What you're really asking when you ask "Am I normal?"
I see you. I know you've asked yourself this question before.
It's the age-old question: "Am I normal?"
If you have asked yourself "Am I normal?" (or some variation of the question), then you may have had a rough idea of what you were asking. But most likely it was difficult to pin down, to put precise words to why you were asking what you were asking.
I'm guessing that you felt that you were different in some way. "Am I normal?" is the ultimate question, the ultimate comparison.
Comparing yourself to others leads to uncomfortable feelings
Feeling uncomfortable about something in your life gave you an inkling that you are different.
But why are you uncomfortable in the first place?
It's because how others tell you to act is not lining up with what you are doing--or want to do. How you think drives how you act, and how you think and act is not acceptable to others.
This often leads to intense shame. And I won't dismiss it, shame is a powerful thing. Think too far outside of the box, and society has a tendency to square you up and seal you off. Becoming a rebel is not for the faint of heart.
You're not normal
I hate to break it to you, but you are not normal. You stumbled upon this site for a reason, and it's because you're looking for something else. You're searching for answers to a question others say you shouldn't care about in the first place. You may have even been called crazy or some other less-than-savory name.
And I'm sure you've heard it before: "Normal is a setting on the washing machine." It's not a label for humans. As funny as that glib remark might have been the first time you heard it, no one actually knows what it means to be "normal."
So let me ask you something:
Do you actually want to be normal? Do you know what that means?
What you are really asking yourself
What you are actually asking yourself when you ask: "Am I normal?" is this: Am I supposed to be feeling this way? Am I supposed to be acting this way? Will I ever be accepted and loved for who I am?
At the core of our humanity is the desire to be loved and the inner drive to exist. As humans, we are wired for connection, but it does not mean we are wired to accept differences. Sure, we'll accept people who fall within a certain range of acceptable thinking and behavior. But don't get too far from the norm. Don't become an outlier.
People judge and label what they can't understand. Unfortunately, not everyone will understand everyone else. Some people have an innate ability to empathize with anyone. They can scale the socially constructed walls of rules, etiquette, and norms in their sleep. But it doesn't always come so easily. Not all people have the ability to blend in with others while also staying true to themselves.
But there's good news. There's a way to do it.
And it begins with self-discovery.
If you've asked the question, you've started the process
If you've asked the question, you've already started the process of defining yourself. To inquire is to be curious, and to be curious is to explore. And once you are an explorer there is no turning back. Once you seek, you will find what you are looking for. You don't need to buy a map when you're already a cartographer.
Lacking the answer is a better indicator of where you are going than years of unidirectional schooling. Being talked at--rather, taught at--rarely leads to personal development and great epiphanies. When you are hungry for wisdom for your own reasons, your questions open you up to a world of possibilities.
To question your world is the source of wisdom. No knowledge can enter an individual who is convinced he knows it all. Your mind may be wracked with doubt when you ask yourself "Am I normal?" but your curiosity is a compass that points due north.
You have a choice
You have a choice to make. Now that you know what's behind your questioning, you have an important decision. Do you wind with the curvature of your arcing thoughts, or do you bend and fall back in line?
Do you pay attention to your tingling nerves and go with your gut, or do you let others tell you what to do? Do you explore until you know what you have been looking for, or do you fall in line and say, "I guess this is good enough."
It's only good enough if you say it's good enough. Your normal is not my normal, and your mind works in ways that my mind never will.
Embrace it. Own what makes you unique. Normal is in the eye of the beholder. You can't be disappointed when it is you who sets the terms.
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