am i still normal And who gets to decide that?

Dear readers,

Not long ago, I found myself walking through the supermarket, deep in thought, mumbling softly to myself. I was so busy with myself that at first I didn’t even notice that I was also verbalizing my thoughts – until I noticed the look of a woman who was standing next to me at the refrigerated section and looked over at me in irritation. A slight shame came over me, only briefly, but for a moment I asked myself: “Is my behavior still normal?” The woman’s facial expression at least suggested something else to me. “How weird is that?” – that’s roughly how I interpreted her look.

But who actually determines what is normal and what deviates from the norm, and why do we care? The medical historian Sarah Chaney has grappled with this question. In an interview with my colleague Sarah Franke (+) the scientist talks about why, in her opinion, standardization is rather bad and problematic – and why we have to deal much more with what or with whom we compare ourselves. According to Chaney, what people consider normal is primarily shaped by their upbringing and their affiliation to a social class or ethnic group.

life and us

The guide for health, well-being and the whole family – every second Thursday.

Shame, the misunderstood feeling

Oh, and speaking of belonging: it seems quite normal that I felt a bit ashamed when the other supermarket customer caught me. Then according to psychologist Annette Kämmerer, there is shame triggered whenever I show something of myself that does not correspond to my own ideas about myself and – much more toxic – which does not correspond to the ideas of a moral requirement within a group that is relevant to me.

I wasn’t really ashamed of the little babble while shopping, but I was a bit embarrassed – knowing full well that such behavior would have irritated me a bit too. And even if shame is associated with something unpleasant, there is something good about it, says Kämmerer in an interview with my colleague Julia Meyer: “It enables people to develop a sense of which behaviors contribute to belonging to a group. The interesting thing is that the moment I feel ashamed and people around me realize it, I repair the sense of belonging.”

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What do I conclude from this? Let’s give our shame some space, don’t compare ourselves too much to others and look lovingly at our little “tics”. Because what is normal?


Caroline Burchardt

From head to toe

If Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach has his way, cannabis could soon be legalized in this country. The revised legislative plans of the Ministry of Health provide that the possession of up to 25 grams of cannabis and the cultivation of three plants for personal consumption will be legal in Germany in the future. The black market is to be squeezed out by the controlled delivery.

Lauterbach also hopes to protect young people in particular from excessive cannabis consumption. The SPD politician wrote on Twitter that the law would reduce consumption, especially among young people. That could be achieved if the adult levy actually eliminated the black market. In theory, it could then become more difficult for young people under the age of 18 to obtain cannabis.

But how dangerous is cannabis anyway? What happens in the body when you smoke cannabis, what health risks the consumption poses, and when a dependency threatens, my colleague Irene Habich has researched.

Possession and consumption of small amounts of cannabis could soon be legal.

Possession and consumption of small amounts of cannabis could soon be legal.

With all love

It is a bold thesis that the French author and political scientist Emilia Roig put forward: “The whole of society fools us into believing that marriage makes you happy.” Exactly the opposite is the case. Roig is convinced that the end of patriarchy can only be initiated by ending marriage. Her recently published book “The End of Marriage – For a Revolution of Love” is a farewell to the institution.

In an interview with my colleague Vivien Valentiner, Roig identifies the following points that bother her greatly (+): “First, the vehemence with which marriage is defended and protected. Many feminist women are also protective of marriage. Second, and this is my main argument against marriage, it forces women into financial and emotional dependency on their husbands. This is favored by the tax regulations associated with marriage, the spouse splitting. This normalizes and downplays the financial dependency.”

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family ties

Today nobody doubts that men are capable of raising children. But in many families, as soon as the toddler gets tired, needs help, cries or screams, it asks for its mother. Some fathers perceive this as rejection. It can hurt that your own child doesn’t let you comfort you. And mothers would also be helped if the babies were more willing to be soothed by their fathers.

Fathers can also respond appropriately and sensitively to the needs of their children.

Fathers can also respond appropriately and sensitively to the needs of their children.

The notion that women have a biological advantage in caring for children persists. Everyone can switch their hormone balance to care mode – including fathers. What is important and what role the time spent together between parent and child plays our author Nadine Zeller (+) written down.

Well said

This constant struggle against oneself and one’s own desires and needs, just to somehow belong and not to be different from what is expected from family, classmates, colleagues, yes, from society as a whole, costs us all incredibly lots of time and energy.

Jana Cramer,

Influencer and author of “Jana, 39, Unkissed – A true, encouraging story”

Jana Crämer once weighed 180 kilos and lost 100 kilos. She became an influencer and from a victim of bullying to an encourager for millions of people. In an interview with my colleague Julia Meyer (+) the author talks about being different and her tireless commitment to more self-love and acceptance.

The pandemic and us

This question has occupied the world since the outbreak of the corona pandemic at the end of 2019: What happened in Wuhan, China? Did it all start with a bat – or was it a laboratory accident that marked the origin of the pandemic? What role does the wildlife market play in the central Chinese metropolis?

Think Colleague Laura Beigel decided a good three years after the outbreak (+) went on a search for clues again and in the process also became aware of the very current research by the French researcher Florence Débarre. After the biologist entered the words “sequences, China, January 2020” in the Gisaid online database, Débarre found a real treasure. Data on genome sequences from swabs taken by Chinese researchers at the Huanan market emerged. “I’ve been looking for this data for a year, and there it was!” says Débarre in a “Spiegel” interview before the end of March. Since then, not only the bat but also the raccoon dog has been the focus of interest in the search for the trigger.

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The serious side of life

They seem to feel particularly comfortable in the management floors – the narcissists. In conversation with my colleague Katrin Schreiter Psychotherapist Bärbel Wardetzki explains why this is the case and how you can protect yourself from them. One of her most important tips for dealing with narcissistic bosses is: Don’t blame them! Because they provoked aggressive behavior. After all, the narcissist considers himself superior and usually creates a gradient towards the other person. Wardetzki’s recommendation: “When it comes to criticism, it’s worth taking a strategic approach. For example, you point out a problem, you have a suggestion yourself and you ask the other person for their opinion.”

The beautiful sides of life

When the successful author Bas Kast (“The Nutritional Compass”) slipped into a temporary low mood, but at the same time his life mainly had good things in store for him – objectively everything was good – he asked himself the question: “If you can’t be happy now, then when ?” So Kast set out to find things, behaviors, and substances that could increase his well-being. In an interview with my colleague Irene Habich (+) he reports on his sometimes surprising, amazing and sometimes expected experiences.

Successful author Bas Kast (pictured) found his way back to himself with meditation.

Successful author Bas Kast (pictured) found his way back to himself with meditation.

If you have any suggestions or criticism, please contact our editorial team directly We are happy!

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