The word “normal” comes from the Latin word “norma” which means a “Carpenter’s square”. A norm, therefore, became a form, pattern, or standard, and it was in this sense that the word was introduced into the English Language.
Normality, therefore, means the quality or fact of being normal. That is being according to what is expected, usual or average.
Thus, when normality is concerning a person, it means developing expectedly without any disorder in the mind or the body.
The concept of “normal human being” has its roots in medical tradition: various meanings of normality have arisen in psychology, psychiatry, sociology, and anthropology.
According to Offer and Sabshion (1960) and corroborated by Ibudeh (1990), the various alternative views of normality are: normality as health, normality as socially acceptable, normality as a process, normality as average, and normality as ideal (Utopia)
Normality may be defined in terms of the relative lack of deviant signs and symptoms. Te normal personality may be conceptualized in terms of positive, progressive growth towards a more productive and satisfying way of life (Ibudeh, 1990).
According to Shobeh (1957), normality is seen as “a model of integrative adjustment. He characterized this model of integrative adjustment by criteria of:
- Personal responsibility
- Social responsibility and
- Democratic social interest and ideas.
There are 12 criteria by which we judge the normal personality as identified by Maslow and Mittleman and corroborated by Bakare (1988). The following are criteria an individual should have:
- 1 Adequate security
- 2 Adequate self-concept
- 3 Spontaneity
- 4 Adequate self-knowledge
- 5 Effective contact with and use of reality
- 6 Adequate effect of emotionality
- 7 Adequate integration and consistency of personality
- 8 Adequate life goals
- 9 Ability to satisfy the social requirements of the groups to which one belongs
- 10 Adequate emancipation from the group and culture
- 11 The ability to accept love, affection, and support
- 12 Adequate bodily desires and the ability to gratify them
The individual needs to have adequate security. He or she should feel at home with others. He or she should also feel comfortable and secure at home, in school, in the work of place, and in any society, he or she is in.
A normal person should have the appropriate level of self-esteem. The picture of what he or she has for himself or herself must be positive. He or she should be free from inferiority feelings that can affect his or her day-to-day undertakings.
Spontaneity is the key. The individual should be natural. He or she should not be affected by what happens around him or her and he or she should feel free in his or her natural environment.
The individual should feel relaxed and feel free in expressing aggression in culturally acceptable ways.
The individual should have adequate knowledge. He or she must have adequate insights into his or her behavior, and adequate knowledge or motive that impels him or her to his or her various behaviors. He or she must know his or her goal, his or her likes, and dislikes.
Effective contact with and use of reality
The individual should have effective contact and use of reality. This is perhaps one of the most important characteristics of a normal person.
He or she must see what is real; he must not see what is not there. He or she must not be disoriented, e.g. A student who believes he is the Vice-Chancellor of the University, such a student is disoriented.
Adequate effect of emotionality
The individual should have the ability to form the emotional types with others and have been able to give love and accept love. He or she should not be emotionally frigid or indifferent.
He or she should not remain in an emotional situation all the time. He or she should laugh or sweep at the right time. He or she should have adequate emotionally, not too much or too little.
Adequate integration and consistency of personality
The individual should be able to exhibit a consistent trait that is characterized by him or her. He or she must have multiple or split personalities.
He or she must not have two completely opposed personalities and he is sociable and unsociable at the same time. This can lead to a personality breakdown.
Adequate life goals
The individual must have clearly shown life objectives that are realistic and achievable. Realistic in the sense that conforms to what he or she can achieve vis-à-vis his or her ability.
For example, a primary three dropout who aims to be a Professor or an illiterate farmer who nurses the ambition to be a Pilot.
The set of the goal being pursued must be compatible with one’s ability, e.g. a monk who wants to have a family.
These goals must not be self-centered or too societal-centered, it must be a mixture of the two before they can be agreed to be adequate.
The individual must have the ability to satisfy the social requirements of the groups he or she belongs to.
There are traditions, morale, rules, and back to sleep but regulations, etc. should be followed. To reject this is abnormal and to follow it excessively is also abnormal.
Adequate emancipation from the group and culture
The individual should have what is called adequate emancipation from the group and culture. This is the opposite of point number 9 above.
While subscribing to the ideal of society, you are not completely overbound or committed to culture to completely ignore yourself within the group. One should not disregard his or her welfare by regarding the culture of the group.
The ability to accept love, affection, and support
The individual should have the ability to accept love, affection, and support. Some people cannot appreciate love and affection, probably because of the early childhood treatment or exposure or love shown by other people as asking for support that they did not receive from him or her.
In addition, some people feel they are strong and refuse any traces of support from people. This is a sign of abnormality.
Adequate bodily desires and the ability to gratify them
The individual must have adequate bodily desires and the ability to gratify them. There are several bodily functions such as sleeping, sexual activities, defecation, urination, etc. which people should be engaged in without fear.
But some people are extremely cultured towards this bodily thing, they show slight guilt or fear, especially in sexual activities. Some cannot stand the sight of defecation or urination.
Any excessive gratification is abnormal, e.g. sexual activities – it should be gratification is abnormal, e.g. sexual activities – it should be moderately done within the concept of societal norms.
Abnormality can then be defined as one that has many or all these aforementioned attributes in the negative.