“You’re not normal. You’re going to end up in a padded cell. You’re not normal. You’re messed up. You’ll never live a fulfilled life. You’ll never be able to relate to anyone. You’re weird. You’re not normal.”

Up until recently, this was the dialogue that ran on constant repeat in my mind. And I’m talking for YEARS! At times, the obsessive statements grew louder, driving me to pacing back and forth while trying to regain my breath. Other times, these words popped up during interactions with others, causing me to react fast. They appeared as I got ready in the morning or while I was simply watching TV. These statements, while simple, lead me to a very, very dark place.

The dark place these thoughts lead me to wasn’t dark because I was alone in my strangeness.

No, it was dark because I allowed these thoughts to keep the lights turned off.

REAL TALK: There’s no such thing as normal, and even if there was, fuck that.

We were put on this earth perfectly crafted to be who we are. There were no mistakes when we were created. We arrived with certain experiences to work through just the same as everyone else. Within these experiences we have the opportunity to grow through them, or allow them to control us.

For years, as these repetitive thoughts bounced around in my mind, I was allowing my experiences and my circumstances to determine the type of person I was. I was allowing them to manipulate the way I felt each and every day. I was allowing them to control my life.

I didn’t arrive at this truth while meditating, or in some mystical way. I truly believe that the best way to grow through what you’re experiencing is to have a conversation with yourself about it.

One day when my panic surrounding my “not normal-ness” was a bit out of hand, I turned to my journal.

Here are the EXACT words you’ll find in my journal:

→ “Sophie, why are you so scared of the way you feel?” (referring to the anxiety and panic I was regularly experiencing at this time)

→ “These feelings aren’t normal. I’m not normal. I’m fucked up.”

→ “But, what if it was normal? What if thousands of other people felt the same way?”

→ “I know they do.”

→ “So, doesn’t that make it normal?”

→ “I guess so.”

I kid you not. “I guess so” is how I ended a conversation that radically changed the way I felt about my own insecurities.

When I had this rational conversation with my emotional side, I was then able to bring it right back when it was panic time. When I notice the “I’m not normal” thoughts coming on, I refer back to this conversation… “Remember Sophie, we talked about this! There’s a bunch of people who feel this way. You’re not alone.”

Why am I telling you this?

I want you to have a conversation with the part of you that thinks you’re not normal.

I’m not saying this only works if you’re experiencing what I explained above. Insecure about your weight? Feel shitty about the size of your nose? Hate your laugh? Dislike how awkward you get in social situations? Talk to yourself about it right now. Don’t allow the repetitive voices telling you you’re not good enough control your life. Regain the freedom by starting a conversation with yourself around what makes you insecure.

Of course it isn’t as simple as writing what I shared above. It’s about coming back to this reassurance time and time again. It’s about reminding yourself every time you look in the mirror that your weight doesn’t define you. It’s laughing in public and reminding yourself that your laugh isn’t a measure of character. It’s about looking yourself in the mirror time and time again, and seeing past your insecurities.

Remember, I’m not normal, you’re not normal, but we’re both fucking awesome.