For my entire life, I thought I was not normal. Not being normal, not fitting in, made me sad. I had a hard time relating to my peers. I wasn’t good in groups. I laughed at what others didn’t laugh at, and it was awkward. I perceived the world in a way that others did not. I was not like other people. I felt alone and longed to fit in.
In my 30’s, I had a brief stint with the cool kids. I was accepted as normal. I was part of a group. We did everything together. At first it was exhilarating. Until it wasn’t. What I realized was that to be part of the group, I need to think, act, and speak exactly how they did. Individuality was not welcome. I watched as they all started to have the same catch phrases, clothes and haircuts. They had to do the same things and were always together. They were lemmings. Identical little robots. To fit in, to be normal, I could no longer be me. As soon as I began to be me again, the group went away. And that was ok with me.
Today, I may not be fully and utterly myself each and every moment. But I am certainly more myself, more not-normal than anything else. I don’t fit anyone else’s mold. I don’t look and act like others. And I am pretty happy. Normal is defined at “conforming to the standard or the common type.” If to be normal is to be made to conform, to be like everyone else, then no thank you. I’d rather be me.
I saw a terrific TED talk the other day by Caroline McHugh. She is in the business of helping people to know, accept and truly be themselves. She believes that we all know who we are and what we are here to express. We see it clearly as children and then begin to see it again in our later years. We see our truth without the fear of what others will think of us and without the restrictions of other’s expectations. We are boldly and unapologetically us. Being oneself frees us from comparison. I am not trying to be someone else so being more than or less than them doesn’t exist. I am not comparing myself to them and their accomplishments. My only goal is to be fully, completely and solely me. As is mentioned in the TED talk, when “we have our own thing, that’s the magic.” We can never excel by imitation. Success, achieving our life purpose is found only by embracing the true self we were each meant to be.
In being our self, we not only remove comparison, but we can accept ourselves completely. I have been listening to an Insight Timer course by John Siddique called Self-Acceptance through Authenticity. In one of the modules, I finally felt a piece of myself integrate making me whole, maybe for the first time. For many years, I have rejected the judging part of myself because I thought it was bad. The Myers-Briggs assessment told me I was a judger. My honest appraisal of myself tells me I am a judger. I felt this was bad. Judging others is bad, right? But it is innate in me, so did that make me innately bad? I have tried for decades to get rid of it, but I can’t. Judging is second nature for me. What finally clicked through this course, is that my ability to see defects and flaws in others is what allows me to be a good coach. I don’t attack people with my judgment it as I did when I was younger. I use this ability to see clearly and deeply into someone helping them to see themselves fully, so they can use the information to become the best person they can be. I can not help from seeing people’s glitches. And that is ok. It does not make me a bad person. It is actually one of the things that makes me, me.
Being normal, adhering to a standard is restriction. We are not meant to conform to a standard. We are not meant to be anyone else. We are not meant to fit a certain mold. We are each unique and different and are here to bring something special to the world. Stop blocking your purpose. Be weird. Be abnormal. Be you. And notice how much happier you are and how the world is better because of it.