To be normal is the ideal aim of the unsuccessful.
- Carl Gustav Jung
I recently realized how loaded the word normal is? It essentially means acceptable to society. But normal is subjective and colored by prejudice, lack of knowledge and the mores of the place and times we live in. Perfect example is how interracial relationships were illegal (miscegenation) several decades. It wasn’t normal aka acceptable to see two people of different races in love and legally married.
I believe we should move away from the term normal and replace it with typical. Typical means general traits. If I say “she isn’t typical” it doesn’t carry the same negative connotation as “she isn’t normal”. It allows us to remember what is defined as normal is extrinsic. Normal is amorphous. Normal is in constant flux and change. It is all a matter of language. We should embrace language that describes ourselves in a positive manner and never use any phrases or words that are harmful to our sense of self.
The word normal works when you are describing non-living beings or routines i.e. a toaster or the train schedule. The toaster normally works well or the bus normally runs in twenty-minute intervals.
You should describe yourself, other people (living beings) and behaviors as healthy or unhealthy. The best word/phrase combination to use as a descriptor is typically healthy or typically unhealthy. You want to move from a state of being and behaving that is typically unhealthy to one that is typically healthy. I try to generally exist as a typically healthy person psychologically, emotionally and physically. How I think and live has to reflect this. I am in constant development, improvement, self-reflection and analysis. That is the cycle I have embraced.
Remember sticks and stones break bones but words will always emotionally hurt me. Words matter. Choose the ones that will define you wisely.
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