THIS IS A TRANSLATED VERSION OF THIS SWEDISH POST!
This particular day I was writing this Swedish post I was actually planning a completely different post about a completely different topic, but when I read this article in a Swedish newspaper I got eager to write about that subject instead. And I have to follow my heart! 😉
About two years ago, April 2011, I wrote a Swedish post about the mentality in Sweden, in the society, about how we are raised to never venture into any risky adventures by fear that it won’t end well. That we don’t even try, because we might not make it, we might not succeed. So why even try. We might get disappointed. And sad. And hurt. But we might also succeed, we might grow as human beings, and life might be much better than it was before. But no, it’s silly to even bother. This is a question I struggle with all the time, and here you’ll find another post about my struggle of being a Swede.
This day there was a debate article in the Swedish newspaper called DN, and it’s dead on target about everything I was referring to when I wrote my post. And more.
What’s the definition of a Swede?
To be Swedish means that you should be just like everybody else, you shouldn’t stand out, and you should not believe that you are somebody. You should want the same thing as anybody and you should definitely not want to go your own way, or go searching for yourself. You also constantly have to come up with new excuses to why you shouldn’t live your life, but rather sit trapped inside a pretend-life, because it’s good to be safe. The fact that you at the same time never will experience anything real doesn’t really matter, because you are safe.
To be safe is something highly valuable for us Swedes. To be able to live a life in safety and not experience any catastrophes (thank God for natural catastrophes being so rare in Sweden) or sad experiences at all.
Although this is probably what every normal parent would wish for their children, they should instead be wishing for their children going through life – learning from their experiences, embracing the catastrophes life brought in a good way, and learning to get through them in a good way. Because if you never experience anything bad, how will you learn anything with any depth at all? Just like the article says: if you’ve never fallen, the pain is unimaginable when you in the end fall, and you have no idea how to deal with it. And no matter what; everyone falls – sooner or later, no matter how safe your life is or has been. And when your girlfriend breaks up with you, you’ll deep down inside know your life doesn’t end, even though it hurts like frack. Because you’ve been there before, you’ve learned to deal with it.
Life tends to get extremely shallow when you never experience anything challenging, or having life shape you in one way or the other.
Curling parents are not really a Swedish phenomena, but yet very Swedish indeed, probably because we have this need for safety deep inside us. The curled kids who now in enormous amounts are entering the job market haven’t learned to deal with the simplest problems, because their parents have protected them from all (bad) experiences during their entire lives. Their parents made sure the society protected them, even made sure the ”schools” were not mean to them, not putting one student in competition with another, so somebody might end up sad because they lost. In their eager attempts to protect their children they don’t realise they’re in fact destroying their childrens’ lives.
The curled kids cannot deal with life by themselves, they are completely incapacitated in general and have no idea how to behave.
And why should you even want to behave when it doesn’t even matter? Your parents accept everything you do anyway – without any limits, because oh, horrible thought, to limit a child with rules might make it sad. A limit doesn’t teach the child right from wrong obviously, not anymore, not like when I was a child anyway.
I’ve also given the law thing a whole lot of thought – those laws that are there to protect the individual. To wear a helmet, safety belt, the prohibition against certain substances etc. Those laws are protecting me as an individual, and the only person affected by not abiding to these laws is I, so what’s the state got to with it? If I want to put myself in jeopardy it should be up to me, right? No, certainly not, because if you don’t understand better we have to take care of you. We have to protect you at all cost, when you’re not capable of taking care of yourself.
We Swedes love to take care of others, but we rarely take care of ourselves.
This idea of taking care of the weaker individual is a nice thought, although it sometimes turns into complete lunacy. We forget that we have to subject ourselves (and others) to this one great thing called life, because we need to protect us and everyone else against all the horribleness life brings.
It is just that – without the horribleness we cannot experience the good life brings.
To never subject oneself to any kind of risk means to never win anything, to never be able to grow or develop. Yes, life hurts, but that’s what life is about.
I’ve now reached the point in my life where I’m tired of being Swedish (as you’ve read already), I am tired of never gaining anything, to always live my life safely in my small bubble, like a full and content cat. I want to challenge life and be challenged, I want to feel – even the pains (oh, how I already regret writing this), because they’re all signs of me living, and I absolutely don’t want to live in a bubble, no matter how safe it is; this is my time, my life, and it is time I live it as I was meant to.
Without any safety net!