
When I was in grade school and Junior High School, we moved every six months or so. Until I was in high school I didn’t attend one school for the entire school year. It was usually two different schools in two different towns. This made it really hard to make friends. What I remember most is trying to be who I thought someone would want me to be, just so that I could have a friend. In High School I first made friends with a group of girls that were on the wild side, because the wild girls were more accepting of new people.
Now where I ran into problems was that I was an “A” student, and the wild girls were not. So after the first experience of being put down for “A” grades, I tried to downplay my grades. Then I started letting them slide into “B’s” to be accepted. But the truth was that I liked school, I liked learning, I liked being the best in the class. So I changed my friends to some that didn’t care what my grades were. They allowed me to be who I was. Their acceptance gave me a tiny sense of belonging, of not sticking out too far above the crowd.
If you are always trying to be normal you will never know how amazing you can be.
– Maya Angelou
Why do we lock our true self into a chest, and bury it on the desert island? Because we are both terrified and amazed by the colors of our soul. We have this push-pull going on. We have a brilliant idea, then we mentally tear it apart. We have a dream we passionately want to go after, then we analyze it to death. A door of opportunity opens in front of us, and we feel an intense pull, but we listen to all of the naysayers and walk past it with dragging feet. Self Acceptance, means that we believe in ourselves. This is risk at its highest form, because what if we are not enough? This is where the loving the imperfect self comes in. No one is perfect, and so by this reality, we will fail sometimes. And that has to be okay.
I heard a voice that told me I’m essential. How all my fears are limiting my potential. Said it’s time to step into the light and use every bit of power I have inside.
– Indea Erie
Alice Through The Looking Glass, in Wonderland and Underground, was always looking for adventures.
Every adventure requires a first step.
– Cheshire Cat, Alice in Wonderland
Alice didn’t like following the rules of “normal” behavior. It takes a lot of courage to go out on adventures. Adventures bring out parts of us that we didn’t know were there. It also shows us parts of us, that we may not like. Adventures teach us to look at things differently. Backwards, upside down, and sideways. Adventures teach us about who we are. “Who in the world am I? Ah, that’s the puzzle”
I knew who I was this morning, but I have changed a few times since then.
– Alice in Wonderland
The more that we takes these adventures and learn about ourselves, the curiousier it gets. This is because like the looking glass adventure, everything is opposite of what we would think. In taking the risk and going on the adventure, what we find is more freedom to be our imperfect self.
Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.
– Brene Brown
How does that work? By being curious, and having self acceptance that we are imperfect, we start to allow ourselves the room to experiment. We start trying new things. We mix up the parts and create something new, different and wonderful. The more we open to change, the easier it becomes to let go of certainty. Self acceptance means that I no longer become that mean, vindictive, cruel person in my mind to myself. I am no longer at war with who I really am. We are all made up of strength and struggle; of giving and receiving; of being first to do something with no guarantee that it will be returned to us or that we will be successful in the doing of it.
As you grow, you develop the ideal of where your true belonging could be – the place, the home, the partner, and the work. You seldom achieve all of the elements of the ideal, but it travels with you are the criterion and standard of what true belonging could be.
– John O’Donohue
It is this strong sense of belonging, of self acceptance, of self love, that enables us to have the courage to live an imperfect life as our true selves. Don’t fear failure. Take ownership of who you are and be proud of it. Take chances, like they are lucky gold tickets, because they are. No matter what, do not stop being the weird, crazy person that you are meant to be.