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Are You Afraid Of Being Weird?

Discover the reason why you shouldn't be!

fear of being weird weirdo am i weird am i normal weirdness psychology want for validation fear of invalidation shame guilt stupid
The staring dad meme.

I used to have an obsessive fear of being weird.

When I was 26, I actually came to the therapist for the first time with a clear intent: to assure myself, that I’m normal.

This is not a joke!

When the therapist asked me what I came with I said:

“Well, I need you to tell me one thing.  I speak 5 languages, I played guitar professionally, I teach Cuban salsa, I run a successful educational NGO and work in one of the most competitive industries in the world — but I still feel like I’m never enough. I constantly doubt myself and I feel frustration anytime my name is called out loud at work — afraid that I have screwed something up. Could you please tell me if I’m normal?”

At that point in my life, I felt chronic anxiety, occasional depressions and I couldn’t slow my mind down. I felt so weird that I was worried I might be bipolar, OCD or schizophrenic, or some other label that could explain what I felt.

“Well, I might disappoint you,”

he said,

“but, we don’t have such diagnosis in psychology.”

That was quite confusing to me. Wasn’t it weird?

Photo by Cristofer Jeschke on Unsplash


Normal people are the weirdest (or boring)

I was just trying to be a normal guy!

Although, how does this phrase sound to you?

“I’m the most normal guy ever.”

Sounds suspicious, doesn’t it? It sounds like a weird guy trying to convince you that he’s not. Or a guy that’s proud of how boring he is.

“I’m so normal that I can’t surprise you with anything at all”

This phrase is a perfect definition of boring. But that wasn’t what I was truly saying. 

And neither I was saying it out of humility. Like when Wim Hof or Dalailama claim they’re like any other person and anyone can do what they did — what they’re doing is normal.

I was asking out of fear. And this is what I was looking for in trying to be normal and not weird:

“I am so normal, that there is nothing I could do that would make you judge me and reject me.”

It was a Nice Guy Syndrome in an extreme form! But I didn’t know this back then. So I kept searching for a unicorn.

fear of being weird weirdo am i weird am i normal weirdness psychology want for validation fear of invalidation shame guilt stupid
Photo by Joen Patrick Caagbay on Unsplash


Normal does not exist

The problem is, that the psychological “normal” is an illusion.

It does not exist objectively. The “norm” is created in the mind of the person watching. Everyone who is afraid of being weird has their own definition of “normal”.

The normal in New York can get you killed in Saudi Arabia and vice-versa.  The normal for a farmer can be outrageous for a banker and vice-versa. The normal for a father can be weird for his s