The desire to feel normal, what a totally overrated concept. At least in my humble opinion it is. Isn’t that we strive for all too often in life though? We want to feel normal, we want to look, feel, and act like others who appear normal.
This way of thinking is a double edged sword for survivors, for a couple reasons. First, because for us what feels normal has not been healthy. We’ve known so much hurt, pain, and trauma in our lives that the normal feeling is less than desirable. I can most definitely relate to this and I’m betting that if you are reading this you might be able to relate as well.
When you experienced childhood sexual abuse, what feels normal to you is fear, anxiety, helplessness, and no self-esteem. Is that really any way to live? Of course not, but it’s what we know what we perceive as feeling normal.
What if we were the victim of Narcissistic abuse? Those same feelings are manifested and enhanced because we’ve spent so many years being belittled, invalidated, and made to think that everything bad that happens to us or that happened to our families is our fault. Fear, anxiety, helplessness, no self-esteem…yep it’s all present yet again.
The same goes for being bullied, or the victim of domestic abuse. Insert any type of trauma you want here and those negative, helpless feelings just grow and fester and take over our lives. Our normal is not a good normal, it’s a stressful, traumatic normal but it’s all we knew.
The other way that wanting to feel normal can be unhealthy, is trying to make ourselves into something we are not.
We see how television, magazines and the internet do everything possible to promote the ideal body, ideal personality, ideal electronics to have, ideal careers, you name it! If you don’t have those things then you need to get them or change yourself to achieve the ideal whatever.
It’s so easy to get sucked in to the thinking that if we aren’t like John Q. Rockstar or Jane Hollywood Actress, then we simply have no chance to be as happy as they are portrayed as being.
Even if we take it down a notch to everyday people in our own cities and towns, it’s the same type of thing. Everybody is chasing the latest fad, buying the latest new gadget, new car, new outfit, and trying out the latest diet. Hurry up and change this, change that, fix this about yourself.
It’s so unbelievably frustrating and just unrealistic. Why do I have to look a certain way or act a certain way? Why do I have to listen to your latest top 40 hit song? Does it really matter if I don’t have a brand new car, or the latest smart phone accessory?
What if my hair isn’t perfect, my shoes didn’t cost me $200.00, I don’t have the ideal job, or a gigantic bank account? Am I any less of a person?
I’ve never been one to conform to society and I never will. I’d rather just be me, flaws and all. Oh sure I have things about myself I want to improve, but I want to do those things for me, not because somebody else thinks I should.
I have too many issues just trying to survive the day, get through the latest anxiety attack, and trying to keep the negative thoughts about my life in check, to worry about how I should feel according to someone else.
My days are spent encouraging others, helping others, writing about my life, being a parent, and working toward doing what I realize I have been called to do. Those are things that matter, things that can make someone’s day better. Those are things that mean something in life and truly can make a lasting difference.
So be yourself, be you, focus on just doing the best that you can every single day. Be kind to yourself, love yourself, be kind to others and encourage them. Show your fellow survivor how much they are loved and show the world what the real normal should be like.
Let’s make our own normal the best it can be and just be happy about it. Because what society tries to tell us about how we should be and what our past has made us feel like, is no way to live.