I have thought a lot lately about what I call the “variations of life.” The life that we each live is unique in many aspects. Each of us have had our own life experiences that to a great extent have brought us to our current station in life. Those life experiences also influence the way that we view the world in general. My personal life experiences are vastly different from yours, and your life experiences are vastly different from mine. We each view things in the world differently, but that does not signify that either one of us is totally right in our perspectives, and by the same token, it does not signify that we are totally wrong about our perspective either. It only means that we view things differently. What may seem “normal” to me, may not necessarily be “normal” to you.
Albeit, the society in which we live has a tendency to dictate to us what is “normal” and what is not. Any member of society who is found to live outside of the boundaries of that which is considered “normal” is considered to be “abnormal,” and is oftentimes labeled as a menace to society, and thus that person may be ostracized and treated as an outcast. But the question that begs an answer is, “Who determines what is normal, and what is not?” And with so many varying definitions of “normal,” which definition should be the one that is accepted by any given society.
In a pursuit to answer these questions, society has deemed it necessary to place labels on people who seem not to fit into the societal mold of normality. For example, if someone has a learning disability and is not capable of comprehending certain things, he or she is labeled as being mentally challenged or mentally retarded. If someone seems to be unstable in his or her behavior, then the label of mentally ill is used. If someone is addicted to drugs, that person is labeled as a junky. Or, if someone is sexually attracted to the same gender, he or she is labeled as a homosexual, lesbian, queer, etc.
Just because people are different, live different lifestyles, and have different challenges in life, does not call for putting labels on people who seemingly do not meet the standards for being classed as “normal.” We need to learn to appreciate our differences, and treat every person with dignity, self-worth, and respect. Let us learn from our differences and help build each other up instead of demeaning and degrading one another with the use of unwarranted labels.
Karlyn Kay Stebbins
January 26, 2015
Karlyn Kay Stebbins’ Biography:
Karlyn Kay Stebbins is a guest writer for Morsels Of Bread. She is an addictions counselor and works in a drug rehabilitation center. She has a double major in Sociology and Psychology, and a minor in Communications. She is a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, having been baptized on 26 March 2011. Her hobbies are reading and writing. She also enjoys spending time with her son and his friends. She is also the Founder of The Conqueror Foundation and has a blog called “Reflection Pays” where she shares her insights.