The Myth of Normal is a book authored by Daniel Maté and Gabor Maté, published in 2022. The book challenges the notion of normalcy in our societies and argues that there is nothing inherently “normal” about our modern way of life (especially when we consider how far removed we are as people in urban spaces from our evolutionary context).

Trauma pervades our culture, from personal functioning through social relationships, parenting, education, popular culture, economics and politics. In fact, someone without the marks of trauma would be an outlier in our society.

Growing up in this abnormal world, we learnt from a young age to suppress our intuitions and emotions. We had to, in order to survive. But it is for our own sake and for those around us that we begin the work to unpack the trauma, in whatever shape or form, that has moulded us into who we are today, so that we can hopefully be led by a genuine love and kindness rather than fear.

Trying to keep awareness of trauma at bay hobbles our capacity to know ourselves. Conversely, fashioning from it a rock-hard identity — whether the attitude is defiance, cynicism, or self-pity — is to miss both the point and the opportunity of healing, since by definition trauma represents a distortion and limitation of who we were born to be. Facing it directly without either denial or overidentification becomes a doorway to health and balance.

Modern medicine was also born within the bounds of our abnormal societies, and is hence flawed. The human body cannot be treated as separate from the mind, and diseases cannot be understood without the (emotional) context of their vessel.

Maté and Maté puts forth a convincing narrative that compels the readers to courageously look inward, and tap into an innate compassion for our selves and others. I now look upon the world in a different light then before I picked up this book.