Last week we touched on why the term “normal” is bad and should stop being used as a form of measure for people. It is an unreal ideal that we can never truly meet as each of us is complex and different in our own ways. It would be better to reinforce us to trailblazer our own way, dance to the beat of our own drum.
Today we look at 7 Normal Things You Should Stop doing and why.
Oftentimes, we think there is something wrong with us because we aren’t what others consider normal. We think we won’t be happy or successful if we aren’t being some version of humanity that we are all held up to and judged against. It’s time we learn to shirk some cares and just be our true authentic selves.
The illusion of normality
If I asked you to think about, for a moment, what it means to be normal, what comes to mind? Do you have a clear vision of what that means? An itemized list of things that you should be doing or working to achieve?
If I then asked you where those thoughts and images come from, what would your answer be? Almost guaranteed you would say you learned it from your parents, teachers in school, doctors, and by everyone else. We have been fed a belief that there is a set of guidelines that all people should be like. A set of guidelines that was developed by straight, white men of power based on a definition of a word that wasn’t meant to measure the human condition.
You can break living in this illusion of normality, it only takes a bit of work on your part. We have to learn to reset our thoughts. Throw out the ideal that going against the grain or being different is bad. When I make that statement, my mind races back to a 1980s commercial for Apple computers where a woman bursts into a room that looks ripped from the movie 1984.
Much like that iconic moment, it takes the individual to make a stand against social norms to become their true selves.
Today, we will discuss seven ways you can start to make that change.
7 Normal Things You Should Stop Doing
7. Always being right
Let’s face it, almost all of us are guilty of this. You think you know something so strongly that when anyone challenges that thought you get upset. You think you are right, which leads you to believing others are wrong and your opinion needs to be heard.
We are taught this from a very early age. To be wrong, somehow, equals being stupid. Normal people aren’t stupid, so therefore you have to be right all the time.
Just remember, no one is perfect and no one person knows everything. Being scared of not being normal and wrong means you will never be happy. You are in a constant state of fear of someone proving you are wrong.
Let it go, accept you for who you are, mistakes and all. You will never be right and the best thing to take from it is that you have a lifetime of learning new things and experiences. Bask in that.
6. Always saying yes
This one is hard, I will admit that. Too many times we are asked to do things that we don’t want to do. Our friends show up with some crazy idea they have and want you to be a part of it and you reluctantly say yes. Agreeing to do things you don’t want to do or aren’t interested in is another fallacy brought on by being normal. We are taught that if you are a normal person with healthy relationships, you agree to what is being asked as a way to show you care for that person.
We often say yes to doing things because we think others know we aren’t doing anything better and will judge us for not participating. We quickly go over our plans and worry that our friends will think we don’t care for them. This leads us to agreeing to things we don’t want to do. It is perfectly okay to have time to yourself. You do not have to take every commitment that comes along.
Sometimes, it is okay to say “No thank you,.” You don’t need to provide a lot of detail. What you do need to do is listen to your heart. Self care is just as important as taking care of others. That is why, on airplanes, the flight staff tell you to put on your oxygen mask before you attempt to help others. If you aren’t healthy in mind and body, how can you look after anything else?
5. Apologizing when you’re not sorry
This one is a hard one. As far back as our childhood we have been programmed to say “I’m sorry.” Whether we did anything wrong or not, it is considered good form to apologize. And Americans are even the worst offender here, British people saying it 15 times to our 10.
Over-apologizing for situations you have little or not control over can lead others to have a negative vision of you. That aside, saying it all the time also lessens the intent when you actually mean it. If it sounds like an automatic response, others will assume the same when you say it where its warranted. There is even research being done that states saying sorry constantly actually lowers our self esteem. In an article where I am pushing you to be the best version of you, lowering your self esteem is contradictory to that process.
Learn to know where and when you should apologize, instead. Was there anything about the situation that you had control over? Was the situation a trivial mistake, like being bumped into by another person? Then there really isnt a need to make an apology. I hear you saying, “but, I’m being nice.” Are you really or is it just a result of years of programming?
4. Saving everything or almost everything
This tidbit of normality has its roots in the Depression era. Many of us grew up with parents or grandparents that were alive during this time. They were taught that everything needed to be saved or reused to support the war effort. The mindset became one of “you never know when you might need it.” From there more was added, maybe you paid too much for an item or it was a gift from a friend. All of these create this mindset that we shouldn’t get rid of it.
Our impulse is, if we received something as a gift, it has significance. In truth, the only significant thing has already happened… the giving of the gift. Maybe your goal is, “I should keep this, just in case…” Just in case what? There is a zombie apocalypse where the broken cheese grater may be of use for protecting your house and family?
We should take another look at this mentality and switch it to saving it because it is something we adore or adds value to our lives. If you make everything important in your life, then very few things really are.
3. Over extending yourself
This is a condition each of us are familiar with. We are surrounded by the mindset of never stopping competing, comparing, and never stopping. Ask yourself exactly what it is that you are trying to accomplish. Why is there a need to compare what you do with others?
In work, we all think we want to be successful and rich. We work hard and even sometimes harder than we should, to achieve something that we don’t ever reach. The more money you earn, the more problems you have around you. Instead, work towards a healthy work-life balance. All the time you spent taking on new projects at work, long hours, and time away from loved ones will become things you regret. . That ultimately leads to regretting not doing things you wanted to do. Stop the cycle and check off some of those bucket list items.
I once heard a line in a movie or song that has stuck with and really resonates truth. “Life, no one gets out of it alive.” How does that relate, you ask? Why compete with everyone else, there is no prize for winning. We all end up the same in the end. The only competition you really have, in life, is with who you were, who you are, and who you will become. That’s it.
2. Being disappointed by others
Why are we so preoccupied by others and what they are doing? Does it come from a place of wanting to help or are you using it as a means to not look at your own things? It shouldn’t be a surprise that the reason we are often so disappointed in others is because they aren’t giving us what we think we want or need. It is about them not meeting our expectations of a given situation. It’s not their fault they can’t live up to some ideal you have created.
Look at the situation. If you are faced with a situation where you think the other person didn’t give you the appreciation or love you needed, at that moment, what can you do to foster more appreciation or love? Remember the lesson for manifesting, if you release good intentions to the world they will come back to you. Visualize it and it can be yours. Enjoy your circle of friends or people around you for who they are and not what you expect them to be. Those are your expectations that come from values you have of yourself. Others cannot live up to them if they don’t hold them, as well.
If someone really needs your help, then help them. On the other hand, if they can’t seem to get out of their own way or they are unwilling to change, then that is their call. It doesn’t fall to you to approve of or correct others, only yourself.
1.Being afraid of change
I get it, change is scary. Guess what, it’s also constant and out of our control. We are surrounded by change everyday and in everything. It is uncomfortable, makes us feel uncertain, and it’s the unknown. We rebut those comments about change with phrases like, “ that’s easier said than done.” This simple statement dismisses the idea of change to us.
We sit there perplexed over what it would mean to change something we have always done. We are afraid to hope for something better because change brings fear of the unknown and possible failure. We back that up with not believing we have what it takes to make that change. I know this personally. I remember when I was seriously overweight and struggling with ideas that weren’t beneficial to me. I kept saying that this is who I am and can’t change. What I was really saying was that I was too afraid to start the process because I felt I would only fail. How can I know I would fail if it was something I haven’t done?
Remember that changes can start with the tiniest of steps. For example, if the thought of a diet sends you to “easier said than done,” why not start with just one tiny step. Remove or reduce the amount of soda from your daily routine. Maybe add more greens to what you eat. Small steps and persistence will make big changes. If you don’t believe that, look at a river. Through constant action it wears down the roughest stones to become the most smooth. Persist in your efforts, a little at a time and you can intact change.
Why be normal
We are surrounded by an ideal of what we should be. An idea that was started by old, white, cis-gendered men who decided a word used to describe a mathematical situation also has a place in physiology and as such became a standard of measure of the human condition.
This thought allows us to think there is something wrong with us if we don’t fit into the mold. It is time to challenge those ideals and start taking control back, for ourselves. Have you tried any of the things I listed above to change your view of normality? If so, how did they work? Does the thought of being normal make you feel safe or does it spark rivers of fear running down your back? Do you think we should stop using the word normal and push for a more diverse human existence? Let me know in the comments below. Remember that your life’s journey could be what helps someone start theirs.