HOW DO WE DEFINE ‘NORMAL’?

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Almost everybody spends some part of their lives wondering if they’re normal or not. When it comes to evaluating our own behaviour, we usually decide to act based on our perception of what is normal to society.

To many, ‘normal’ is just a word. However, what seems normal to some could be completely odd to others. Everyone’s weird in their own way; we’re all unique and have a powerful energy that is at its highest at some point in our lives. It’s how we’re made.

Each and every one of us comes from different backgrounds, different upbringings and different families. If a person doesn’t agree with something that we like, it doesn’t mean in any way that there’s something wrong with us. Everyone’s entitled to their opinions and tastes.

The idea of ‘normal’ is largely shaped by social standards, and can cause profound ramifications. Society tends to put an emphasis on avoiding individualism and in turn focuses on being like other people, which can cause peer pressure. Normality tends to be seen as a good desirable act by society, and it constantly checks on people by indirectly asking, ‘Do you have the latest clothes, hairstyle or gadgets?’ or ‘Do you share the majority’s views on this or that?’

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If the answer is yes, then society will accept you with open arms as being normal, and if you don’t comply with these ever-changing prerequisites, then you’re considered to be an outcast or labelled as weird, and there’s a chance of this leading to exclusion, stigmatisation and discrimination. These can cause a lot of suffering, mainly to those who are prone to or diagnosed with mental disorders. In order to reduce stigma, a recent move has been made towards the adoption of person-centred language. Therefore, instead of referring to people as mentally ill individuals, it is more humane to say individuals with mental illness. This encourages the notion that people cannot be defined simply by their quirks or flaws.

The definition of ‘normal’ varies from one person to another. Most of us are judged by our culture, our age, the place where we live, and lately by divorce, having tattoos or being homosexual. Up until a few decades ago, it was unthinkable to defy certain established cultural norms. However, what was abnormal then is now acceptable to many.

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Ideally, what should be normal is the endeavour to accept that everyone is different and the strife to love oneself for who one is. The world would be quite a boring place if we all had to be the same. I embrace the uniqueness that I have, and I also try to embrace the uniqueness in others, especially those who are considered ‘odd’ by society.

 

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