By Hilde Larson
Have you ever looked at someone and thought they might have lost their marbles for not making the same decision you would have? We love to stick our noses into other people’s business. We love to validate, condemn, correct and compare.
When someone steps outside the norm or breaks the rules of the horde there will invariably be reactions from others. How can someone willingly quit their job without having a new one lined up? What would we do? How could they do that? This is crazy. I could never do that. How dare they! Who do they think they are? It does not make sense to anyone following the ‘common sense rule-book’, which has several chapters on security and how to play it safe. It teaches us everything about using our brain to think everything through, and to make calculated decisions, based on our highly respected intellect.
But are we responsible for anyone’s actions, their responses, and their feedback? Absolutely not. The most freeing part of any journey from bullshit to wisdom is the freedom that comes with it!
The core of the matter is this: When you at any point stop, if only for a nanosecond, to look for validation, you are not yet free. We know knowledge can lead to wisdom, but there might not be applause from the crowd. It is a lonely path until you find the value of it. It is an empowering path. As long as it is yours, it leads to “home”.
There are certain traits or behaviour patterns that have been appointed unsafe and reckless. How dare you be sexy, bold, crazy and spontaneous? How dare you let go of what I, me, the rest of us have worked so hard to hold on to? How dare you be happier than us, are you better? Are you different?
People like to fit in, and when you step out and do what you love — no matter what — they get confused. Those that are not loving their life, get irritated, angry even, at you, for representing what they don’t dare to do themselves. Or feel they can, or feel they should, for all the reasons that they can find. It was never about them. It was always about you. Your life was always about you, your values, your goals, your compassion, passion, your mission and love.
“What other people think of you is none of your business.”
~ Paulo Coehlo
Better than what?
Someone who is following their dream is, in reality, doing what everybody wants and seeks to be able do. Our search for happiness seems endless. Although it is not a destination, we feel it is something we need to reach, to get to, that “place” of happy and content. We might even believe that we are there, until someone shows us, by their crazy actions, that we are not. How dare they! Do they think they are better than us? We could argue that actually they are. They are closer to living their purpose, and following their own path. They have broken free from what we are still stuck in. How hopeless and helpless that makes us feel. And frustrated. When someone else ‘does their thing’ it can look very easy, especially when they are good at it. As if it didn’t take a world of courage and bravery, and was not the scariest thing they ever did (which it most probably was).
The Law of Jante takes us back to the conscious and subconscious programming that keeps a whole society locked in their place. A Danish/Norwegian author AkselSandemose wrote these Laws in 1930, as a part of a novel, describing how in a small town, Jante, the attitude towards individuality and success were dismissive. Achievers were not accepted, and were discouraged.
There are ten rules in the law as defined by Sandemose. They all lead to the same underlying theme: You should not think you are anyone special or that you are better than us.
The ten rules of Jante:
1. You’re not to think you are anything special.
2. You’re not to think you know more than we do.
3. You’re not to think you are more important than we are.
4. You’re not to think you are good at anything.
5. You’re not to laugh at us.
6. You’re not to think you are as good as we are.
7. You’re not to think you are smarter than we are.
8. You’re not to convince yourself that you are better than we are.
9. You’re not to think anyone cares about you.
10. You’re not to think you can teach us anything.
It is suggested by Sandemose that by obeying these rules, the community would be more harmonious. Since then, the meaning of Jante’s Law has been extended to refer to any form of personal criticism towards those breaking out of the norm, or reaching higher position in general.
When we look at the above statements, it brings us to the why we might be experiencing a lack of encouragement when we do what is not generally done. Why we might run into envy, eyeballing and even whispers in the hallways. We have been brainwashed for generations to believe that we should and should not.
Be careful who you listen to. Is it true, is it kind, is it necessary?
We are all family. We are all here together. We are brothers and sisters. We lift each other, and stand on each other’s shoulders. Every successful man or woman has climbed and held onto someone else. A word, a poem, a smile or a helping hand. We never do anything completely alone. We are never better than, only different. We are never more, and cannot take away anyone else’s mojo. We only have our own to use, and everyone else has their special set of potentials. Let us kick the Law of Jante out the door, and replace it with a set of uplifting affirmations that will serve us, not disconnect us.
My nine rules of empowerment:
1. Believe that you are special.
2. Be confident about your knowledge.
3. You matter.
4. You are good at many different things. You are gifted.
5. Laugh every day.
6. You are smart and able.
7. You are always enough.
8. You are loved beyond belief.
9. You have something to bring to this world.
When you dare to follow your own inner dream and intuition, you will have no one to answer to but yourself and God. When you lead, you follow. All the chains have been broken. You can walk freely.