I believe that we all, at some point in our lives, feel that there’s something ‘wrong’ with the way we are. Perhaps we don’t like the look of our faces, or the way we laugh, or the fact that we don’t spend as much time in the gym as we ought to.
This feeling of being ‘weird’ or ‘not normal’ persists throughout our lives – we may have plastic surgery to change something, but then we may find something else we don’t like. No matter what we may try and do, we continually wish that we would be OK with ourselves, that others would be OK with us, and that everything was perfectly normal.
But why do we feel this way?
Why We Think We Aren’t Normal
Our personalities, thoughts, behaviours, and moods are rooted in how we feel. Whether it’s how we feel about ourselves or about others, we’ll use our emotions and past experiences to determine what our thoughts will be. As such, we don’t think that we are ‘normal’ because we don’t feel normal.
We express the way we feel in a number of ways:
- We want things that aren’t conventional
Instead of wanting the ‘must-have item’ for our birthday, we may be drawn to an old videogame console from the past. Or, we may want to spend our summer holidays in a country that isn’t hot, rather than going to a beach or resort.
We might not want what others want, and so if it’s not viewed as conventional by society’s standards, we may not think it’s normal.
- We have desires which are unique to us
We’ve heard of the saying that we ought to follow our heart, but very few people actually do so. To follow our heart means to listen to those desires within us that are unique, which no-one else possesses.
This is extremely hard to do so, particularly because we aren’t taught to follow our desires – instead, we’re taught to want what everybody else wants. If we don’t, then we aren’t ‘normal’.
- Others may disagree with what we say
Everybody has their own set of opinions. However, many people try to force their opinions and beliefs onto others on a daily basis, believing that others are weird. If someone doesn’t possess a strong will, then they’ll fall prey to this.
Just because someone will disagree with you doesn’t make them right or wrong – opinions differ from person to person and are unique to each individual. But if we believe that our opinion is ‘wrong’, we won’t think it’s normal.
- What we are interested in isn’t in the mainstream
Instead of wanting the latest fashion trends as advertised by countless magazines, or buying whatever product is promoted on TV, we may find that we want something else that isn’t in the mainstream. But if we do so, we may feel left out from the crowd.
Because it seems that everyone buys what’s in the mainstream, we may believe that if we didn’t buy the same, we wouldn’t be the same as everyone else. Even though there’s nothing wrong with what we’re interested in, it can lose its appeal if no-one else is interested in it.
The Line Between Normal And Unique
As we are all individuals, we are all unique in many different ways. We have our own personalities, our own ways of expressing emotion, and our own thought patterns. However, this is barely understood by others.
Society seems to have a problem with accepting people for ‘who they are’. Instead of being allowed to say what we want, in the way that we want to, we are pressurised into doing what others are doing. We aren’t encouraged to be true to ourselves.
Although society has benefited many times from individuals who have expressed their unique talents for the good of others, it seems intent on negating individual differences for the sake of a ‘group mentality’.
Because of this, there is a ‘line’ between what is considered unique and individualistic, and what is considered normal by others. For example, if I was to express my wish to travel to a third-world country, very few people would accept my wishes without reservations. Most would try to either talk me out of fulfilling that wish, or attempt to suggest another option which is ‘more suited’ for me – in other words, something that is more suited to them.
I believe that if we express our ‘uniqueness’ to others, then they may not like what they see. They may think that we’re ‘not normal’, and try to change the situation. Unfortunately, the conditioning of society and others have caused many people to distrust their own individual qualities and desires, and listen to others instead.
How To Accept Your Weirdness
We are all individuals, whether we accept this or not. In order to effectively operate in this world which wishes for us to be normal, we must find a balance between being ‘normal’ and being ‘unique’.
Here are 4 ways with which you can accept your ‘weirdness’ without others labelling you as ‘weird’:
- Listen to others without judging them
It’s very easy to judge others when everybody else is doing it. We’ve become used to competing to get our voices heard, and to fight for our beliefs even if it’s at the expense of someone else.
However, it is entirely possible to have a conversation with someone and not judge them at all. When you next speak with someone and they’re talking, resist temptation to judge them. Just listen to them without letting your own opinions dominate your attention. Hear the words they’re saying, and focus your awareness on them.
The more you do this, the more you’ll realise that we are all individuals with our own voices. It becomes impossible to judge someone purely for being different, because we are all equal in our differences.
- Never assume until you know
Although it’s helpful to ask questions in order to learn, sometimes it isn’t appropriate. If you wish to learn something about someone, you may find that you aren’t able to ask them directly, or that the topic is too sensitive.
If this is the case, then avoid assuming. Assumptions aren’t always right, and wrong assumptions can lead to harmful situations in the future. Don’t assume that you know something or someone unless you have direct knowledge, otherwise you end up in the murky world of ‘rumours’, which is where people are labelled as ‘weird’.
Avoid assuming and wandering out into rumours.
- Discover that which you enjoy for the sake of it
As I mentioned before, discovering and following our heart’s desires is something that is unique to each individual. We all have desires which bring joy to our lives, and yet we are rarely encouraged to follow these desires. Instead, we feel we must be ‘normal’.
If you haven’t discovered something that you wholeheartedly enjoy, then spend some time to find it. It should be something that you enjoy even if you weren’t paid for it – any hobbies outside of work would be a good place to start.
Hobbies are great because they’re accepted by society, and you can find what you love to do. This can help you uncover more joy and passion in your life.
- Respect opinions, but don’t blindly follow them
Although we can listen to someone and not assume anything about them, we must also take care not to blindly follow that person.
There is a difference between showing respect to that person, and showing disrespect to yourself. Whenever I’m in a conversation with someone, I make sure that I listen to them and show them respect by giving them my attention, but I also avoid lowering myself before them. I show respect to myself as well as the other person, by not taking what they say to heart.
People will lie to you, and they will try to promote themselves at your expense – this is considered normal. But the best way to combat this is by not engaging them. Instead of being either submissive or aggressive, be respectful and mindful of what they say. Listen to their opinions, but value your own as well.
We are all equal in our differences, and this is the way to be accepting of people’s individual qualities. By getting to know our unique abilities, we can accept being ‘unique’ and ‘weird’ as normal, and find a measure of peace in our lives.