I know from the outside it looks like l have my act together. I have learned how to take care of myself so that I feel physically well most of the time. I am able to be there for my family and they are there for me. I have a few really close friends that I can be myself with. I am excited by my work. It’s meaningful and something I feel passionate about. I have the freedom to decide when I work and when I rest. My husband and I are completely debt free and living comfortably. And whenever the shit hits the fan, as it’s bound to do from time to time, I have pretty good tools to help me cope.
But this harmonious phase of life was preceded by quite a bit of discord. My act didn’t used to be together at all.
Just five or six years ago, I wasn’t in a good place at all. Even though I had achieved career “success”, even though I had a family and friends, I was totally miserable. I was chronically stressed out, exhausted, and constantly teeter-tottering on the brink of complete burnout. I secretly hated my “good” job and the rest of my life didn’t make me jump for joy either. I just couldn’t keep up with the frenetic pace of it all.
And I felt totally and completely stuck. Like there was nothing I could do about any of it. I had a giant mortgage and a family to support, so quitting the job didn’t seem like an option. And it’s not like I would have known what else to do anyway. I didn’t even understand why I was having such a hard time and why I couldn’t just get on board with “normal” life just like “everyone else”.
In hindsight, I now understand that the word “normal” had a whole lot to do with why I was stuck for so long.
You see, I was twisting myself this way and that to fit into the “normal” mainstream life template. I was trying to enjoy “normal” activities. And keep up with the “normal” pace of life.
Be just like all the other “normal” people.
This was “normal” life after all and I needed to figure out a way to enjoy it. No matter how miserable and exhausted it all made me.
But everything finally changed when I stumbled upon the fact that I was a highly sensitive person and I discovered my Myers Briggs personality type. It all started to make sense. Why I was struggling and what I needed to feel better.
And when I reflected on all this, I realized that the goal of my life’s journey did not need to be “normalcy”. The goal of my life’s journey should be my personal growth and my wellness and my happiness.
And my personal growth and wellness and happiness don’t have to look normal. At all.
Because some of us just weren’t born to do “normal”.
I was chasing after a “normal” defined by other people. I was a highly sensitive introvert trying to copy the “normal” of the less sensitive extrovert majority. And that “normal” had nothing to do with my happiness.
What I needed to do was create my own “normal”.
My stress levels plummeted almost overnight when I finally realized that I didn’t have to pass the “normal” test in order to qualify as a human being living on this earth.
That I didn’t have to participate in X number of “normal” activities per week in order to “qualify” as mentally healthy. That I didn’t have to go to parties or get excited about the Super Bowl.
That I could stop trying to be “normal”.
That I could stop trying to fit in.
That I didn’t have to prove anything to anyone.
That I could stop pretending to be someone I wasn’t.
That I could stop asking my highly sensitive body to tolerate as much as a “normal” person’s body.
That I could spend more time resting in solitude than most “normal” people.
That I didn’t have to like the “normal” things.
That I didn’t have to enjoy a “normal” life.
That I didn’t have to find happiness in the same places, the same ways, as most “normal” people.
That I could stop twisting myelf to fit the “normal” life template.
And that instead, I could start twisting the life template to fit me!
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