Posted by : Shruti Bhat Kamath
On : 13 October 2014
Comments : 0
Views : 2745
Am I normal if I am a boy and I have long hair? Am I normal if I have to file for a divorce against my husband? Am I normal if I flunk at Metric but shine at Lawn Tennis? Am I normal if I climb mountains, click pictures, do farming, cook and travel for a living? Am I normal if I turn clay into pots for my livelihood holding a masters degree in commerce? Am I normal if I am a homosexual? Am I normal if I speak without using words?
We all interact or hear or know of people who are probably doing one of these. Is your mind tempted to categorize them and answer these questions? Or is your mind confused to answer yes or no point blank? Let your mind do the analysis and just observe what it calculates and says.
In the meanwhile knock at your heart’s door to ask another set of questions.
The questions remain the same as above with a slight tweak in them. Replace the word ‘normal’ by ‘happy’. Now observe what your heart answers in feelings and again observe what your mind continues to mumble in the background.
The question is do we want to be ‘normal’ more than we want to be ‘happy’?
Can we be ‘somewhat normal’ without compromising our happiness? If your mind allows you to say a slight yes to this question, then read further on. There is a lot you can discover within yourself.
Let me give your mind some logical reasoning for now-
Medically, what is the physiology involved in the mental state of happiness?
When we are happy the following chemicals are released,
1) Endorphins - I call them the ones that ‘End the orphan feeling within’ and keep us happy. The scientific full form is “Endogenous Morphins” ie “Inbuilt Painkillers”. They are released on a real or fake contraction of our facial muscles contract when smiling or laughing or eating.
2) Serotonin - This neurotransmitter secreted by our intestinal cell lining is released to regulate a lot of physiological activities in the body like gastro intestinal digestion and others along with regulation of mood. It helps keep sadness and depression at bay.
3) Dopamine - is a neurotransmitter that helps sustain attention, motivation and decision making.
If this is not logical enough for your analytical mind let us take the heroes of all ages.
The very talented Neil Patrick Harris, one of the lead characters of ‘How I met your mother’ is a homosexual and is also a proud receiver of The Emmy. Thomas Edison, the genius who introduced the world to the light bulb could not complete his formal education because he was expelled out of school for being a slow learner. Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, did not complete his graduation. Tom Cruise has been ridiculed in school as a dyslexic. The famous ‘dwarf character’ of Hollywood including Game of Thrones, Peter Dinklage is clearly not normal having had Achondroplasia (dwarfism). This is a glimpse into some of our so called ‘abnormal’ people who either are tagged as homosexuals or school drop outs or dyslexics or dwarfs but stand out distinctly for their brilliance and contribution to our so called ‘normal’ society in their respective fields. So now, your mind wants say, but they are famous figures. Exactly! Yes, they are famous. Tom Cruise was bullied while he was in school as he was dyslexic- abnormal. And today he is Tom Cruise! Is that not enough a sentence to revisit our definition of normalcy?
Is Normalcy equal to being Happy? Are we making the term Normalcy a deterrent to Happiness? Are we trying to be Normal at the cost of our Happiness?
So clearly, as scientifically stated above, our body is gifted with inbuilt mechanisms to keep us healthy and happy. There are various ways to keep these mechanisms intact so as to stay happy intrinsically independent of our outside environment.
The last six words of the previous sentence are the most vital. Our body has all the amenities to a happy healthy mind-body. It also has all the ammunition to fight against things that are detrimental to a happy healthy life physically and emotionally. Then what keeps us away from enjoying this blissful journey?
To stay ‘intrinsically’ happy in ANY environment is the most difficult practical problem most of us face.
This is where our status/ image in society comes to light. We are so conditioned and bound to our society’s structure that we FEAR to think out of the box to stay happy because we find the need to be ‘normal’ and conform with society.
‘Normalcy’ is defined by no one else but you and me. Yes, it includes you and me because we are all part of a ‘society’. A society that has been there always, to define the rules, set the boundaries, to tell us what is ‘normal’ and what is ‘abnormal’.
So, if you and I change the definition of normal, will it make a difference to society? Honestly, I really don’t know the answer to that question. But yes, if ‘we’ as a society are ready to transform, then it will make a big difference to our future generations. If we are not ready to change, we will continue to tag such happiness seekers as ‘rebels’.
I come from a school of learning that believes that the mind and body are correlated. So, factors that affect the mind show its effects on the body and vice versa. That is exactly why mental health and happiness play such a prime role from the holistic sense of well being.
Today, one in four women and one in eight men are suffering from depression. Half the world is either on sedatives or anti-depressants or sleep inducers. Do we want to compromise our happiness to this ‘uncertain’, ‘ever changing’ and ‘unreliable’ term society?
Or are we brave enough to allow those endorphins to flow beamingly through our circulatory system to ‘End that Orphan feeling within and without’ by accepting each of ourselves as differently as we are?
Are we ready to explore our inner self and just be the way we are, ‘crazy’, ‘colourful’, ‘insane’, ‘beautiful’ or ‘bold’ without tagging ourselves or others based on some irrational conditions?
Are we ready to gift ourselves with an ongoing hobby, whatever it is?
Are we ready to allow our children to take up unconventional professions like photography/music/ dance/ cinematography/ fashion designing/ sound engineering?
Are we ready to accept and love the child who lives in a world of her own and talks her own language?
Are we ready to make career transitions towards a balance of happiness/ passion and finance?
Are we ready to take a leap into our own happiness and make this world a better place by simply accepting ourselves and others?
Do we want to remain “Socially Normal” or do we choose to be “Independently Happy”?
Related: Say No to Stress