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Existing Above The Bell Curve
July 17, 2020 – The sixth week in the RestorationAge
In the skies above Frankfort and Lexington this week the word “OBEY” appeared from a skywriting plane. No one knows who paid for it or why it was written. There has been some speculation that it was a request to follow the Governor’s mandate to wear a mask. Others say it was a marketing gimmick for the clothing brand Obey. Who knows, but it’s a word I’m not expressly fond of. For me, it connotes “falling in line” or “limiting your beliefs”.
I have been reading about the study of positive psychology. Whereas most people fall on an average bell curve of happiness, there are a few outliers below the curve (negative) and above the curve (positive). Most people are in the curve and adhere to the norms of average psychology. The most attention is paid to those under the curve and what can be done to help raise them up to the average of happiness. Not until the past few years has any attention been paid to those that exist above the curve, above the norms of positive psychology. These people don’t obey the average and have created their own positive existence to find happiness. What do these people do to experience more happiness than average? Existing outside of the bell curve, while some may think these people are freaks, there is much that can be learned from them.
I spent a huge portion of Cate’s elementary and middle school days in the principal’s office, on the phone with her teachers, or in anticipation of both of those. As a mother I fretted that she was a problem-child. Why couldn’t she just be like all the other kids? The girl wanted to obey and it wasn’t for lack of trying, she just couldn’t. She just had to get to things on her own time and it branded her a problem to adults. We initially saw her differences as a negative and tried to force her into the bell curve, but what we couldn’t see is that for her, she was above her bell curve. As she got older I learned to embrace her inability to fall in line with everyone else’s expectations. It made for tough days for her, but it has strengthen her resolve of who she is, what she expects of herself, and the knowledge that she doesn’t have to be like everyone else to experience great success and happiness. She has always had a certain “spirit” that Mike and I learned to champion and defend against all of those that would try to break it. No one would ever accuse Cate of existing inside of a box.
I guess I’ve always equated obeying with succumbing to the norm of whatever. It means don’t color outside the lines, don’t have an original thought, follow what others believe, and be who everyone else thinks you should be instead of who you really are. It’s why women have been refusing for years to vow to “love and obey” their grooms. Isn’t my love enough? Why do I need to give my entire soul to this other person when they have their own. The reason for marrying is that you have fallen in love with who this other person is, why do you now have to vow to obey them and betray the person that they fell in love with?
Every successful relationship whether it be between lovers, parent and child, employer and employee, etc, does not actually thrive in an obey atmosphere. “My way or the highway” is only good for one person in any situation. Happiness and Success come in a reciprocal trust and belief union between people. It is a team effort. One may be senior, but count no voice out and all will grow from it. Try holding others down and your own benefits will be stunted.
I find writing a blog is outside of the bell curve. Most people who want to speak their minds, don’t for fear of ridicule or blowback, so they stay tucked into the curve. And when they actually break through it is very possible that people will learn things about them that they didn’t see or know before. It’s hard to go from not hearing someone speak up and assuming that they fall in line behind your beliefs, to them having strong opinions, maybe different from your own and sometimes with saltier language than you are used to. (wink wink)
I’m sure that I have offended more than one person along the way in this blog. I’m sure that some have been surprised by things that I have written or positions that I have taken, but I will not apologize for being exactly who I am. Me. Not what people think I should be. When you finally find your voice, you have to use it or risk failing yourself by falling back into the bell curve or perhaps even below it.
, I won’t obey.
LLMNOTE: Wearing a mask is following a mandate, not obeying per se. I mean, duh, use your head, don’t get dead.