In Norway I often feel the affects of the Jante Law, if you’re talented in some way you’re not supposed to think you are. For those who don’t know what the Jante Law is it’s a pattern of group behaviour against individuals within the Scandinavian communities. These series of rules lie deep in our consciousness:

  1. Don’t think you’re anything special.
  2. Don’t think you’re as good as us.
  3. Don’t think you’re smarter than us.
  4. Don’t convince yourself that you’re better than us.
  5. Don’t think you know more than us.
  6. Don’t think you are more important than us.
  7. Don’t think you are good at anything.
  8. Don’t laugh at us.
  9. Don’t think anyone cares about you.
  10. Don’t think you can teach us anything.
  11. Don’t think there’s anything we don’t know about you.

They criticize success and achievement as unworthy and inappropriate, that you shouldn’t go out of the box and be a proud individual. These rules that we grow up with without knowing it cause jealous and narrow mentality. And punish those who achieve things with their abilities. Why can’t we be a supporting community, where we’re proud to know a person with certain gifts?  Instead of pushing them down and making them feel bad about themselves, making them feel suppressed and go into hiding.  Will we as society evolve if all talent of any kind is hidden, because they’re afraid of this judgmental mentality? Unfortunately we live in a conformed society that supports a collective set of rules, and everyone has to adjust to fit in.  Saying you’re Emo for example, and claiming you’re not mainstream is false.  Then you’re part of a little community where you are mainstream.  I could use a ton of examples, political groups, religious communities, groups where you only fit in if you wear the latest fashion etc. We are desperate to fit in somewhere and to be guided by rules.  Freedom is too much for people to handle. Too many choices cause despair.  What should I do with my life, what do I want?  We judge people who are brave enough to stand for their choices in life, because we’re jealous and too afraid to do the same. That’s not right! Stop pushing other people down to make you feel better! It won’t help anyway! First of all raise your own self-worth! Make others feel happy by being a happy person. Be the one to change society, make it a better place for you and me!!!!   Compassion people, show compassion!!!

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4 thoughts on “The Jante Law

  1. Du skriv så godt, Silje! Kunne ikkje ha vore meir einig! Har tenkt mykje på Janteloven sjølv no i det siste, eit tragisk eksempel på å prøve å undertrykkje eit folk som kunne ha fått til så mykje meir hadde me gått inn for det, i staden for å tenkje at me ikkje har noko å bidra med. Og det gjeld spesielt for enkeltpersonane, og dette synet mange ser ut til å ha på kunstnarane etc. i samfunnet. Dei nyttar seg av tilboda som å gå på konsertar og teater, men at nokon vil satse på ein meir «alternativ» livsstil og yrke vert rakka ned, fordi det er ikkje «skikkeleg» og at ein bør heller gjere som «alle andre». Så utruleg deprimerande og lite produktivt.

  2. Takk!!! Det er så kjekt at du kommenterer!
    Ja, det er veldig synd for det er absolutt verdt å satse på om det føles riktig, og man har noe man ønsker å dele med andre.

    1. Kjekt å lese og kommentere òg!
      Definitivt! Eg er ein slik person som drøymer om noko meir enn det «normale» livet og ynskjer å bryte ut av Jantelovmønsteret, men samtidig er det vanskeleg fordi eg kan fysisk kjenne at det ligg innprenta i meg og det gjer meg frustrert og trist.

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