Being normal

By Charu Vashishtha. Charu is a software engineer from Gurgaon, India. Please read her article and leave your thoughts and comments below.

What do we mean by being normal?

Does it mean being acceptable in society?

Perhaps.

And who by the way, composes the society?

The Normal people.

Who decides what’s acceptable?

The Normal people.

Heard about normalization? The simple term ‘normalization’ refers to adjustments made with intention of bringing entire probability distributions to a common scale.

A common scale where we can weigh (or shall I say judge) everyone and decide if they indeed are like everybody else or else they are not normal.

The dark want to look fairer. The fair want to look suntanned. A lot of effort is put in to trying to be what we are not.

Introverts expend a great of energy to initiate small talk. For if they don’t, they would be taken to be snobbish or rude. Can one imagine what kind of energy they have to exert to make a small talk? Rehearse and rehearse in their mind what they have to say, only to find that the moment they gather guts to say something, the general topic of discussion has moved on. They sweat all their energy only to appear “normal” or acceptable.

Doing something that does not come naturally to you only to please others generates a lot of negativity. Once negativity seeps in, we have little energy left to devote to things we truly want to do. Like say, the introverts would want to write, paint or read in a secluded corner. Where they can be themselves. Where they can be accepted for what they are. Where no one is going to judge them.

Similarly, the extroverts who genuinely like being with people, who take genuine interest in others’ lives and who derive energy from crowds are told to subdue themselves. They have keep control over their harmless urge to talk to people, for the fear of being assumed insincere or for the fear of appearing shallow.

Why can’t we accept people as they are?

Why do we have to draw a median and try to normalize people? Why do we try to set them in a mold?

Are we afraid of something?

Yes. We are afraid of people who cannot be set in the mold. We like to label people. We feel comfortable that way and in control of things. Once we have labelled a person we know how to deal with him or her. However, an unconventional person is a threat. How do we deal with him or her? We are unaware of what their powers might bring. We are afraid of the unknown. We are afraid of change.

We try to be normal. We try to be like everyone else, blend and camouflage and hide in the crowd. We don’t want to stand out. Why? Are we cowards? Perhaps yes.

Why don’t we wear our identity and our individuality on our sleeves? It takes courage. Acknowledge that. It’s okay to be a coward. But at least respect other’s courage. Why push them, demean them, scare them into giving up their courage? Let them celebrate their individuality, their courage, their ab-normality. Let’s get inspired from them. Make the world a more flavored, more varied and spicier place to live in.

Tell me, why does a man always have to breadwinner? Why is his worth always measured in terms of what he has earned? Why are less ambitious men frowned upon? What’s wrong if a man wants an idyllic life? What’s wrong if he chooses to rear his children? Why do attach a stigma and push him to prove his mettle? Why is a woman who is ambitious frowned upon? Why can’t she make her own choices? Why does she have to cook to appear normal? Why would we set boundaries on how a man or woman should behave?

Boundaries are to be set if you are causing harm. If not, push the boundaries. The only harm you are causing by adhering to the boundaries is to evolution and development of the society. There would never be a Frank Lloyd Wright in architecture, there would never be something called Modern Art, there would never have been a Kiran Bedi (the first female police officer in India), had certain individuals and groups not decided to break the boundaries of what’s normal.

The only abnormality which should not be acceptable by the society are the activities and philosophies which bring harm to ourselves or the others. That should not be “acceptable” or “normal”.

Let’s do ourselves a favor and be accepting. Let people do what they believe in. Accept them for they are and society would progress tremendously. We are all brilliant at something. We really are. Either we have not found out about it yet or have found it but have taken effort to suppress that brilliance in the quest to appear normal. But a set of brilliant but repressed individuals would lead to nothing but downfall. Paulo Coelho was committed to mental asylum by well-meaning parents because they thought writing was not an acceptable profession. Many youngsters in countries such as India are forced to take up engineering and sciences and give up arts because the former are considered more lucrative by their parents. Being an artist seems like a wild goose chase. These countries have lost many potential artists and given way to mediocre engineers who may not enjoy what they are doing but are doing it because that’s what everyone else is doing.

It’s okay to have opinions. But acknowledge your verdict is not final. Feel free to reject something you don’t like, but accept that it is perfectly okay for someone else to embrace it. Don’t adhere to the herd mentality and pick only what’s in and happening. But pick what you truly believe in. Give that freedom to yourselves and the others. Set your life free. The world would be a better place to live in.

41 comments on “Being normal

  1. Deepak Damodar Sharma on

    Excellent article Charu Vashishtha on been oneself rather be part of the crowd and be normal. I agree the world would be a better place to live if we don’t adhere to herd mentality and pick what we truly believe in. Thanks for sharing the wonderful article. Keep writing and keep sharing.

    Reply
  2. Gaurav tiwari on

    Wow. Again a fantastic and sensible article Charu. Your articles are always a motivation to everyone. These articles and your thoughts are beyond the imagination and you make it possible so easily. We are waiting for upcoming articles.

    Reply
  3. NEHA NIGAM on

    True! I agree with every bit of what you have written Charu! Trying to be normal always is like standardization. Humans are not processes or software codes that can be standardized! Creativity flourishes in freedom…freedom of thoughts, freedom of speech, freedom of action…those thoughts, speech or action which are new, fresh and different!

    Reply
    • Charu Vashishtha on

      Very well said Neha. We cannot standardise humans. We are all different and its not bad to be different. It makes life interesting. Differences actually open up our mind and widen our horizon. Lets accept that its absolutely “Normal” to be different and make everyone’s and our life easy.

      Reply
  4. ANSHUL SAXENA on

    Galileo Galilie, who was considered foolish and absurd in his life time and who served house arrest for his scientific theories is now considered as the father of modern physics. Steve jobs who was a college drop out went on to become the father of apples. There are many more examples which inspires “normal” people to try new things. “Normal” are those who accept the society and the world as it is. To bring about a change may be we need something more than normal.. something ‘abnormal’!

    Reply
  5. Manish Kataria on

    A very nice and thought provoking article.
    You said it exactly write, people put in a lot of (cognitive) energy in being what they are not.
    If we just be what we are, do what we like, the world can have lot of Sachin Tandulkars or Malala or the great personalities we admire to be.
    Btw…. I got the topic for your next blog… Powers of being natural 🙂

    Reply
  6. Aseem Kumar on

    Reading such an article really leads you to think and think a lot (i must say). Not that most people are not aware of the fact that they don’t enjoy what they are doing. They know it well and yes i agree with you they are cowards for not coming out. I am partially one of those. I enjoy what I am doing( well most of the time) but it is not my true calling. I would rather be in media.. a news anchor maybe.. or a sales person..but what i am doing brings food on the table for family.. if it gets challenging to bring food on table for next couple of years, i may not enjoy the challenges in the path of something which i think is my true calling. The fear of unknown is what makes people a coward

    Reply
  7. Tripti Tewari on

    The article aptly explains today’s definition of being normal. It is something that everyone knows but not ready to accept. Such articles not only help people travel down their lanes of memories and realize how they have struggled to settle down within the definition of their society’s ‘being normal’ but also how they themselves have rejected those who were not ready to lose themselves within the crowd i.e.’abnormal people’.
    The article not only explains the topic beautifully but also seems to pour out millions of people’s heart in just few lines.

    Reply
  8. Nisha Kalra on

    What a Great thought provoking little journey was this article. It really pushes you to accept the way you are and push the boundries of being normal even if accepting yourself means that you could not be accepted by rest of the world. It also depicts the hypocrisy of mankind and one should not be ashamed to read this. We really need to analyze where we are leading to and how far we are from where we should be and how we should be.

    Reply
  9. Hemant Agarwal on

    Good Thoughts…..I wish each one of us follow it with proper mentoring from a visionary intellectual person because many artists ended up with miserable life as well. I understand God is behind everything however role of Guru in each one us life is very important.

    Reply
  10. Saurabh Dua on

    Excellent article Charu, Are we afraid of something.
    Yes , by nature human beings are having a fear of unknown. Nothing wrong in that. That’s why we see instances when the same ‘abnormal’ people make other understand or get a big award , the acceptance level increases in same society.
    Very well written indeed, keep it up !!!

    Reply
  11. NEHA KHANNA on

    People control people… and for what reason? to satisfy themselves? to feel the sense of power? or because they believe it’s their duty to tell others what is normal? the writer have pointed a very serious issue in the simplest manner possible… Accepting yourself and others in a way one is, is important to be in peace, to be content and this article surely not only helps you in accepting yourself but also provokes you to think… deep… about how necessary it is to accept the other person in the same way we want others to accept us.

    Reply
  12. Neha Khattar on

    Nice one. Actually no one is perfect. But we try to be. We try to achieve perfection all the the time and in the quest lose out the very essence of our being. Let us be more accomodating and accept ourselves and others with the little imperfections which actually make us interesting.

    Reply
  13. Seema on

    This is not just an article rather majority of people in this world try everyday to “be normal” so that they can accommodate themselves in the changing society. I can connect some instances of my life with this. I believe everyone can connect at least an instance of their life. Too deep thought. Too good article. We really need to change our mindset and live the way we want and do let others live the way they want. That will be a real “Normal World”. Lets stop getting turned to ROBOT’s.

    Reply
  14. Pawan Bedwal on

    Beautiful and very well crafted article from Charu. She has not only managed to address the definition of Normality with vivid references and perspectives but also engrossed and compelled the reader to contemplate the abstract idea adressed in it.

    Reply
    • Charu Vashishtha on

      Thanks Pawan,
      Normality is indeed an abstract idea. It differs from place to place, time to time. The idea is to increase the scope of “normal” to include everything and anything , with exception to anything which cause harm (physical, psychological) . If that happens people would not have to exert effort and expend energy to be what they are not.

      Reply
  15. Varsha Belagavi on

    Interesting read and you have come out with great examples to show what society terms as normal and what is not. I think the key is the person to realise who they really are and not wear masks to conform to the society every time to the extent they forget what their real identity is.

    Reply
  16. Sachin Dudeja on

    Nice article indeed!!. Its perfectly normal to be “not” normal. Human kind could go beyond the earth and solar system because Newton could not find it normal to see an apple falling down the tree. Social shackles were always there since the beginning of civilization, and will always remain in one form or another. Only Education can help oneself challenge the norms.
    Bernard Shaw’s once quoted “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man”

    Reply
  17. Divya Kakaan on

    Very thought provoking article and is pertinent to every individual in the society. No matter how much we show our normality to the world, our inner self knows our true identity. Then why to fight with our inner and outer space and depict only one face. If we ask these questions to ourselves frequently, I’m sure we’ll be courageous enough to face the world and become yet another inspiration for some one….perhaps!!

    Reply
    • Charu Vashishtha on

      I agree with you Divya. When we try to be what we are not, we have to go over an inner conflict and fight with ourselves each moment. When our true self emerges, we respect ourselves as well as the others who are true to themselves.

      Reply
  18. Deepak Damodar Sharma on

    Wonderful article Charu Vashishtha on been oneself rather be part of the crowd and be normal. I agree the world would be a better place to live if we don’t adhere to herd mentality and pick what we truly believe in. Thanks for sharing the wonderful article. Keep writing and keep sharing.

    Reply
  19. Natwar Pandey on

    This is really wonderful and inspiring post.

    I loved the topic. The content of this post was extremly good and it was quite clear and moreover i was able to relate it to our society and surroundings.

    This is very excellent stuff and your writing is simply beautiful. Keep it up.

    Reply
  20. Swati Singh on

    It is beautifully written and immensely poignant. Brings us to think how society is busy stereotyping everyone and making a perfectly normal person look odd.
    It is this attitude of judging and jumping to conclusions that has made people intolerant to others. We are so opinionated in our own world that acceptability is gradually sliding away.
    The mental stress to behave normal edges people to the verge of break down yet they cannot speak their minds.
    Humans have always fostered a world where “Normalcy” is boldly defined but the world has only developed when these shackles have been broken by the so called “abnormal” Copernicus of the world!!!!

    Reply
  21. Sonia Chauhan on

    Fantastic article Charu! An article which I can really relate too with experiences in my own life. You have cleverly explained in detail the situations which many still go through living in today’s modern society. The stereotypes of certain roles that still exist today. Some people still do things to please others, to not draw too much attention to themselves or fear of being frowned upon by society or even by their own family! Very good article on what is normal and being different is a good thing and everyone should have the freedom to be who they really are. This was an great and enjoyable read. I look forward to reading more interesting articles.
    Many Thanks Charu!

    Reply
  22. Neeti on

    Being normal..seems a very personal topic to me as there are many things in my daily routine in which I am BEING NORMAL..a small illustration is of attending very close relatives marriage. I am not at all fond of attending traditional weddings , I don’t know the reason for it though. No bad experiences or personal thoughts or emotions attached to this non-fondness as well .. touchwood 😜 .. but just for the sake of BEING NORMAL to society or to my immediate family I have to come out of my comfort zone and sometimes need to pretend as if I am enjoying those moments. But I know myself, I am not actually..well this was just one of many such Being normal taboos for me.. I think we should do things that makes us happy and comfortable and most important YOURSELF; and can avoid doing those in which we need to PRETEND in some or the other way. These things do not come into picture in your daily life.. but yes when you come across such blogs – like the one you wrote above- it makes you to think as how you are linked and how you react in such situations..and why you are doing this.. this can really be avoided and is unnecessary in your life.. Thanks Charu for sharing such article.. very nice thoughts which actually made me think of my individuality .. actually gave me time to think and focus on myself 🤔 Keep writing and sharing.. kudos

    Reply
  23. Priyanka Naval on

    Great article Charu..you have expressed you thoughts beautifully.
    I second your thoughts on this.It always feels good to be yourself rather than trying to be fit into the societal norms.

    Reply
  24. Shelly on

    True that Charu !! Everyone now is in chase of being someone else and trying to fit in as appropriate for the world, but we all are loosing our own self. We all should really speak up and choose the way we like. Then this beautiful world will be more beautiful for us. Nicely explained by you 🙂

    Reply
  25. Sushant Krishnia on

    After reading article, I want to quote John Lennon (who co-founded the Beatles) here: “It’s weird not to be weird”. Weirdness (read speciality if u like) and individuality within every person goes hand in hand. That is what make every person unique. Weirdness or individuality is the source of our character and creative mindset. Our conscience helps us to believe or not, once we starts to accept that every normal thought was once a weird thought in eyes of judgemental people this world will be different. As the article depicts, it’s better if we ignore judgemental people who just want to mould other people to make them suit in their own canvas of themes.

    Charu excellent write-up…seeing comments above shows that all the hard work u have put in writing this article has not gone unnoticed. Highlight for me of this article was the Frank Lloyd Wright’s example in-between. His work was always seen as converting creative ideas (which was often said not normal by judgemental society) of a unique mindset to make this society more beautiful for living. To the people who have never seen his work kindly do some internet surfing on it, it’s worth a time to spend. Always being a big fan of his work Falling Water https://www.fallingwater.org/

    Reply

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