What do we mean by being normal?
Does it mean being acceptable in society?
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.