Being Normal

Did you ever hear the phrase “people who are often bored tend to be the most boring people”?
What’s one thing that everybody desires, but detests at the same time? Being “normal.”

Normal means you’re acceptable.
Normal also means you’re boring.

Hm…

FITTING IN FEELS GOOD

There’s no doubt that life is easier when you’re accepted by those around you. Fitting in with any group is not only comfortable, but rewarding: It reminds you that you’re cool enough that people actually want to be in your presence. Not only that, but when people accept you, they trust you. That trust could lead to perks and access to advantages that you would’ve never had if you were some abhorrent outcast.
Psychologically, we have an inborn need to be accepted. (https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/we-are-what-we-make/201411/i-want-be-wanted) Rejection hurts- literally! Our brains actually treat rejection as a sort of pain, and so we go out of our way to avoid the feeling. Social and emotional pain don’t leave any scars we can see, and we only tend to reflect them within quirks in our personality.
So as a result we try to act normal, try to fit in, even if it goes against our personal beliefs, and in some cases… even if kills us. But what is normal? What are the social guidelines that dictate what you can and can’t do?

THE NORMAL COMMANDMENTS

– Boys wear blue. Girls wear pink.
– If you do poorly in school, you are dumb.
– You must ridicule the gays.
– You must show favor to your own race.
– You mush worship the god that everyone else worships.
– You must have sex by 18.
– Men wear pants. Women wear dresses.
– You must make money the way your parents have.
– You must watch the same TV and music as those of your culture.

And let ye be stricken with weirdness if ye defy these tenants! Curse ye with exclusivism for deviating from the standards set by… By who? Does our understanding of what is “normal” come from the people around us? If so where did THEY get the idea from? Their elders? If so, how far back do we trace our standards for what is acceptable and what is not? Culture is only a part of the molding; media trends also shape our perception of what to eat, what to drink, what music to listen to and what beauty is supposed to look like, among other things. But when you break away from the normal, is life really so bad?

FITTING IN FEELS BAD

What happens when you succeed? You’re normal, and no one would question otherwise. Your life consists of going to school, coming home, doing a hobby, and talking about what other people are doing.

Think about who gets all the media attention: The people who are NOT doing what they’re expected to be doing. The guy who makes a jetpack in his basement, the lady with a pet panda, the celebrity who accidentally acted like a normal human being. Love him or hate him, even American President, Donald Trump benefits from the attention that comes from being unusual. Everybody wants attention, but attention comes from being a standout individual.
In an absurd twist of fate, the most standout people are often the most ridiculed. The people who forgo learning how to play the social “game” in favor of whatever unique fascination they have usually get criticized and made fun of. We actively dissuade the very things that give us something to talk about – uniqueness and creativity – if they aren’t presented in a way that is socially acceptable.

If you’re so regular that you often find yourself with nothing interesting to do but watch and talk about other people, maybe you should consider taking a second look at some of what the weird side of you has to offer.

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