Friday, October 4, 2019

Road Lesson Five: Know Thyself

From a talk I gave to Mental Health Con, Sept 28, Estherville, Iowa ...

Now, I’ve been preaching Know Thyself for years, but the road has really validated me, here. I could spend days talking about this, but I just want to cover a few points real quick. Basically, you and I – the people at this conference – we fall into a class of people I describe as outliers. In essence, we tend to feel that we don’t belong on this planet. As I like to joke, we’re peanut butter people stuck in a tofu world governed by Vulcans.

So who are we? Basically, we tend to have a lot of the following going on:

    • Introverted – built for self-reflection and deep thinking.
    • Highly sensitive – equipped with different radar, reacting to things seemingly not there.
    • Idealists – a classification on the Myers-Briggs, mystics and dreamers and visionaries born to march to a different drummer.
    • Intuitive-creatives – finding associations not apparent to others.
    • Intuitive-psychics – peering into a different reality.
    • Empathic – possessing that rare quality to walk in the shoes of total strangers.

Talk about not fitting in. Plus we need to consider all the other stuff we have going on with us. Not just the label or two or three your psychiatrist gave you, but all kinds of stuff that flies under the diagnostic radar – a little bit of this, a little bit of that. A little bit of anxiety, a little bit of ADD, a little bit of borderline, and so on. Plus all manner of personality traits and personal preferences and tendencies and quirks: Exuberant, pessimistic, dog-lover, cat-lover, not to mention normal.

God! Who wants to be normal? Normal – yuck!

And this is the point: We need to seek our own normal, our true normal, not someone else’s version of normal. Not your learned doctor’s or therapist’s version of normal, not your well-meaning brother’s or sister’s version of normal, not your dear Aunt Tilly’s version of normal, not Oprah Winfrey’s version of normal.

Your normal, no one else’s - I cannot emphasize this enough. The normal you arrive at must be your own, not someone else’s. Otherwise, you will always be far from home, a stranger in a strange land, forever wondering why the hell you don’t belong.

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