First of all, how do you define normal? It may be different to my version and who’s to say which version is correct? What is normal for one person may not seem normal to another and there’s nothing wrong with it. I quite like the idea that there are many versions of normal.
That aside, I have noticed over the last eight years as a counsellor that there are certain things most of us have in common.
We worry too much
Most people that I have encountered worry unnecessarily about “what ifs” and let themselves worry over things that will probably never happen. Even if they did happen, most people underestimate their ability to cope and they overestimate the magnitude of the problem. This is very common. All this worrying does is take any happiness out of the present moment. I recommend to these clients to stop living in the imagined future. Yes, have goals but don’t spend unnecessary mental energy on hypothetical worries.
2. We are filled with self doubt at times
I have never met a client who has said they have enough self confidence. If I did, I might assume they were narcissistic. It’s normal to feel self doubt at times. We all do our best to act confident but the reality is that most of us struggle with insecurity and fear.
3. We feel misunderstood and separate from others
We can all feel like misfits at times – out of the loop so to speak. What’s worse is that we then assume that we are the only ones that ever feel as if we are on the outside looking in. Yet, this is a very common experience that most people go through.
4. There is always more to achieve
The targets for achievement are constantly moving. I have asked clients who seem to have ‘made it’ financially if they ever feel they can rest and they tell me that the more money you accumulate, the more they worry about losing it. It seems we never get to a place where we feel at peace and happy with our lot in the pursuit of material worldly goods and status. A sad state of affairs!
5. We live fearfully
Instead of being brave and just doing things in life, we spend far too much time focusing on what could go wrong and what others might think of us. Far too many of us worry about what others will think even though it isn’t their life to lead. When we resist the urge to fit in and please others, we end up far more content by being true to ourselves.
6. We compare ourselves to others
This is one of the biggest wastes of our energy – comparing our lives to other people’s. It very rarely serves a positive purpose and inevitably leads us to feeling inferior and deprived. When you learn to accept that we have our lives to lead and that we can make our own rules instead of trying to live as everyone else does, we can feel freer to the life we were meant to. A life with purpose.
7. We all have ‘ups and downs’
Life is like a rollercoaster – there are no exceptions. We all have good days and bad days and that’s just a part of life, so learn to accept the good and the bad. It just isn’t possible to be happy all of the time. When you accept this and stop resisting it, life will get better.
8. Intrusive thoughts
Mad thoughts pop into my head all the time, like laughing suddenly in a lift full of people or doing something inappropriate during a very formal ceremony of some kind. I never act on it but the thoughts arrive regularly – this is completely normal. So the next time you notice an intrusive weird thought, just ignore it – they will keep coming!
We are quite similar in many ways and we’re all subject to many of the same stressors – queues, taxes, rejection, uncertainty etc…when we accept out reactions as acceptable and use the words “should” and “must” less, we can learn to be more self sufficient and filled with greater amounts of self belief.