I have wondered about this question- “What is normal?” now that I’ve experienced what isn’t normal. Let me explain using two examples. First example has to do with being in an unhealthy relationship. Because I didn’t know what it looked like to be treated with respect and adoring love, I thought it was normal to fight, cry often, question, feel insecure, have trust issues, etc. I thought “love should hurt” and that it takes lots of work if it’s worth fighting for. The problem was that in hindsight, our relationship was not worth fighting for!! Namely since meeting Daniel and discovering what a normal, healthy relationship feels like. Never do I question how much Daniel loves and respects me. He doesn’t try to make me feel jealous and worked with me to trust again after being hurt previously. Our arguments now lead to productive solutions and respect for one another’s perspectives. Most of all, not only do I know Daniel loves me; I feel his love. This is normal! Another example has to do with how I am treated by a supervisor. In some of my previous jobs, I had bosses who did not leverage my strengths, ask for my input, support or encourage me, and in general, did not lead by example. Although knowing this type of approach was not promoting my or the team’s growth, I wasn’t sure what was normal to experience in a work setting. In my new per diem role, although I am not in an office, I have noticed the difference with how my supervisor treats me. He invites my thoughts and feedback, lets me lead, gives me constructive and positive feedback, believes in me, and so on. As I tell others how happy and valued I feel, they laugh and tell me, “That is normal!” Isn’t it unfortunate, but promising that after we experience abnormality in situations and with people, that we experience the joys of normality?!
Do you have an example of an experience that you went through only to discover it was abnormal when you realized what is normal?