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In a meeting I attended recently, I was challenged on my belief that being exceedingly aggressive and accusatory was not normal. That term ‘normal’ didn’t come up, but it was assumed, at least by me.

‘Normal’ can mean the norm, as in the centre of a bell curve. It can also mean the gold standard – that which we see as the best of something or some person.

When I assumed ‘normal’ in that meeting, I think I was assuming both: that excessive aggressiveness and accusations aren’t experienced very much among those I choose to work and live with, and that my vision of the ‘gold standard’ individual is not someone who is unbalanced, physically or verbally aggressive, and flings accusations at others. Even as I write this, I am assuming that the aggressive and accusatory person is unbalanced. I’m also assuming that ‘normal’ includes socially acceptable.

My assumptions come, in part, from my own context – how I was raised, the culture I grew up in, what I found acceptable then and what I deliberately chose to change, who among my friends and teachers influenced me in their way of being.

For these reasons and more, my assumptions on what is ‘normal’ are biased, but not necessarily closed. If I see that what I base my judgments on are partly formed from my own biases, then I am able to see that what others do and say are based on their own, possibly different ones.

It doesn’t mean I have to agree with them, but it would help if I – and they – were able to hear them out.

Rethinking normal

Quote of the Week

I didn’t want normal until I didn’t have it anymore.”
– Maggie Stiefvater, Lament: The Faerie Queen’s Deception


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