Ever since my fiancé has mentioned it to me for the first time I have been thinking about Jante’s Law every once in a while. You might be wondering what it is. It comes from the book En Flyktning Krysser Sitt Spor or A Refugee Crosses His Tracks written in 1933 by Aksel Sandemose. There are ten different rules in the law, but they all express in different variations a single theme: Do not think you are anyone special or that you are better than us.
The ten rules state:
- Do not think you are special.
- Do not think that you are of the same standing as us.
- Do not think you are smarter than us.
- Do not convince yourself that you are better than us.
- Do not think you know more than us.
- Do not think you are more important than us.
- Do not think you are good at anything.
- Do not laugh at us.
- Do not think anyone cares about you.
- Do not think you can teach us anything.
The rules are supposed to show that modesty, punctuality and especially equality are important aspects of the Danish way of life. This is all nice and good, BUT…
I was partly taught differently!!!
My parents think that I am special and gave me that feeling since I was a little girl. And I know that I am kind of smart because otherwise I would not be where I am now and would not have achieved what I already achieved. That also implies that I AM good in doing some things, though maybe not in everything. I also definitely know that people care about me a lot and yes, I got the feeling that I deserve that.
But I also know that it is all about finding a balance. You should not put yourself above anybody. We are all worth the same and in a purely human sense nobody is better or worse than someone else. What do we learn out of this? Believe in yourself because you are worth it but do not be a stuck up ass!!!
PS: An 11th rule sometimes recognized is: Don’t think there’s anything we don’t know about you. Now this is sometimes SO true!