The word normal can trigger all kinds of meanings and what can come to mind are the judgements that are made around people. How someone looks, dresses or behaves is often part of this judgement.
However, this article is not going to be about what is classed as normal or abnormal about people. What this will be looking at is what is normal on a personal level. This is the behaviours, thoughts, feelings and perceptions that one has become accustomed to and the behaviours that one is used to from other people.
Although these are two different description of normal, they are both the consequence of what is familiar. Socially what is classes as normal, is the result of what has been around for a while. What is normal can be functional and acceptable and it can be dysfunctional and unacceptable. It may also fall in the middle of the spectrum and be neutral.
In recent years tattoos have become fairly normal in society. Many years ago they would have provoked a strong reaction and for some people they still do. But due to their popularity they have become familiar. And so they are generally classed as normal now and don’t stand out as much.
The above example is fairly neutral, as no one is being harmed through them. Unless ones interpretations are leading to harm being created within one’s mind.
I tried to think of another example, but this was the one that came to mind. Politicians have become synonymous with lies and deceit. They are masters at telling people what they want to hear or in avoiding answering certain questions.
However, as a society we have become used to this kind of behaviour. So even though it is not acceptable or functional it is now normal. And as a result of this, it often goes unnoticed.
Two Sides Of Normal
So on one side there is the societal aspects that numerous people can relate to and then on the other side there is what’s classed as normal in one’s life. Now, these two can be connected and are not necessarily separate.
What is the same is the fact that the ego mind functions on what is familiar. And what is registered as familiar is what one has been exposed to the most. As a result of this, it then becomes associated as what is safe and here one will feel comfortable.
Now, we have what is called normal. And as anything can become familiar and therefore safe and comfortable; it shows how this process can become disempowering, dysfunctional and even life threatening.
Once something has become normal, the ego mind will run on auto pilot. This means that one will no longer have to question or think about what is now associated as being normal
So if something is leading to one feeling disempowered, frustrated and angry and being compromised, abused or being taken advantage of for example; it won’t matter. Consciously it is creating pain and suffering, but to the ego mind it is simply what is familiar.
On an individual level one may be experiencing challenges to do with: abuse, acting in ways that are destructive, participating in harmful addictions, dysfunctional relationships and many other occurrences.
Certain patterns of behaviour and thinking are dysfunctional, but unless they are challenged, they won’t change. To the observer they may look dysfunctional and wonder why someone is acting in these ways.
And even though the onlooker may have relationships that are not abusive or routinely engage in harmful addictions like the person they are observing - the same process is at work. Their ego mind has created associations of familiarity around what is functional and the other person has not.
One person is not necessarily any luckier or more fortunate than the other; it is often what their ego mind has come to associate as what is familiar and therefore normal.
The patterns of thinking and behaviour in one’s life are going to be different for everyone. And yet there are often primary challenges that people have. These can be accepted as how life is and that there is no other way of being.
And the reason why they feel this way is generally because they mirror the childhood environment that one had. Thousands and thousands of experiences formed what would later be classed as familiar and normal as an adult
The ego mind is then programmed to accept certain behaviours and environments that support this behaviour. This is the reason why people who are abused or taken advantage of during childhood create the same scenarios as an adult.
It maybe dysfunctional, destructive, disempowering and have the potential to lead to extreme pain and suffering. And yet to the ego mind, it has been programmed as normal.
At One Point
There may have also been a time when what was classed as normal had benefits, but then through time has become the opposite. However, the mind has not caught up with this and continues to hold onto the past associations.
The disharmony that can exist between the conscious and unconscious mind can create tremendous conflict and pain. And due to the ego mind running on auto pilot, unless conscious changes are made it will always be this way.
Here one is nothing but a robot, doing the same thing and expecting something different to happen. The mind can become a prison and this is why it is essential to allow new stimulus to enter the mind.
Letting go of the past is an important part of this, as is allowing new information and experiences in. reading books that empower and expand the mind can assist with this process, so can being around people who are examples of how one wants to be.
Therapy and coaching can also make a massive difference to ones growth. There are many options out there and what matters is one chooses what works for them.
Oliver JR Cooper
Author, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.