Mental Wellness Optimal Health Spiritual Wellness

Social Norms: Being Authentic

Who decided that girls wear pink and boys wear blue? Who came up with the idea that we must have ham and potato salad on Easter Sunday? Who decided that one must get married to someone of the opposite sex, start a family, and have the house with a white picket fence. Who actually decided what was normal and socially acceptable?

Much of society teaches that their beliefs are right and any other belief outside of that is wrong. Do you fit into the mold of what society has decided is the “norm?” It would seem an impossible task given the fact that there are so many different beliefs about what actually is normal and acceptable.

What happens when you don’t fit the mold of what others think is normal?

Will everything I do in my life reflect the values of others? Must everything I do line up with the “social norms?” Must everything I do line up with what a particular religion says is right or what a political party dictates is right or wrong? Must everything I do line up with what my family believes is right or wrong?

Personally I think it would be a pretty boring world if we were all the same. Yet there seems to be a strong effort on the part of many to accomplish just that. It is quite disturbing to me to constantly hear politicians and religious leaders trying to force their views of what is “normal” onto everyone.

Growing up gay, I never felt like I fit into the “social norm.” It was a bit isolating. I did not go to my high school prom because it would have been unacceptable to take someone of the same gender with me. I also did not play sports even though society said that the guys play sports and the girls are cheerleaders. What if I wanted to be the cheerleader?

I was taught that being gay was a sin and that I would go to this place called hell and burn forever. Burn forever for being my true unique, authentic self? Didn’t make sense to me but I still tried to conform.

I have been called many names in my lifetime because I did not fit into what others considered to be normal and acceptable. I have been called weird, sissy, sinner, and names I care not to mention.

I have come to learn that I do not need to understand how and why some people choose to express life in a different way than I express life. My normal may not be someone else’s normal. Again, who says what’s normal? I get to choose what is normal for me based on my internal guidance and my intention to be my true authentic, unique, beautiful self.

I have found it important to be authentic. To be completely myself even when it does not conform to the social norm as defined by much of society including friends, family, religious organizations, and politicians. It took me a while to get to this point. I always felt a need to try to fit into what was considered the norm and what was acceptable.

Now I fully understand that it is important for my views to be about peace and full self-expression for all. I respect and embrace the diversity all around me. No one says we all have to agree but I do believe we all have a responsibility to  love. Even those who do not fit into our “normal.”

I want my life to be filled with love and acceptance for all. Just like the snowflakes, we are each our own individual expression of the creator. No two alike.

Are you living a life of authenticity or are you living your life based solely on what others consider to be the social norm? Live the life you love. Be the true you because no one else can.

Share your story with me. I look forward to your feedback. I give thanks for the true expression of who each of you are and am grateful that you’ve chosen to read my thoughts. I hope you’ll be inspired to enter your email address on my website at vinceshifflett.com to follow my weekly writing.

Until next week,

Peace, love, and abundance

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img_0670(2)Vince is a Critical Care Registered Nurse, Thought Contributor, and Published Writer. You can follow his weekly work at http://www.vinceshifflett.com

 

 

10 comments on “Social Norms: Being Authentic

  1. Vince thank you for the post. I definitely believe faithfully that each and every human created is unique. Every person with their particular gifts unlike the next persons. This is why I have the position I have on certain issues ranging all the way from race to and beyond abortion. So much to elaborate on. Again thanks.

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  2. Beautiful Vince

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  3. Great post Vince. I often think that society’s expectations of what is or is not “normal” or acceptable can be symbolised in the choir where the songs you are to sing are chosen by the choir director. You sing someone else’s music and everyone must sing as one voice. You can’t stand out or you will upset the harmony of the whole.( Just a metaphor – I sing in a choir!) We must all learn to sing our own songs.

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    • intuitivespiritualblog,

      I love this analogy. “We must all learn to sing our own songs.” A lot to think about. Thank you so much for sharing.

      Vince

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  4. Terre Tunstalle

    So Powerful and Honest, I too when though this and Thank God that I learned to seek God and Reading many Books on being Gay…I found ME, the Me who loved and was creative, the Me who reach out to everyone even in pain, the Me that Love my Church and didn’t understand why that didn’t love me back…I became A real Person to ME….so I Am Terre with No apology for being ME…Love you Vince and Keep Sharing Truth and Power😉😘👊

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    • Terre,

      Thanks as always for sharing with such vulnerability. I love that you so, “No apology for being me.” That alone is powerful.

      Much love to you and thanks for your awesome support.

      Vince

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  5. yuri margossian

    You raise some interesting points Vince,
    A lot of the ‘rules we live by’, in England, started in the reign of Queen Victoria.
    Although she had countless children, she deemed it obscene that a pregnant woman was seen in public. Therefore most ‘well to do’ ladies retired to the country ‘for their confinement’, in other words, until they had the child. Children were also ‘to be seen and not heard’.
    Although she had I think 6 or 8 children, the believed that legs should be covered as men would find them attractive, to the extent that all furniture legs were also covered up (?).
    She banned homosexuality between men, mainly because of the Oscar Wilde scandal but wouldn’t accept that women could be attracted to the same sex. As she was the head of the Empire, the repercussions to this as still felt world wide.
    In America, I suppose, Hollywood was to blame for the ‘all American family with the white picket fence’. When people like Doris Day, Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor (well maybe not so much her), Cary Grant and the like were in feel good movies, people imitated their “life styles”. These “life styles” were what people saw on the screen and were not real life.
    I remember seeing Jayne Mansfield’s home in a magazine. Her kitchen was natural red bricks and her worktops were all wood. However the films in the 50/60’s portrayed a formica look. Basically Hollywood set the trend.
    As an older man, I’ve now learnt that what is “normal” is whatever you want it to be. There are no more rules and regulations to work with, except for the law. In recent years the fact that ladies wear, what was classified as evening wear ie sequins, threw the fashion rules out. The norm is whatever you want to wear. When I was growing up, everyone had a title ie Mr/Mrs/Aunty (to mums friends as well as family), Uncle (to dad’s friends as well as family). We have now imported, from America, the fact that we call strangers by their first names. So a child in school calls his/her teacher by their first name. this to me is wrong, but then maybe I’m just too old and too set in my ways.
    Ok I’ve bored you enough.
    Excellent read as usual.
    I look forward for the next episode in the Shifflett Blog
    Y x

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    • Yuri,

      I freakin love your responses. So educational and thought provoking. Thank you so much for taking the time to give feedback. It is always a delight to read your work. I also love your reference to the “Shifflett Blog.” LOL.

      Have an awesome week.

      Much love,
      Vince

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