Common is not Normal

Mar 23, 2022

I was listening to a book the other day that explained the difference between "best practice" and "evidence-based practice" in healthcare. When I was in nursing school one thing they drilled into our heads over and over was to always perform evidence-based care instead of doing things because "that's the way they've always been done."  It got me thinking about how often in life we accept what is happening as "normal" because that is just the way it's always been. "Normal" is different in different parts of the world, different workplaces, and even inside different households. One could even go as far as to say normal is different for each body. But that is when this idea of "normal" gets a little dicey. See, so much of what we have accepted as normal in our body, might not be. Because it is common, does not mean it is normal.  When it comes to your health and your wellness it is important to distinguish between the two. 


For example, it is common for smokers to develop lung cancer, but lung cancer is never normal. Or from a different perspective, "normal" could be teeth coming in at different times for all children, but "common" would be starting to teeth around 6 months. Normal could be a cycle of 26-32 days long, but common is 28 days. It is normal to feel overwhelmed when there is a lot on your plate, but it is common to feel burnout. It is normal to want to always do the best you can, but it is common to experience mom-guilt.  Do you see the difference? 


This is becoming a problem in our culture as we are accepting common as normal more and more often. Did you know that stress incontinence (you know, when you pee a little when you sneeze or cough, or even laugh too hard?) after having a baby is common, but not normal? In fact, in the UK every woman who gives birth is given an automatic referral to a pelvic health physical therapist to help strengthen the pelvic floor after delivery to prevent stress incontinence. Did you know that it is normal for your cycle to fluctuate by a couple of days every month due to the stress your body experiences around ovulation? We commonly feel as if we are irregular and that is a problem, but it is normal for your body to adjust to the extenuating circumstances. Did you know stress, burnout, and mom-guilt are commonly accepted among mothers, but they are not normal? 


Think about it. It is never "normal" to experience mom-guilt, stress, or burnout. It is common and in some cases understandable, but not normal. Normal implies that we have accepted this as our truth. Accepting these feelings and saying to yourself, "This is just my life now." 


But it doesn't have to be. You don't have to feel that way. You can rehab your responses, to live the same way you can rehab your pelvic floor. Yes, it takes some work and certainly some awareness, but that doesn't make it impossible. 


It is not normal to go through every day feeling not good enough. Feeling guilty. feeling like you just can't win. 


These experiences are common in today's society, but they are not normal. 


Do you see the difference? 


Your health and wellness deserve more than an acceptance of what is common. Your wellbeing is so much more important than that. You matter more than settling for something because "everyone is going through it." Remember when you were a kid and your mom said something like, "If they jumped off a bridge, would you jump off a bridge too?" 


If everyone else accepted common as normal, would you too? 


You don't have to. If you're ready to change how you respond to the common occurrences of life, so they don't feel "normal" to you, I'm happy to help. Let's get on a call to talk about it. 



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