The Balancing Act | Nothing is as good or as bad as it seems

In my home, we rarely run out of chocolates. While we don’t stock them voluntarily, they often land here in the form of gifts. 

Not that I am complaining. I eat them without guilt, even while on one of my intermittent diet plans, happily telling myself what a number of studies have said: Chocolate is good for you.

For a large part of my life I took most studies and reports seriously, until they started contradicting each other and often when reality seemed to suggest otherwise.

In the past week, I read about two studies that contradicted the general belief (based on earlier studies) about life in Denmark, with one being more troubling than the other.

The first one was a report by Det Kriminalpræventive Råd (the Crime Prevention Council) in which Denmark ranks number two on the list for the number of break-ins per home across Europe.

Now, that came as a surprise to many of us, fed as we were on a diet of reports and studies that claimed Denmark was one of the safest countries in the world. And people in this country do leave their babies out on the streets while out shopping and having a peaceful cup of coffee, don’t they?

So perhaps, for the time being, it would be safe to conclude that people in Denmark are safe from thieves, but the same cannot be said about our property.

The second, more disturbing article was about a study by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights.  According to their study of 42,000 women in 28 EU countries, Denmark ranks number one for violence against women.

About 52 percent of the Danish women who participated in this study said they had been victims of physical or sexual violence. This is well over the EU average of 33 percent.

Also, 37 percent of the Danish women indicated they were sexually harassed in the last year. The results of this study are surprising purely because Denmark consistently ranks high when it comes to gender equality.

One could take solace in the explanation that the high numbers reported were also due to the fact that in Denmark it is acceptable for women to talk about violence and sexual offences. But the incongruities are jarring.

Meanwhile, countless contradictory studies and personal experiences later, I’ve arrived at a simple truth. Things are seldom what they seem.

So for those of us trying to make sense of this country that we’re in, here’s a tip that could help you: take all studies with a pinch of salt; form your own opinions based on hard facts, not perceptions; and create your own experiences. Some of them may be bad, but there will be several good ones as well.

And remember, nothing is as good or bad as it seems at the time.

As for the studies on chocolate, they work quite well with my viewpoint – a little bit never hurt anyone.

P.S: For those of you planning to take me up on my advice, I must mention this – I’m an optimist. I could very well be part of the 80 percent of humans who, according to a study, are delusionally optimistic. This should serve as sufficient caution.