Things that are normal
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People struggle to know what is normal. It seems everyone freaks out if they find they are not normal in some way, and yet no one wants to feel they are normal in every way. After eighteen years of working with people, I thought it might be interesting to list some things that are normal that people often think, or fear, might not be normal.
It is normal to think other people are doing better than you — at work, at church, at school, financially, romantically, sexually, etc.
It is normal to think you are not normal in some critical way.
It is normal to want to blend in.
It is normal to want to stand out.
It is normal to go to therapy scared to death you will find out you are crazy.
It is normal to find out in therapy that you are far from crazy.
It is normal to resist change. Unhealthy. But perfectly normal.
It is normal to fear death.
It is normal to want to be affirmed and appreciated.
It is normal to dismiss the affirmation and appreciation we so crave.
It is normal to want to be loved.
It is normal to fear the deep connection love brings and requires.
It is normal to want to push problems out of your mind. Not healthy, but normal.
It is normal to doubt. This is true no matter what religion you are, and even if you are an atheist. Everyone doubts sometimes.
It is normal to think no one else could possibly understand what you are going through. Almost never the case, but normal.
It is normal to struggle to believe in yourself. If this is still an extreme struggle for you by middle age, get help.
It is normal to run from your fears. If you decide right now to always run towards them instead, you will soon be braver and mentally healthier than the vast majority of people.
It is normal to demand your freedom, and it is normal to need to be told what to do. It is truly extraordinary to learn how to balance the two.
It is normal to think about God and to have feelings and opinions about it in some way or another.
It is normal to feel jealous when others do better than you. Not healthy, but normal.
It is normal to pray — a huge majority of people in America do it every day.
It is normal to want to lash out at people who hurt you or your family. Usually counter-productive, but perfectly normal.
It is normal to avoid getting help — financially, physically, emotionally, etc.
It is normal to have seasons in your marriage where you wonder if getting married was the right thing to do.
It is normal to fear what you don’t understand, although it is not healthy to let this imprison you.
It is normal to think other people are to blame for your problems. Nearly everyone thinks that.
It is normal to demand love from people but then make it difficult for them to love you. That is human brokenness and complexity.
It is normal to experience your guilt as coming from other people, or from institutions or people in authority. Normal, but guilt comes only from within you.
It is normal to have sex with your partner once a week.
It is normal to have sex with your partner twice a week.
It is normal to have sex with your partner three-five times a week.
It is normal to have sex with your partner six times a week or more.
It is normal to have sex when, and how, and as often as you work out with your partner to have it. Period.
It is normal to avoid going to the doctor. Run towards your fear and go.
It is normal to fear getting older.
It is normal to avoid writing a will. Write one before the month is out.
It is normal to be able to write down your top 10 flaws in twenty seconds.
It is normal to struggle to articulate what makes you awesome. Do that within ten minutes of finishing this post.
It is normal to think your current struggles are severely threatening to your well-being. They probably aren’t.
I hope you get the picture. Human behavior is complex sometimes, simple other times. There is a huge range of variability in what is normal and the point really isn’t whether something is normal, it is whether something is healthy, whether it helps you open up and enlarge yourself as a person, or whether it closes you down to life and experience and makes you smaller.
Any questions about whether certain things are normal?