Mental Health & Wellbeing

Yes, You Are Normal. Sharing How You Feel Can Be Healing

Read Time:4 Minute, 47 Second

Am I the only one going through this?

For many, what this question really means is: Please tell me I’m normal! Tell me I’m not going crazy! Tell me other people feel like this! Having the sense that you are not alone in your thoughts and experiences gives rise to feeling less isolated. Normalising how you feel and what you have been through is validating.

There exists a simple need to feel normal, whatever that means! I know this seems contradictory to creating our unique selves and being amazing at being just who we are. It’s also very normal to want to be normal, especially when tough experiences challenge our sense of what feeling normal means.

While the concept of normal is so arbitrary, there is such power in hearing “Oh, me too!”. Sharing feelings of embarrassment, anxiety, anger or jealousy with others who have felt many of these feelings in very similar experiences validates all of what you feel.

Feeling validated reinforces how remaining true to yourself and accepting difficult feelings are not only healthy but needed.  This like-mindedness tells us it’s ok to feel all of our feelings, even the yucky bits.

Over and over, we begin again

Banana Yoshimoto

While it does help to know that our feelings are valid, why is normalising difficult experiences, feelings or thoughts so important?

You’re Normal. Just Not THAT Special. Phew!

It turns out, while time is spent journeying towards one’s own unique and wonderful self, there remains a need to be a little mainstream because that feels safe. 

For some, to feel alone in their experiences and feelings can be confronting and a scary place to be.  It’s comforting to know you aren’t so special after all.

Your experiences are absolutely your own, and your thoughts and feelings around these experiences are yours.  Just know that other people have also experienced something that looks and feels a little like yours. And when you have support around this, it can help to feel a little less isolated.

Reflect on a challenging personal moment recently for you. Reflect on the significance of this experience. Recall those feelings that popped up and lingered around for a bit too long. What were these feelings? Helplessness? Anger? Perhaps powerlessness or embarrassment?

Those feelings can be powerful in keeping you stationary and risk sinking you further into not so great headspace. Suddenly you are waist deep and bogged down in feeling yuck.  But knowing you are not alone in your experiences and feelings can be incredibly validating.

Why does normalising these personal moments help navigate a path to healing and moving forward?

You Can Feel Whatever You Need To Feel

A lot of emotional energy can be spent talking yourself out of the way you feel. Thinking things like, “I don’t really have the right to be angry”, “I feel stupid for getting jealous”, or “I shouldn’t feel upset; when are people worse off than me.”

These thoughts further the idea that your feelings are not valid, and more than that, you begin to believe that you don’t have a right to feel them.

The confronting reality is that there is someone in a worse position than you. This doesn’t mean what you feel isn’t valid or shouldn’t be felt either. Often the struggle is about not permitting yourself to feel. It’s the “everyone else can do that, but not me” kind of thinking.

The feeling of being unworthy creeps in, and somehow it is justified that experiencing feelings is not deserved—especially unpleasant or negative emotions.

The second reality is that it is very normal, very human, to experience a range of emotions, even the uncomfortable ones. To ignore, stuff these emotions down, to push these away, is to say that only pleasant or uplifting feelings are the ones you should feel.

Is it time to reframe your belief and know that you have permission to experience a whole gamut of thoughts and emotions, whatever these are for you?

Feeling Normal Helps To Heal

The process and journey to healing are personal and mean different things to everyone. Whatever this journey means for you to move forward, feeling supported can help.

You can permit yourself to stop questioning and rationalising your reactions and accept these as valid, healthy moments of growth. Without internal distractions, you are better able to focus on healing.

When you are not second-guessing yourself, the fight with yourself is over. The loop of stationary thinking can be broken. When you have embraced feelings and experiences, there is a sense of taking back some control you may have lost in all of this.

The knowledge that others have been through something similar can be helpful. Others have survived and thrived. They are whole again and knowing that you WILL be ok can play a positive part in your healing journey.

Perhaps this journey starts with the simple act of saying, “I’m ok”.

Lighten The Load And Share Your Stuff

Just as your healing journey is a personal one, so too are your choices in seeking support. Be savvy with who you are open to and gain support from. Choose a person who can hold space for you to share and perhaps be a little vulnerable.

Let go of the feeling that you are not normal, the idea that you are not worthy. Let go of the belief that you are alone in all of this.

Whatever stage you are at in your healing, know that you are not alone and that sharing even a small part of your story can help you heal.

How can sharing help you feel less alone and assist you in your journey to healing?

Photos by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

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