Written by: Anne Bolender

I was reading an online article recently, one that was posted on the Collective Evolution website. The article was pointing out how we (“we” being society in general) tend to unthinkingly accept some pretty absurd ideals regarding what makes up ‘normal’ in our culture.

The ‘automatically (the article referred to these as ‘absurdly’) accepted as normal’ beliefs pointed out in the article included things like: the way our society value money and the ‘economy’ over clean air, healthy environments, nutritious food. Or how our society prioritizes companies over people, war over social well-being, selfishness over equality. Or how our society blindly believes that a formal education involving memorizing useless bits of information has any long-term value. Or how being normal means accepting that a better life includes working long hours, owning expensive cars, moving into bigger houses, and buying more stuff!!

You know – small things like that.

For me, I have tended not to buy into the list of normal behaviours given in the article. In fact, I haven’t believed in any of these ‘automatically accepted as normal’ ideas for a long time, but the article did get me wondering, ‘What is my personal ‘automatically accepted as normal’ list of beliefs and behaviours?

Now, I haven’t actually led a ‘normal’ life, not by mainstream society’s standards. I spent most of my adult life raising a family, studying then working at a University, and moving around a bit. My personal ‘accepted as normal’ is predominantly a self-defined rather than a socially defined normal, but even then, there are still a number of ‘things’ that I have automatically accepted as my normal!

I am beginning to realize that my personal ‘automatically accepted as normal’ list includes things like:

  1. undervaluing my worth and abilities;
  2. undervaluing my need for freedom and to be creative;
  3. overvaluing my belief that I need a traditional job in order to have financial security;
  4. believing that something or someone ‘out there’ is more responsible for creating my reality than I am;
  5. overvaluing the need for someone’s ‘permission’ to be me!

OK, so the list could go on for a bit (lot) longer, but I think you get the gist.

Now when you look at normal beliefs as being just abstract ideas with no grounding in anything except the belief that the idea is normal; or when you see normal as just being long-held ways of doing things that may no longer even be relevant, then a touch of absurdity starts to creep in to a lot of our beliefs around what is “normal”.

Unfortunately, we seldom stop long enough to ask ourselves why we do the things we do the way we do them – but we should. If we did, maybe our individual ‘normals’ wouldn’t look so absurd and ill-fitting. Maybe our ‘normals’ would reflect more of who we are and not who we thought we should be, or who we were told we should be, or who society wants us to be.

So my questions to you are:

  1. What items would you include on your “automatically accepted as normal” list?
  2. What behaviours do you have or beliefs that you hold onto, even though there is no longer a reason to do so??
  3. How would your life be different if your normal lost its absurdities and became completely awesome!!

“Till next time.