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Is This Normal?

The pattern of social anxiety is in the question "Is this normal?" and most of the time it is. You've just gotta ask.

The tricky thing about asking "is this normal?" is that it can become permission to be enabled when it comes to bad behavior. So it really depends on what you're asking about.

Is it normal to be obsessed with chocolate? Yeah, sure. Chemical response makes that a thing. Is it normal to eat it all day every day? Not normal to but normal to want to. Not normal to because it's not healthy for us. Normal to want to because it's connective to joy.

Normal, in relation to personality or health doesn't always mean what you think it means. What you mean to ask is "Am I alone in this?" When asking about normalcy you're asking if you have social currency. What you're trying to ask about is your relationship to humanity.

And all we ever want to feel is a sense of relief that someone else can relate to our experience and that there is help if we need it. That this can be triumphed or that there is at least solidarity.

Challenges of the mind can be most difficult because we don't have ready access to other minds. We need to search for and ask if this is something that happens to other people. We need know we're not the only mind going through this because ours is the only thoughts we hear.

I see it in personality typology all the time. I'm an xxxx and I do this or experience this, is this normal? I'm an enneagram 6 and I do this, is this normal?

Common threads on reddit about types and on Twitter are all about "DAE"...does anyone else? Because sometimes "being weird" feels worse than death to our ego.

We assume that because we're so aware of our neurosis and also have challenges in life that anyone who is in a better place than us must not have these neurosis that I'm fixated on. That my faults are in who I am or what I'm dealing with. That I'm broken and can't be fixed.

The challenge with that is realizing that you're not one of 16 types but one of 7+ billion personalities with a range of experiences, energies, and mental capacities. So, while yes, there is a sense of normal in the core of humanity...

There is also ample opportunity to connect in unique ways with other parts of humanity. Connection is often the antidote for the anxiety about the problem, which is often keeping your from trying to solve the problem.

At the end of it, I don't think searching for a sense of normalcy is bad... in relation to your humanity, not social norms. One is about connection, the other about conformity and sacrifice of your individuality. Yes, it's normal to worry. No, don't wear white after labor day.

So whether it's personality, mental health, creativity, sexuality, occupation, or a medical challenge...when we ask "is this normal?", we're really asking "Am I alone in this?" and answer is "No, you're human."

What are you afraid of not being normal?