Today I was working with a couple in my office and the word that I despise the most came up in the session... NORMAL.
What is "normal"? Who defines what gets to be considered "normal"? Is one relationship more normal than another? Is one way of parenting more accepted? Is the way I react to something normal and the way you react abnormal because it is different?
I bristle when clients come into my office searching for what is "normal" by anyone's standards other than their own. Especially in today's current political climate with COVID-19 running rampant throughout the world. Our sense of
"normal" has been shattered into a million viral particles and scattered to the winds. We constantly hear that social distancing and wearing masks has to become our "new normal".
But that is just a phrase we tell ourselves to calm our anxieties. Because bottom line, people like things to feel normal. Because normal is predictable. It can be expected. Anticipated. Normal is comfortable to many. But when things shift from our sense of normal we panic. We fight to maintain that equilibrium in any way possible. But why? Why do we fear the unpredictable? The unexpected? Why is it so hard for us to find a way to be comfortable with that which is uncomfortable?
And we can be so quick to judge someone behaving in a way that feels "abnormal" to us. Or just as bad, judge ourselves when we are feeling or behaving in a way that society has told us is "not normal". Wouldn't it be lovely if we could replace that world altogether with another word... authentic? I search for ways in which I can operate from a place of complete authenticity. In how I feel, how I react, how I interact... in every part of my day. Why don't we strive for being our truest selves in every moment? Can that be what is considered normal?
As the world around me seems to be challenged at every turn and is filled with uncertainty... as I try to adapt to the ever-changing environment, I remain focused on what I can control in THIS MOMENT. Am I being my most authentic self? If I feel anxious, am I acknowledging it to myself and those I love without fear of judgment? If I see others struggling to respect new mask guidelines or social distancing restrictions, am I focusing on them and their journey, or focusing on what I CAN control... my actions and reactions? Am I challenging someone else's "normal"? Or being true to my own?
There are 7.5 billion people in the world. Normal doesn't exist as a general construct. Only I can determine what is normal for me based on what feels truest. So today, I am going to try a little harder to be a little more authentic. To operate from my highest sense of right and truth. To love my neighbors as they continue on their journeys towards their more authentic selves. To help my clients define what their "normal" looks like.
Let me know if I can help you, too.