Normal

‘Normal’ is such a controversial phrase. In psychology, we spent a whole essay exploring it; what was considered normal behaviour? We did this so that by default, we would be defining abnormality. At the end of the essay, however, we had come to no conclusions.

There are so many different theories and perspectives that look into normality. One that I noticed in my textbook was “abnormality is sometimes defined as the subjective experience of feeling ‘not normal’ – for example, feeling intense anxiety, unhappiness, or distress”. Then I ask you psychologists – how are we normal if we do not experience these feelings?

If we didn’t have problems to overcome or emotions to experience – we wouldn’t be normal. We wouldn’t have the amazing opportunity to grow and learn. We wouldn’t be human – and isn’t being human normal?

I read once (I have no idea where and I can’t remember the exact details) that to be normal you have to be a 30-something-year-old man with a particular economical status and a certain lifestyle. The article admitted that the percentage of people who fit into this category is significantly low.

I could go on forever talking about the different proposed ways to define what normality is. However, I would like to ask – Is it necessary to define this term?

If I have learned one thing studying psychology – it’s that humans are structured beings. There’s reasons for this, such as structure makes it easier for our brains to cope. Especially with the copious amounts of information circulating the world today. I acknowledge this. We are only human after all. But I don’t remember learning about a discussion over the definitions of words back when we were primates. If we survived back then without it – why can’t we survive without it now?

One of the biggest fears of humans is not fitting in. We focus a lot on what’s normal in relation to our social environment. A lot of our time and effort is spent thinking about what others think of us. If we govern ourselves based around what others think we should be, then whose life are we living? Whose reality are we in? Ours? Or theirs?

I’m going to point out something here – and we all know this – EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT.

We were all born with unique traits and personalities – and this is what makes us beautiful.

So who cares about what’s considered normal?

I get that there are examples where people have done horrible things (rape, murder, torture, genocide etc.) because they have distanced themselves from the norm. And maybe you have a point (although they have also distanced themselves from their humane nature – which is probably abnormal).

But what would the world look like with no personality?

I know I wouldn’t want to live here.

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