Why There is No Such Thing as Normal

Have you ever felt like you didn’t measure up, didn’t quite “cut the grade”? Perhaps you felt not good enough, or inadequate, or worthless? Maybe you had the sense you just didn’t have it as all together as you would like, or like you dropped your bundle? The idea of normality is fairly new in human history. It is also very powerful. It provides you with the criteria check lists by which to measure and compare yourself to others, and your success in life. Normality can sometimes work for you and sometimes, against you. Ideas about what is normal can isolate people and groups of people, and give power to those who live their lives within this idea of “normality”.
It also leads to you picking up invitations to feel like a failure. Guilt gets a big part to play as well when you feel you should be, act, think, a certain way. These ideas can also be used to diminish people on the basis of cultural or spiritual practices, sexuality and physical and mental health and ability, including diabetes.

The idea of normality can be interesting to consider in the light of living with something like diabetes. What is a “normal diabetic” and do they exist?  How do you judge yourself and the way you manage and sometimes don’t manage your diabetes?

The word normal actually comes from the Latin or French word for the carpenter’s square, or normal angle! So we may ask what has that got to do with us? It was only in the 19th century that the word “normal” began to be used to in relation to people and their actions, rather than just to angles.

In recent times the idea of what is normal is applied to just about anything! We are judged on our height, weight, clothes, body shape, child rearing, house and garden, time taken to deal with or adjust to something like diabetes, and even our emotions.

There are many places, such as popular media for example, where ideas are created which are tempting for us to measure ourselves against. Just pick up any women’s magazine; home renovation mag,  or watch all the advertisements on tv.

The idea of what is normal is also constantly changing – we have developed so many ways of measuring our “normality” and we then equate this to what we are worth – it means we are worthwhile or worthless – depending on how we are doing against all of these lists.

Why There is No Such Thing as NormalFor example- this may be one person’s list by which they measure themselves and their success in life

1. Finished school (oh and went to the right school)

2.Got a good job and/or went to uni

3. Got married

4. Had kids

5. Built a house and paid it off

6. Got the latest car and updated it every few years

7. Have lots of family holidays

8. Have an HbA1c of 6 % all the time and no diabetes complications

8. Have a tidy house and well behaved children who are getting A’s in school

9. Kept my figure and regularly go to the gym

Having a list like this can lead to feeling not good enough and even being a failure if you are not ticking off the list – you can be overwhelmed and it can be a downward spiral.

Have a think about what lists and ideas you have about what is “normal”, and how you measure up, that may actually lead you to feeling bad about yourself and falling into the trap of “failure”.

There is NO normal – we are all beautiful and all unique. Letting go of expectations that are unhelpful in your life, can help you to feel better about yourself and your life, increase your wellbeing and happiness, and allow you to fully experience all that life has to offer. Stop comparing yourself to someone else’s idea of “normal” and go your own beautiful way

Do you ever feel like you are supposed to live up to expectations of normal?