The Natural, The Healthy and The Normal

by Haider on February 18, 2010 · 0 comments

in Personal Growth

There are three very distinct concepts that we tend to use interchangeably, while overlooking their differences. Distinct concepts don’t refer to the same thing. It should be obvious, but that, sadly, isn’t the case.

There are huge differences between what’s natural, what’s healthy and what’s normal.

If you don’t know the difference, you will in a few short minutes. :)

The Natural

This is a personal growth blog, so I won’t be talking much about the natural world (birds, bees, trees, planets, etc). I’m more concerned with what’s natural to human beings.

If you look at the people around you, or the stories you see on TV or the Internet, you will realize the broad spectrum of different ideas humans can hold, emotions they can experience and behaviors they can exhibit.

Some people believe in a realm beyond our own, while others believe that the material world is all that exists. Some can be calm and collected in the face of adversity, while others can collapse at the sight of impending danger. Some express kindness, while others exercise aggression. Some are athletic, while others are obese. And there’s a range of possibilities within each spectrum of human existence. The possible combinations are endless.

But all these possibilities – as long as they are possible to human beings – can be considered natural (unless, of course, they involve a mad scientist with monkey parts and a scalpel). Whatever human beings can experience is natural to being human. That includes health as well as illness.

Therefore, to say that “it’s only natural” that we eat A, B and C, or do X, Y and Z doesn’t offer a sound argument to follow such instructions. Because it’s possible doesn’t mean that it’s good for us.

That’s what the healthy defines.

The Healthy

The set of options that are life-affirming (i.e. good for us) belong to the subset of the healthy. The ideas that reflect an accurate understanding of the world, the emotions that lead to constructive action and the behaviors that ensure our well-being are all healthy.

These are the options we should pursue, and should gravitate towards. While not every action we carry out may be healthy, but we need to have a leaning towards healthier options in life.

The standard of the healthy is what satisfies our needs as human beings, without compromising any aspect of what makes us human.

What’s not a standard for the healthy and life-affirming is the example other people set. And certainly not what the majority of the people do.

That’s not healthy. That’s just normal.

The Normal

What’s common amongst a group of people is the normal. The ideas people are accustomed to, the reactions they experience and expect, the food they eat, the clothes they wear and everything that’s commonly accepted by a group (be it a household, a family, a neighborhood, a town, a nation, a civilization, etc) is the normal, within that group.

But the normal isn’t an indication of what we should do. In most cases, it indicates what we shouldn’t.

Not everyone takes personal growth seriously. The majority of people tend to prefer the easy route through life, which is paved with the wrong decisions.

You don’t want to belong to what’s normal. You want to lead a healthy life, in all aspects of life. That involves conscious living and being committed to making the right decisions in life. You don’t need people’s permission to be healthy.

That’s a decision for you to make on your own. But relying on the standards of the normal won’t get you there.

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