By Jessica Darling Wilkerson, LMFT
I’ve heard people say, “I just want to feel normal!”
What is “Normal” anyway?
Normal is different for everyone. It’s either the way you usually feel, except for right now – or – it’s the way you perceive everyone around you is feeling, and it’s different from how you’re feeling.
Let’s look at this:
How you usually feel could be optimistic, peaceful, exuberant, or any number of positive traits, but lately you’ve been feeling otherwise. You’re not sure how to get back to your “old self,” or if you even can. Either way, you don’t like the change that has taken place in your life and you’re longing for positive change.
The other option is that you’ve always felt like you’re kind of an Eeyore (or Tigger or Piglet, etc.) and you so deeply want to shed that aspect about yourself. You believe that the people in this world without that Eeyore quality are normal and you’re flawed. You want to change.
There are a few choices here.
- You can see that the world isn’t so black and white. This could be a really wonderful version of you and you can learn to accept it and make peace with the new you. You can learn to accept that your Eeyore, Tigger, or Piglet qualities are there to stay and dig deep to find the beautiful qualities of those archetypes.
- You can list all the things you do well and that are positive about you and work on sculpting those so these positive things that already exist can shine even brighter. You might be especially bouncy like Tigger, but you’re also very creative and fabulous at brainstorming – so you join a mind-bank and help others come up with solutions.
You can do both ideas listed above at the same time:
You can see that there are just things about who you are that you might not like; but are harmless, and you can accept them. You’re loud and your boundless energy can be felt from across the room. The way people always notice you makes you feel uncomfortable or weird. No matter how much you try to temper that energy or noise you always accidently realize that at some point your volume increased on it’s own. Okay. That’s doable. That’s not something that hurts other people’s feelings unless you’re gossiping or criticizing someone at that volume. You might just need to accept that instead of striving to “be normal” like everyone else, this is YOUR NORMAL – and that’s okay.
Once you’ve identified your “new normals” and you want to work toward accepting them it’s important to start highlighting the areas you already love about yourself and work on cultivating them more deeply. Do you have a heart to try new things – even if your life has been so busy you don’t get to try new things that often – now you’re going to focus on this inquisitive and brave heart of yours. You sign up for dance lessons or skydiving, or you go on a spontaneous road trip.
Then, when you’re in the action of doing the existing character trait really be present with it, soak it in. Go over it afterward either mentally with yourself or by talking about it with someone else. Reinforce this really neat thing about who you are. As you do this, the things that are your “new normal” will become more and more palatable, and eventually will just be part of the colorful tapestry that is you.
No longer will you be wishing to “go back to normal” or wishing that you “were normal like everyone else.” From then on, you’ll see that your normal is a pretty great thing that brings a lot of joy to your life and to your heart.
Jessica Darling Wilkerson is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Northern California. Her licensed number is LMFT104464.
Jessica is not only a therapist who sees clients during the business day, but she’s also the clinical supervisor to mentor the pre-licensed therapists and the owner of Inspired Life Counseling. Jessica Wilkerson understands a person’s drive to heal and grow; to live a joy-filled life rather than merely mitigating pain. Her psychotherapeutic philosophy is to help her client simultaneously heal from past pain while they grow their current selves toward confidence and “go-get-em-ness.”
Jessica works with clients from all over California using her HIPAA compliant telehealth platform called Simple Practice. She also sees clients in-person in her offices in Chico and Redding, CA.
If you’d like to set an appointment with Jessica, follow the button below to her bio. Here, you can access her appointment request form.