Friday, July 10, 2009

Are You Normal?

From an article titled "Ever Wonder How Normal You Are?" by Father Lou Guntzelman:
"Analyst Dr. Lawrence Jaffe notes that "Patient after patient speaks to me of the frustration in not being able to be 'normal.' What a relief to realize that normality is a statistical concept with no empirical validity ... There is no such thing as being normal. But what a long road it is that leads finally to that realization."
Normality is an abstraction derived from the study of statistics. It doesn't exist in reality.
Science may say the average or "normal" stone in a certain riverbed is 4 inches long and 2 inches wide.
Yet, a search may never find a stone exactly that size in the stream (what a relief to the rest of the stones!)
Stones don't try to conform themselves to some desirable proportion. But humans do. We forget we are unprecedented.
Isaac Singer writes, "Every human character occurs only once in the whole history of human beings."

How often do we compare ourselves to our perceived view of what's "normal" and come up lacking?
I have to admit that I really struggle with this sometimes. I'm not a person with many overt talents that are easy to spot, nor do I have many of the mainstream hobbies or interests of many other women. I look at my body shape every day and moan about the fact that I'm shaped the way I am. I can find a million reasons every day to be down on myself and think that I'm just not "normal" or good enough. But when I turn to God and ask for His help in seeing myself the way He sees me, I start to recognize that some of those less obvious talents are still worthwhile talents, and that some of the interests I have may not be "fun" but they've been beneficial to my family and have been enjoyable for me. I get glimpses of what I can be if I could just let go of what I imagine I should be. I'd love to be able to tell you that I'm totally confident in who I am and that I'm happy being anything but "normal" but the truth is that I often find myself fighting against a flood of feelings of loneliness and discouragement because I don't measure up to what I see all around me.
Isn't it about time we accept who we are and embrace the uniqueness of what makes us anything but "normal"? Each of us has special talents, abilities, characteristics, experiences and flaws that, when put together as a whole, creates a wonderful human being! We don't have to fit into a cookie-cutter mold of what a "normal" or "perfect" person should be (as if they really existed anyways!)
Let's start each day by waking up and realizing that we are the person we are meant to be. If there are improvements we want or need to make to ourselves, let's be realistic and be content with the progress we make, even if it's not by leaps and bounds.
It's time to stop comparing ourselves to others and take an honest inventory of all the good that God has placed within us. God wouldn't be happy to see us comparing our worst with someone else's best, nor would He want us to conform to someone else's way of being just because it's the "cool" or popular thing to do. He wants us to be happy where we are and with who we are. After all, we are His- and God doesn't make junk.


Mama D said...

Awesome perspective. Thanks for the reminder. I need it right now! In my book, your personal "normal" is pretty fantastic!

Mama D said...

Wonderful post, Patty.

I am going to link to it on a forum I help administer for members who struggle to fit in.

Papa D said...

Obviously, that last comment was from Papa. *sheepish grin*

Alison Moore Smith said...

Nice post, Patty.

Stephen said...

great post.

Chad Swanson said...

thanks, patty

Papa D said...

Patty, someone quoted from this post on a group blog with which I'm involved, and I wanted to share my comment there with you:

"I understand the need for organizational conformity with regard to certain things, but I absolutely LOVE the concept that nobody is "normal" - and that part of fulfilling the measure of MY own, individual creation is finding where I have a "blessed abnormality" and magnifying it.

I really believe each and every one of us can accomplish **something** unique in this life - and I believe part of why we are alive is to find and accomplish that unique aspect of our own individual creation.

Harvard explains its objective as working to admit and create "well-lopsided" students - meaning students who can follow any non-technical discussion about any topic but who understand one topic deeply. It is a recognition educationally of this concept - that everyone is unique in some way, and part of being truly educated is finding and magnifying one's uniqueness. I believe in the spiritual manifestation of that concept as much as I believe in the educational effort."

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Nice dispatch and this mail helped me alot in my college assignement. Thank you seeking your information.

Anonymous said...

Genial dispatch and this enter helped me alot in my college assignement. Thank you seeking your information.

Anonymous said...

Well I to but I think the list inform should have more info then it has.

generic cialis said...

Hi, well be sensible, well-all described