Why We Want People To Think That We Are Normal

Many of us, most of us, spend an inordinate amount of time trying to appear normal.

We lie, omit, persuade and cajole, not because of some nefarious ulterior motive but out of sheer terror that the people around us might realise quite how odd we truly are.

It’s not that we’re bad or deceptive, it’s simply that the thoughts which traverse our mind sound absolutely nothing like what the (seemingly) sane humans we meet every day would ever think.

100,000 years ago on the plains of Africa, rejection or isolation by the tribe meant death. We needed to have our thoughts and actions confirmed, reinforced and encouraged by those around us or else we would be exiled to die on our own.

The truth is that much of what exists in the dark recesses of our minds would be too subtle, contrary or alarming to be consumed by society at large. And given the choice between honesty and acceptability, most of us choose the latter.

We live in perpetual fear that the people who know our outer voice, would ever get to hear what is happening inside of our heads.

We worry that they would discover our fears regarding where we should put our hands when we’re standing talking to someone, or the unique way we put our pants on in the morning, or the fact that we sometimes think about poking a child in the eye when we’re talking to them.

But we’re no longer hunter gatherers. We don’t require universal acceptance from those around us. The lions are not at the door.

As my friend George MacGill says…

“Embracing being weird is a superpower… I am astounded by how many people want to be spectacular in life but also want to be cool and normal. By being normal you are, by definition, regressing to the mean. Ordinary people get ordinary results, extraordinary people get extraordinary results.”

So the next time you have a subtle thought, and you’re in a safe environment, have the courage of your convictions to voice it.

And if the recipient turns and looks at you with wide eyed shock, indifferent blankness or a mocking sneer, remember that this doesn’t spell doom for you and your genes, it simply means that you haven’t yet found someone who is quite “your” kind of weird.

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