the search for normal

normal or unique
“Is that normal?”

In my coaching work, that’s a phrase frequently added by my clients…

“I don’t see it like that. Is that normal?”
“I can feel it churning in my tummy. Is that normal?”
“I just don’t know what I want. Is that normal?”
“It’s like I have a conversation in my head. Is that normal?”
even, “If we were to meet every three weeks maybe? I don’t know, is that normal?”

The search for affirmation that we are in some way ‘normal’ seems to be intrinsically inside us.

Society reinforces this of course. You will know this if your ethnicity is different from the majority. If you have a disability. If your sexuality, or the way you dress, is in some way not the society imagined ‘norm’ then your belonging can be challenged. You can be ‘told’ directly or indirectly that you don’t ‘fit’. For some of course this drives an expressed desire to be ‘different’, to stand out, to be individual.

There seems to be a tension between individual and the crowd or majority; between unique and the same, individual and similar; a tension between who we are and the expectations of everyone else.

When one of my clients says something like “I’m just not that driven. Is that normal?”

I wonder if the first half of that proclamation is a statement of self. A statement of uniqueness. A statement of what is. A statement of who we are and how we work. A statement of truth.

I wonder if the second half is just a blanket for belonging. A sense that by showing who I am, I might be judged, rejected, cast out.

Of course, in reality we are all unique. Even those who band together under the cloak of ‘the normal’ are, in truth, unique individuals. Hiding their true uniqueness for fear of rejection.

Normal is a cloak though.

Unique IS normal.

Shine your light. Step into the sunshine. Be yourself. Celebrate your difference. For it is through your difference that your contribution to the world will be manifest.

One thought on “the search for normal

  1. I know someone who has always wanted to be normal, to fit in, to be “average”. I find it both a refreshing antidote to the modern quest for fame and a sadness. Why can they not see how special they are? Why can they not value the things that make them unique? And now, “Why can’t they see, like Steve sees, that being unique is being normal, and why can’t they see that being what they might call ‘normal’ would be a uniqueness in itself?”


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