How Can You Tell If Your Emotions Are 'Normal'?

10.11.11

There are times when I wonder if there is something wrong with my mind. How can anyone tell if their thought patterns or emotions are flowing in a 'normal' way? I think it's possible there are people who live their whole lives with bi-polar or obsessive compulsive disorder and never know it. Then there are those who are sure something is wrong with them, while in reality they enjoy perfect mental health.

The real problem is it's impossible to know the true definition of 'normal'. Often we define someone who doesn't have emotional outbursts in public as a mentally healthy person. They have learned to control their emotions and don't inflict them on others. I often look up to people with such control, wishing I were as 'normal' as they are. But is that actually 'normal'? How many people do you know who are like that? It's a rare thing to have such control and therefore in can't actually be considered the 'norm'.

I've learned everyone has their own definition of 'normal'. The behavior you observe most often in your friends and family is probably going to feel very 'normal' to you. If you react to things in much the same way as the rest of your family then you will feel healthy and 'normal' as well. But what if you express your emotions differently than your friends and family? If you cry in public more than the people you hang out with, you're probably going to feel like your emotions are not 'normal'. A person who is uncomfortable with physical contact between family members could be raised in a family who openly hugs and cries together. That person might feel like they are abnormal in some way since their family doesn't understand why they dislike being touched.

If the term 'normal' is all based on opinion, how can anyone know if they have emotional problems? Sometimes I feel down in the middle of the day and can't figure out the cause of it. Does that mean I have depression? There are times when certain topics bring tears to my eyes and it takes a lot of energy to hide my emotions. Does that mean I haven't learned to control my emotions properly or that I have an emotional disorder? Personally I don't think it does, but I could be wrong. I've only ever had one mind, so it's impossible for me to compare my emotions to someone else. Even if I could walk in someone else's shoes for a while, that still wouldn't be enough to know if I'm 'normal' or not.

I should mention, if your emotions are getting in the way of living the life you want, you should definitely go to a doctor and find out if something is physically wrong. If like me, however, the emotions and thoughts you live with are not causing any serious problems in your life, then you really can't possibly know if you are 'normal' or not. I've decided the only thing to do is stop trying to figure out if something is wrong. Sometimes things will effect my emotions while others feel nothing. All of us have different tendencies, life experiences, strengths and so much more that makes our minds and reactions unique. I think it's best to stop trying to control the way your mind works and start focusing on what you can control. If something makes you angry or want to cry it's okay! You can choose to hide your emotions or not, but the point is, it doesn't matter if it's 'normal'. All that matters is you accept who you are and don't judge others for being different than you.

I believe we all feel things differently for a reason. There's so much we can learn from each other. My sister can get emotional over the death of an animal on the side of the road while I don't. Because she feels those emotions, it shows me how important that animal's life was. I may not feel the same, but I've learned from her experience. Some people are comforted by a hug from someone they don't know while I would just find it awkward. The important thing is to recognize that we are different from each other in so many ways: physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. If we accept each other and understand we're all doing the best we can with the minds we've been given, then it doesn't even matter if anyone is 'normal' or not. Besides, if everyone is unique, then the word 'normal' can't possibly apply to anyone.

Article written by Shelly Allen.
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