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Does “normal” keep us from acceptance?

Does “normal” keep us from acceptance? post image

Okay, I’m going to cut right to the chase. Here’s a list of things I don’t like about myself…

  • A receded hairline
  • Arms that will only get so big no matter how much I workout
  • Being over-sensitive
  • Being long-waisted (at least it’s been 25 years since I’ve been “long-wasted”)
  • Occasional mood quirks
  • Being anxious

Did you ever wonder what it would be like to be deaf or blind? I sure have, and I’m very grateful I’m neither. But as I write that, I wonder what someone who’s deaf or blind would have to say about it? I mean, I’m saying I’m grateful I’m not something they are – as if what they are is something atrocious. Sounds rather judgmental, if you ask me.

At any rate, not only have I wondered what it would be like to be deaf or blind, I’ve wondered if ever having hearing or sight makes a difference. What I mean is, if one was born deaf or blind, therefore never experiencing hearing or sight, would that equate to not lamenting over not being able to hear or see? I mean, how could one be upset about not having something, if one never knew the reported joy of that something?

So maybe being deaf or blind is only a horrible circumstance if one used to be able to hear or see. Maybe not. But the fact of the matter is being deaf or blind is flat-out reality, and barring some miracle that reality isn’t likely to change.

Does the word “normal” hold any relevance or meaning for us? What exactly is “normal” anyway? And does the fact that we once knew ourselves (or at least thought we did) as “normal” make it all the more difficult to accept our anxiety, depression, mania, or whatever’s giving us a rough time? I suspect it does.

That said, what if we were never “normal,” living as long as we have smack-dab in the middle of our pathology – never knowing any better (or worse)? Look, we are who we are. Yes, striving to improve and make the best of one’s circumstances is a good and necessary thing. But ultimately there comes a time when we have to accept life as it’s been delivered to us. And, okay, I’ll say it – “and stop whining about it.”

Facts…

  • My hairline will stay receded, short of a plug-job or brownish-grey spray paint (both of which aren’t going to happen)
  • My arms will remain only nicely shaped, not huge
  • I’ll always be sensitive
  • I’ll always be long-waisted
  • I’ll always be a bit moody
  • I’ll always be anxious

But isn’t there at least a measure of peace – “normalcy” –  in acceptance?

Your thoughts are always valuable to all chipur readers and clients. Won’t you share in a comment(s)?

  • Soooooooooo, are you saying we quit trying to deal with some of the underlying stuff—–I think this may be hitting on some of the stuff discussed before- about how I am just tired………..and how we can’t change those around us? I mean, what is normal for you may not be normal for me. (i’m a master/mistress of stating the ovbious)but where do you draw the line between acceptance and just being resigned to your fate and hence a victim?????? I accept there are things i can’t change (like a receding hairline, and I can’t change the people around me) but i want a bright line distinction here. :) and some lightening bolts for added emphasis. :)

    • Soooooooo – I think the key words in your comment, Karen, are “resigned” and “victim.” No doubt, acceptance is a biggie with regard to the manifestations of our genetic wiring and our, say, family of origin environment. But I believe we still strive to make ourselves the best we can be within the true resources we have to change. Believing we’re resigned or a victim is only going to make us feel so much worse about ourselves. Like most of us, you want that bright line of distinction (either/or, black/white). Unfortunately, it doesn’t exist. It’s just something we come to know as we live our lives within the context of insight and openness day in and day out.

  • i get you. i just want the bright line/lightening bolt/ability to trust your gut that people without anxiety/major family of origin/past relationship/depression have. insteading of 2d guessing yourself constantly because those little voices still telll you it’s your fault/problem/doesn’t exist/didn’t happen. and those around you that you can’t weed out (co workers, family, etc) that want your old dysfunctinal acceptance back. that’s what i meant about having to accept won’t change. does that make sense?

    • It makes tons of sense. Why not try keeping a list of what those “little voices” are saying? Whether you jot them down as they occur or catch up a couple times a day, keep a running list for a week or so. Keep checking it and, of course, you’ll find a real pattern – statements that occur most frequently. And it’s those to which you can give priority in terms of providing empirical proof they’re false. And you can do that on your own or by asking folks who truly know you. By the way, that’s a classic cognitive therapy technique. Karen, I can tell by what you write that you “get it.” It’s just a matter of refining what you “get” and having it work for you. You know, you’re so like the vast majority of “us” – very bright – and that high level of cognition and creativity, as cool as it is, so often works against us. So as you peruse your list, sure you have to work above the neck to change patterns of thought, but you also have to go below the neck to work with feelings. As always, it’s that fine mix between thought and feeling that makes us our best. Again, you offer us so much.

  • feelings? besides denial????? :) it’s way scary……….

    • And that’s why we’re the ones dealing with all this, not some mushy whimps!