Hope your Thursday is going well. Today, we're talking alllll about accepting yourself for who you are. Exciting topic, right? And also a rather difficult one, at times.
Did you know that Merriam-Webster defines "normal" as: "conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern."
Did you catch that word? Conforming?
Let me back up here a bit. Growing up, I think we all go through a moment when we hear "the mean kid" tell us or talk about someone as "weird" or "not normal". Those comments definitely hurt, don't they?
Now, if you take those comments (let's say it's: "Landri isn't normal"), and change normal to conforming, so the sentence reads, "Landri isn't conforming" – that makes it a lot better, doesn't it?
Because none of us really want to conform. We all have our individual wants, needs, hopes, and dreams that set us apart somehow. They build up who we are, but if someone seems "different", "weird", or not-conforming to another's definition, then it can seem like not being normal is a bad thing.
The Bad Part of Being Different
I got you with that header, didn't I? Mission accomplished!
In reality, the "bad part" of being different is encountering people that don't understand or don't accept that being non-conforming is a wonderful thing. This is hard for many reasons, but in particular, it can really affect how our ability to accept ourselves.
Without self-acceptance, our psychological well-being can suffer – introducing us to unnecessary stress and anxiety. Isn't it funny how the way we see ourselves is so affected by how others see us? If we were able to separate others' views of who we are and focus more on how we see ourselves, we could save ourselves a lot of harm.
Self-acceptance can be developed in several ways. Let's go over a few, shall we?
- Self-regulation: This involves keeping track of any negative emotions that come forward in various situations, such as self-deprecation, responses to criticism, or insecurity. How do you combat this? Shift your perspective to focus on the positive things you love about yourself, see criticism as a way to grow, and compliment yourself on an aspect of your being that brings you joy.
- Self-awareness: You may not even realize that you're experiencing a lack of self-acceptance until your pot is boiling over. Not to bring everything to the surface, but if you can do check-ins with yourself from time to time to make sure you're okay with how things are going, it's a great way to see which areas of your life could use a little more attention. May I suggest journaling for this method?
- Self-transcendence: Big word meaning "rely less on things outside of yourself to define you." In other words, focus less on what/who the world is saying you should do and be, and worry more about who you want to be. It's more natural to be true to yourself, so you'll find yourself "fitting in" with the flow of the world eventually. If you've always suppressed a need to garden, per se, because you've been told it's weird, and you start to lean into the hobby, one day, you may find yourself among a community of gardeners that accepts you as you've never experienced before.
The goal of accepting yourself as who you are is exacting that: loving yourself first. It's lovely to be accepted by others, too, but the more you come to appreciate every level of who you are and what you're meant to do, the easier it will be to find people who do the same. True friends are those that accept you no matter what. If some people can't do that, then that's a journey they need to go on separate from yours.
We don't need to conform to society to be in it. In fact, it's better to stick out. When have you ever learned about someone in history class that lived according to the norm of the world?
Be yourself. Redefine normal.
Here's a note from our Spotlight artist, Kara Branstrom:
To me, the quote is about embracing not being “normal”. It was something my mom would always say to me when I was upset at being called weird, “why would you want to be normal; normal is boring!”