Yesterday, I ran a seminar on Swedish culture and I got a thought-provoking question from an audience member. It was a question I have never had before.
‘Are Swedes happy with what they are?’ was the question. Somewhat taken aback, I tried to answer the question in the best way I could based on my interpretation of it. I talked about anthropologists are yet to find a culture that thinks their way is wrong. Every culture thinks their way is the right way – otherwise they wouldn’t do things the way they do them. Being culturally competent is about understanding that there are lots of right ways.
After the seminar, I thought more about the question – are Swedes happy with what they are? It resonates around my head still. How happy is the average Swede? How happy is the average person in general? I sincerely hope that most people are happy and living lives that fulfill and enrich them. I hope they are living lives where they can be grateful for what they have and not envious about what they don’t have. I hope they are living lives where they can be the best they can be, surrounded by people they like and free to make the best choices for themselves. I hope their lives are full of life. For me that’s happiness. And in Sweden, that’s the life I am able to live.
So at least I’m happy to be the way I am – in Sweden!