On Trying To Be Normal And Understood

Trying to be normal as a way to be understood is a self-defeating. People who learn about you, will only learn about this pretend version of you.
On Trying To Be Normal And Understood

Is being normal really a path to being understood?

A young man just wrote to me, and I get this type of question a lot so I’d like to address it here, he wrote, “I’ve been trying to be normal most of my life, I would love to meet you and talk with people that understand me.” Totally understandable. 

What I’m hearing here is a desire for connection with people. To feel accepted and not like the weird one or the odd one out. And yet, this goal of trying to be normal as a way to find acceptance, in my experience (and I’ve done exactly this for so much of my life), is a self defeating strategy. 

If what you want is to meet people that understand you, but you’re pretending to be someone that you’re not, then no one who you ever encounter is going to really understand you. They’re going to think that they understand this false version of you, this pretend version. 

If what you want is to meet people that understand you, but you’re pretending to be someone that you’re not, then no one who you ever encounter is going to really understand you.

So if you’re trying to be normal, and yet you’re looking for real, authentic connection with another person who understands who you are, how you work, how you think, what you like, what you dislike, how you see the world, all those things that come with friendships or other types of relationships with any kind of true connection: It’s not going to be possible. 

This idea of “normal” is so overrated. I know why normal is so appealing. Normal feels safe, normal feels like “I’m not going to be the one left out”, “I’m not going to be the outsider, the one who’s laughed at”, but even if you are a part of the group, even if you pretend to be normal for long enough and well enough that people don’t leave you out: you’re still not going to feel that acceptance if you’re pretending to be someone that you’re not, because they don’t really know you. They know the version that you’re acting, the mask, this false identity that you’ve created. 

Anyway, I could go on about all sorts of other spin offs, but I’ll just leave it there for now. I hope you have a neurowonderful day.

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Heather Cook

Heather Cook

Hi, I’m Heather. I’m an Autistic writer, advocate, and life coach, and I'm building a life I love. I help other Autistics to build their own autism-positive life. I love reading, jigsaw puzzles, just about every -ology, and Star Trek!

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