“But…it’s probably just me being difficult…as usual.” She casually said after an hour-long tearful rant about all the horrors she was enduring with her more than narcissistic and egotistical boss.
“But you know…it’s okay; I’m used to it now. It is what it is.” he said after the umptieth gut-wrenching description of the latest developments of the reorganization at the bank he worked at.
Hearing stories like these, and combining them with the latest developments on the political front (which I follow with maniacal and masochistic obsessiveness by the way) I’ve begun doubting myself on that what I consider to be ‘normal’. I’ve realised that the ‘normalization’ of things that really aren’t very cool or humane is apparently a ‘thing’ we do. Just like my friends above did in their respective situations. And just like I’ve done many times over in the past…
Because if the definition of normal is that what the majority sees as the standard…and if that standard is to be constantly undervalued and/or undermined by your manager, to be made redundant without so much of a warning, to have people you date ghost you (in other words, ignore you until you get the message), or to have the (future) most powerful man on the planet say it’s okay to grab women by the punani…then all I know for sure that ‘normalization’ is NOT the way to go.
Yet, where my doubt comes from is the simple fact that this abominable and abrasive behavior is apparently acceptable. Most businesses run on it, many relationships/dates end that way, and millions of people obviously voted for Donald Trump.
So given that, am I simply crazy?
Or is it the rest of the world that’s crazy?
But…to get back to the tricky situations my friends in the opening statements; what do you do when you find yourself being utterly and deeply unhappy in a situation that everybody else finds ‘normal’?
What to do if everyone around you is admiring the emperor’s new clothes even though his ol’ one eye is very visibly flopping about while he’s strutting through the streets?
Us human beings are social creatures. From the very first start of our existence we’ve needed to rely on other people, our parents, our tribes, our nations, to support us for the most basic of human things: survival. And it is this deeply ingrained survival instinct that causes us to want to normalize everything (someone more cynical than me might call this peer pressure, conformity, or herd behavior). Because when we let things be ‘normal’, there’s no need for conflict or friction, we will still be accepted by everybody else, and life can continue on to be harmonious and peaceful.
Or so we think…
Because how harmonious and peaceful is it to feel unhappy on a constant basis? Or to not feel valued or be made less than who you are? Or to consistently feel so stressed out that it feels like your brain is being squeezed with barbed wire?
Nope. Not very peaceful indeed.
So then what? Be the only one to shout out that the sight of the emperor’s chubby belly and sagging butt cheeks revolts you?
Because that could get you in trouble! Not only would you be in for some serious confrontation but you might also lose your job/your partner/your friends/whatever you’re putting at risk by acknowledging the truth.
It’s this risk that’s preventing us from shouting out. It’s that fear of no longer feeling accepted by the majority. It’s our fear of losing that thing that gives us that (false?) sense of security that’s keeping us stuck. And it’s our inability and hesitation in letting go of that what is still important to us (even though it’s no good to us) that’s preventing us from moving forward to greener pastures and happier times. Because what if you can’t find a new job? And what if you can’t get that business off the ground? What if you’ll never find another big love ever again?
But what if…you stay in that situation you despise so much? What if you look back at your life in 20 years and regret not having had the (lady)balls to make the decision that was obviously the best one for you?
All the risks that you fear. The plenty of unknown factors that seem so out of your reach. And all the reasons, or excuses if you will, that are preventing you from living your own truth. Living your own LIFE. Let’s manage these risks. And, let’s minimize them too. Meaning that when you’re ready to make the decision and no longer accept the unacceptable, that big black hole you now envision is really not all that big and black! Trust me, I’ve literally written the book on it 🙂
But…you’ll need to first stop with the normalization of the abnormal yourself. You’ll need to first be able to tell yourself it is BULLSHIT to live/work/love this way. Then, and only then, will you be able to step away from the situation that is so unhealthy and move forward to building a life that DOES make sense.
And your life.
Are you ready to stop accepting the unacceptable in your life?