Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Is There An Ideal of Functioning?
“Don’t forget to be awesome!” This is the motto of a group of thousands of people across the world known simply as Nerdfighters. They are intelligent, self-proclaimed nerds, and have raised over $350,000 collectively for charity through their efforts to “decrease world suck” (as they affectionately call the hardships of the world). The group originated two years ago as a side effect of a YouTube channel John and Hank Green opened. Their project, Brotherhood 2.0, was an attempt to reject the superficiality of text communication and to delve into what it meant to be brothers and to be human. They spoke of world events, personal problems, and wrote songs filled with scientific fact. And that resonated with people. It gave them courage to be themselves in a world that demands conformity.
The goal of counseling is to guide a person to a place of optimized functioning for their life. As a class we were challenged to examine whether a universal ideal of functioning existed. Can one person function in relationships and society with a condition or disorder that another person would be disabled by? There is a level of subtle perfection that we feel must be achieved before we can be considered “normal”. However, the optimal life for one person may not be the same for another. Human resilience varies and what could incapacitate one person may barely faze another.
Emotion is natural; struggling is a part of life. Acknowledge the components of your life and learn to adapt. Recognize when you need the help and support of others around you. Draw upon it as if it is your life source when you need it. I believe that is through community that we gather our strongest defenses against the loneliness that would isolate us in our illnesses, whether physical or mental. It is not up to society to determine what is normal; rather, it is up to the individual to influence society. John and Hank may not have realized it at the time, but they were challenging the societal concept of normality when they began their campaign challenging people to be themselves – be awesome.