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 you fit in. That you are accepted. That you experience a sense of belonging to a group or tribe. So the first clue to how you achieve that sense of belonging or being normal, is that you accept yourself for who you really are, deep down inside. You don’t rely or depend on what other people are thinking about you. What they think about you is none of your business. It actually has nothing to do with you. It has to do with how your actions or lack thereof are triggering them. And whatever triggers them is all about their own shadows.
“Normal is for people without courage” – Unknown
So why is it so hard to have that feeling? Because you are so busy rejecting who you really are. An easy example is what most of us do when someone has a camera – you either try to stay out of the photo, or try to position yourself so that you are hiding whatever part of your body you don’t want to be memorialized by a photo. Then you find fault with how you 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
You feel that you are the only one who feels the way that you do. So you push the true self down into the basement of your soul, and lock the door. Then you start building a persona to match what you think is normal. Because this persona isn’t who you really are, you can’t really have that sense of true belonging.
Instead you run around with this sense of “trying” to belong. What is so funny, is that almost every person in this group that you are trying so hard to fit into, is doing the exact same thing. In fact, there are probably friends of yours who if you all took down the personas and accepted who you really are, are in fact part of your tribe that you think doesn’t exist.
“I tried being normal once. Worst two minutes of my life” – Unknown
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 trying to be 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 you lock your true self into a chest, and bury it on the desert island?
- You are both terrified and amazed by the colors of your soul.
- You have this push-pull going on.
- You have a brilliant idea, then you mentally tear it apart.
- You have a dream you passionately want to go after, then you analyze it to death, with fears of failure and not being worthy.
- You have a door of opportunity open in front of you, and you feel an intense pull to go through it, but you listen to all of the naysayers and walk past it with dragging feet.
Self Acceptance, means that you believe in yourself. This is risk at its highest form, because what if you are not enough? This is where the loving the imperfect self comes in. No one is perfect, and so by this reality, you 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. She didn’t have time for “normal”. She was way beyond that!
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 you that you didn’t know were there. It also shows you parts of you, that you may not like. Adventures teach you to look at things differently. Backwards, upside down, and sideways. Adventures teach you about who you are. “Who in the world am I? Ah, that’s the puzzle that is only yours to solve.”
“I knew who I was this morning, but I have changed a few times since then” – Alice in Wonderland
The more that you take these adventures and learn about yourself, the curiousier it gets. This is because like the looking glass adventure, everything is opposite of what you would think. In taking the risk and going on the adventure, what you find is more freedom to be your 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 you are imperfect, you start to allow yourself the space to experiment. You start trying new things. You mix up the parts and create something new, different and wonderful. The more you open to change, the easier it becomes to let go of certainty.
Self acceptance means that you no longer become that mean, vindictive, cruel person in your mind to yourself. You are no longer at war with who you really are. You are 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 you, or that you will be successful in the doing of it.
It is this strong sense of belonging, of self acceptance, of self love, that enables you to have the courage to live an imperfect life as your true self. 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.