At a conference I recently attended, author of “The Road Back to You,” Ian Crons, kicked off by stating, “The most dangerous assumption you can make is that your way of seeing the world is normal.”
Well, this weekend, it was made very clear to me that a large chunk of how I view the world is most certainly not normal. I was directly told by someone that I wasn’t worth their time because of an important boundary I set for myself. What I heard was… your way of developing relationships is not normal-and because of that you’re not wanted by me.
Man that sucked. Mostly because at my core I’m just a human being that wants to be loved and wants to love people well. Does my inability to adhere to normalcy make this too difficult? Am I ok with this? All the questions.
When Ian first said that to us at the conference my initial interpretation was that he was saying we shouldn’t assume our way of viewing the world is right. And maybe that is what he was saying… im not sure.
But I don’t think the most dangerous assumption you can make is that your way of seeing the world is normal.
I think the most dangerous assumption you can make is that you should want to be in line with what normal is.
Being normal doesn’t mean we are being good or right, it just means something is generally accepted. Do you want to know what is generally accepted in our culture? I’m going to tell you. I put out a poll on my instagram and Facebook and the responses were alarming. My inboxes were actually flooded with repsonses. Here are just a few of them:
It is normal:
To stuff or numb your feelings
To binge watch an entire series in one day
That a man makes more than a woman
To always be busy or unavailable vs saving space for what matters to you
To cancel commitments to people you care about because something better comes along
To skip meals to fit into smaller clothes
To find connection through social media versus human interaction
To value money over relationships
To pretend you don’t care when you do
To shrug off hurtful behavior as, “it’s just who I am”
To support people when what their doing is toxic/harmful
To have causal sex with people you barely know (I got this 7 times)
To not remember what you did the night before
To ghost someone (people also were hot on this one)
To judge someone by their appearance
To assume every woman wants to be married and have kids
To adhere to or turn an blind eye to white supremacy and sexism
To feel desensitized to traumatic events like mass shootings.
I want nothing to do with those things. And I really want to you ask yourself if you do. Because if all of us think these things should not be generally accepted…. why do we generally accept them?
Confession: I have developed the reoccurring problem where I give people second chances when they don’t deserve them. It comes from an inherently well meaning place of wanting to understand people rather than judge them.
So, this weekend I initially spent a lot of energy trying to really understand this guy. It hurt to be rejected for something that I believe is so morally insane. And because of my problem of second chance giving I attempted to comprehend where this person was coming from so I could not feel hurt.
It is actually part of my job to believe people are good and because of this, it’s painful to bump up against the possibility that sometimes that isn’t true. And you know us 7s… we don’t do well with pain. However, I’ve officially made an executive decision for all of us:
“When people show us who they are, we need to believe them.”
When people show us who they are… we need to let that be separate from who we are. You don’t think my boundaries are normal and because of that your disinterested… cool, that has nothing to do with my worth, value, or if I’m right or not. It actually has a lot to do with what you’re willing to stand up for.
You know it has become “normal” to turn a blind eye when you see things that are immoral or unjust. We don’t report abuse or step in where we see harm done because it is “none of our business.” We’ve become afraid of doing the right thing. That is insane and inexcusable.
In every piece of pain I know there is always a gift. I totally get that sometimes when bad things happen to us- we don’t want to see the gift right away because to see it we have to move through the initial punch and the sting it leaves behind. And it’s a lot of work to do that. Don’t be scared of the work.
Yesterday I saw a domestic dispute on the side of the road as I was running, in the few moments I stopped to decide if I was going to say something or call for help a younger women approached the two and urged the man to leave the woman alone. That took work, and courage, and some fire to go against normal. She wasn’t scared of the work.
The Bystander effect occurs when the presence of others discourages an individual from intervening in an emergency situation. We are all stuck inside a huge case of the Bystander effect. If more of us decided to be like the woman I saw yesterday… that list would look extremely different. I really really want the list to look different.
If you’re afraid the work, know this: In reality- we are always working on something- you need to get real with what you’re working on. Spend the work on something that matters.
So here is the good valley cultivated fruit of this story: I have spent a lot of “work” trying to understand other people’s behavior that has hurt me in the past… when I could be spending the work on understanding and appreciating myself better.
I have been #blessed with a bomb circle of people in my life. And they had a lot to say to me this weekend.
My favorite was, “This seems to bad to be real, like the opposite of too good to be true.” I mean yes. 1000%.
Another dear dear friend said, “I love you and everything you stand for even though some of it goes against what is considered normal in our culture. And not everybody can handle much less do they want to handle their own truth and face it. But that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be spoken. I know God is working through you everyday.”
It’s a priority for me to learn to let go of holding onto painful parts of my story while taking whatever that can serve me well from them. I refuse to believe that the challenging parts happen to us to create pain, I believe they happen FOR us to create movement. And sometimes movement is painful, but I have to move. You have to move. We all have to move.
This experience created a lot of movement in my soul.
From that movement I have learned a lot in the last 48 hours. For starters:
- My boundaries may not be normal, but I believe my boundaries to be right for me.
- Sometimes people let you down. I can maintain my love for people without understanding hurtful behavior.
- I can’t expect everyone else to agree with my boundaries and I don’t have to have relationships with these people. I don’t have to have positive feelings toward them either.
- I don’t want my way of thinking to be normal because. . . normal in our culture is often f*%^#d up.
It was disappointing. It was hurtful. And it was pretty confusing. But it wasn’t all bad. I have found it be pretty powerful to shift my perspective from things happening to me to things happening for me. This weekend 100% happened for me. For me to solidify my inability to remain normal in a culture that I want to be the exception in.
Also… Ariana Grande just happened to release her new declaration of independence for women (Thank u, next) the day this happened… and for that I am eternally grateful. This is for you Ari.