As a millennial life coach I hear this phrase more often than I’ve witnessed millennials ordering smashed avocado on sourdough at an artisan coffee shop (well almost)…
‘Why can’t I just be normal?’
In order to answer this common question, we have to break it down. What exactly is ‘normal’ and why do you want to be normal anyway?
‘Normal’ for you could be graduating University, getting a steady 9-5, being in a stable relationship and then buying a nice house in the suburbs. Or ‘normal’ for you could be travelling the globe, volunteering with an NGO, not knowing which country you’ll be in next and not feeling the urge to make roots anywhere. Both of these lifestyles are perfectly normal for the people that live them, so why do we have an image of normality and where do we get it from?
As a millennial who grew up in England, I can only speak from my own perspective, so from that viewpoint, this image of ‘normality’ is mostly an ideal we create from messages we receive (conscious and subconscious) from people such as family, friends and society who tell us what we should be doing and what is acceptable.
But even more prevalent for us – the media, social media in particular. It’s common knowledge that platforms such as Facebook and Instagram were designed to be addictive, with infinite scroll to keep you on there as long as possible and yet it’s still always a surprise how one second you’re looking at your friends birthday pictures and an hour later you find yourself looking at pictures of pugs dressed up in birthday outfits celebrating their own birthdays! I digress…If we were to look at Instagram and use the current popular pages to define ‘normal’, we would all be striving to obtain a certain kind of body, which for the most part appears very cosmetically enhanced and in actuality is as far away from a ‘normal’ human body as could be.
Both Instagram and our perception of ‘normality’ changes at such pace, the same way in which fashion changes according to the season, or the menu at restaurants change according to the season (even MacDs). These images of success and happiness that we supposedly should be striving towards are constantly evolving. How can we possibly keep up?
Remember when a normal social activity was going to hang out with friends at a house party, talk, maybe play twister if you were lucky…now people go to house parties to hang out with friends, but literally sit next to each other and only communicate via their phones. Which one is normal? The answer is both, normality is subjective and we need to be mindful that we are the creators of normality. If we are depending on friends, lovers, family, school teachers, government, celebrities, social media or any external influence to dictate what is normal for us we will constantly be striving
to obtain an unreachable state. Striving to reach something that doesn’t even exist.
Our version of normal should be meaningful to us and it doesn’t matter what anyone else’s thoughts are because
guess what it’s your life and only you are living it.
Miguel has this great song called ‘What’s normal anyway’ where he talks about exactly that, what is normal and who gets to decide. Like all of us he’s been through adversity, particularly in his childhood struggling with some identity issues involving his mixed heritage, sexuality, religion and societies ideals in relation to those areas. Essentially, he speaks about how society puts you into a box and dictates what normal is and that’s how you should be…he rejects this idea and I strongly agree with him.
For those that follow a certain religion, money may be the perceived route to all evil, but if there were ‘millennial commandments’ comparison culture could arguably be the route certainly to internal destruction at least. We decide what is normal, we decide what is right for us, we decide on a route through life and we dictate our own path. There is not one route to happiness or success, there are many and you are the only author of your story – so do not let anyone else write it.
Part of my own experience involved overcoming grief and societies ideals on a plethora of levels and I found that much of the time people try to put you in a box because it makes them feel more comfortable, but if I adhered to their version of who I should be and what I should be doing then I wouldn’t be living my truth. I personally found NLP and coaching transformational in helping me move past limiting beliefs, heal and really aid in defining my own individual route to happiness.
I feel if everyone else is normal, why on earth would you want to be? You are special and one of a kind, we all have our own USP, we are all experts at being us and that is our power. I have this saying “Nobody does it like you and I am here to help you learn to love your authentic self, accept who you are and all the perfect imperfections that come with the magic that is you!’. Sometimes to accept or acknowledge this magic you have to put in a lot of work, but essentially what better investment is there than investing in yourself? As millennials we have so much pressure coming at us from so many different angles and we just need to give ourselves a break, release ourselves from this pressure and stop comparing and worrying about what others are doing because their journey is different to ours. Focus on yourself, create your own path and remember normality is subjective!
#perfectlyimperfect #whatsnormalanyway #embracethemagicthatisyou #normailtyissubjective