Social Skills 101: What is normal

Have you ever googled the definition of normal? the definitions are …for want of a better word, ick.

adjective/ conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected./ synonyms: usualstandardtypicalstockcommonordinarycustomaryconventionalhabitualaccustomed, expected, wontedeverydayregularroutineday-to-daydailyestablished, settled, setfixedtraditionalquotidianprevailing. 

noun/ the usual, typical, or expected state or condition/ “her temperature was above normal“/

When it comes to defining others as “normal”, people are pretty fast and loose with their definitions. And we have to be honest: Normal people are extremely unusual. We’ve never met an actual normal person, not once, and we’ve met a lot of people. What most people won’t tell you is that their definition of “normal” is determined by their immediate group and their own actions. Which is why most people can’t even define what a normal person is.

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And if we can’t define it clearly (answers like, “you know, someone normal”, or “someone like me”, don’t count.), then why is it often accepted as something that is standard? The idea that normality is somehow normal is divisive in and of itself. It puts barriers in between people and assumes that different is somehow less. But being as vague as normal is, it can’t tell you how. Which is (a) not helpful, (b) sheltered, and (c) both really boring and oppressive all at once.

The idea that normality is normal is divisive, but this is how you change it:

The truth is that there is no normal. And that is as close to normal as we can get – the moment that you accept this, the sooner you can begin to really accept who you are and others for who they are. This isn’t an easy process, and remember that accepting who someone is doesn’t mean that you have to like them. What it means is that you have the power to choose how or even whether you still want them in your life. It means seeing yourself for who you are, recognising your strengths and your weaknesses and working with them instead of trying to force yourself to be the way others have told you to be, or the way you feel you should be.

These quotes about being unique and being yourself might feel cliched, cheesy or even obvious. But they are honest. The idea of normal isn’t, it’s just a social vulnerability that lends itself to exclusionary practices and ideas.

Create a new normal by practicing acceptance of yourself and others, and have a great day!

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