Dear Creative: Stop Beating Yourself Up for Being “Normal”

Dear Creative,

If you’re anything like me, nothing has ever sounded as dull as simply “being normal”. Having a normal job and doing normal things like normal people. It turns you off because, deep down, you know you were made for more than that. You have a purpose, and “normalcy” is your enemy—or is it?

being-normal

I just want to take a minute to say something that should be pretty obvious, but for some reason isn’t: People are not normal. People are complex, vibrant, mysterious, and deep—sometimes even beyond their own realization. You are one of those people. But unique people like you and I sometimes end up doing “normal things”—and we beat ourselves up for it.

What is Normal?

I don’t believe “normal” applies to people. How can it, when we live in a world of such diversity? People look different, act different—but most importantly, we think differently. And as a creative person, you’re nodding your head right now, because yes, you have unique ideas and goals you want to accomplish. So where does this idea of “normal” come from? What is “normal”?

Things. Things are normal. Our society has standards that many of us adhere to: having jobs, making money, paying bills—those sorts of things. And the truth? We need these things. Without them, and without people willing to do them, society would collapse.

So Why are You Beating Yourself Up?

I know why, my creative friend. I know, because it’s something I’ve done. As a teenager, I decided I would never just “be normal”. I wouldn’t pick up a normal job; instead, I would work hard and fight my way to the top of an entrepreneurial ladder, doing what I wanted to do and nothing else. And then I would be successful without ever having fallen into the “average trap”.

Well, guess what? Five years later as an adult, I work at a health-food store. I work five days a week, and when I first started, I beat myself up, because I felt like I’d sacrificed my uniqueness and creativity to become another worker bee in the hive of normalcy. I’d fallen into the trap of placing my identity in what I did—something normal, rather than who I was—someone with unique perspectives, goals, and abilities that I can still develop.

If you’re in that boat, my creative friend, it’s time to get out. Stop beating yourself up. You only lose what diversity you allow yourself to, so hold onto your ideas and beliefs. Don’t conform to the mindset that says “you are what you do”. You do not have to feel guilty for living a “normal” life, because you are not a normal person. Your creativity and individuality are not devalued because you work a day job.

Why “Normal” Things are Actually Good

Believe it or not, these things we consider to be so commonplace can actually be very healthy. As a creative, it’s good for you to get out into the world, because if you don’t, your creativity will suffer. And sometimes getting out into the world means doing normal things. There are several reason why it’s actually good:

  • It allows you to gain life experience. When you do normal things, you experience life in a way similar to most people, allowing you to relate to and identify with them better. Your experience and credibility increase.
  • It allows you to explore new ideas. Ideas are everywhere; it just takes skill to find them. Training yourself to see grand ideas in normal places is great for honing your creativity.
  • It allows you to gain confidence as an individual. Once you’ve agreed to stop beating yourself up, and realize that you are not what you do, it’s amazing what level of confidence you can gain by separating your identity from a mere label.
  • It allows you to interact with and learn about other perspectives. This is the true diversity of humanity; the deepest, most real sort of our individuality. Perspective. After all, people are not “normal”, and interacting with different thoughts and perspectives can do wonders to sharpen and challenge your creativity.

Some Encouragement

So, my dear creative friend, I want to assure you that you are unique. You do have purpose. You do have creativity, and you do not have to lose that by doing normal things. Yes, sometimes it may be difficult. Sometimes you may not have time to work on that project you’re pursuing. Sometimes you may have to fight to hold onto the wonder, but it will always be there in you, because it is a part of who you are.

So stop beating yourself up for “being normal”, and instead, choose to embrace the truth about your identity and allow your creativity to flourish.

Let’s chat!

  • Have you struggled with feeling “too normal”, like you’ve given up a piece of your creativity to follow the standard?
  • How have you personally been intentional about cultivating your creativity against a “normal” backdrop?
  • How have seemingly normal things impacted and helped nurture your creativity?

Hey! If you enjoyed this post, please leave a comment and share it with a friend, or reply on Facebook or Twitter. I’d love to hear from you!

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8 thoughts on “Dear Creative: Stop Beating Yourself Up for Being “Normal”

    • I’m glad this post encouraged you, Caroline–and I completely understand being in that boat as an older teenager. It’s a tricky life stage, and it’s hard not to feel bad when you find yourself doing normal things. But you’re a smart, creative, all-around great person (and I can say, because I know you). You’ll do fantastic at college, and life. And you’ll never be “normal”. 😉

  1. One of my best friends in college liked to say this: “Nobody is normal. Everyone’s a little weird. And if you ARE normal, then you’re boring.” I always got a chuckle out of that, because it’s SO true. We’re all different and unique, and we need to embrace our individuality instead of smothering it. Thank you for reminding your readers of this today. 🙂

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed this post, Sara. I love what your friend said about everyone being a little weird. That’s so true–and it’s great!

  2. This was amazing, thank you! I’m looking for a job right now and I felt like I had to get one at a bookstore or a coffee shop to “defy normalcy.” Thank you so much for this!!

    • Hey, Sarah! I’m so glad this helped you! (: I totally understand the feeling. I put off getting a job for the longest time because it was “too normal”. But it’s not a negative thing at all.