Why Belarusians look so moody, always whine and complain? The unsmiling phenomenon, one of the most vibrant features of the nation, is hard to explain but we still will give it a try.
Obviously, the question has more than one answer.
As much as we’d like to ignore it, but the biggest and the simplest reason for the grumpiness of Belarusians is bad weather.
The absence of sun, widespread greyness and rain that makes you want to curl up in bed and do literally nothing can’t but affect us.
Be it winter, spring, autumn or even the hottest of summers, we keep our scarfs, gloves and umbrellas nearby. Just in case.
Suppose we’ve figured out why Belarusians don’t smile much but do their gloomy looks somehow correlate with their inner state of annoyance and negativity?
Or probably this is a turbulent history of our country that turned on our defense reaction for centuries ahead? It is simply in our blood and maybe it is not that bad.
Getting ready for all the misfortunes in the world, Belarusians have no time for happiness and even when we do, we still remember it may disappear one day.
On the other hand, the feeling of impermanence makes happy moments even more precious and memorable. Turns out there’s a surprisingly positive side of being gloomy, huh.
Don’t stand out
Some say this is our upbringing shaped by years of a one-size-fits-all approach during the Soviet times.
Taught to be like everybody else we stopped having ambitions, our desire to make a difference vanished and the only thing left was apathy.
Sameness and uniformity is the perfect way to bring hopelessness, frustration and anger when it seems there’s no bright future ahead and what’s the point of it all anyway?
When Westerns are self-focused, Belarusians come from a tradition of communal life. So all these senses are not personal, but rather a social mood we all share.
Besides, landlocked between strong empires, Belarus never had a chance to come out from the shadows of its powerful neighbors. And why we should now?
Poor and sad
Religion, politics, and economy alone cannot explain unhappiness but they are also cannot be ruled out. Year by year the situation is either getting worse or making one step forward two steps back.
Just recently released figures show that as much as one-third of the population still struggles to make ends meet.
Tales and suffering
To understand some of the inner turmoil, one needs look no further than Belarusian folklore. Brooding, emotional suffering and acceptance of destiny are common themes in the local discourse.
Some may go even deeper and apply it to widespread Christian values, where suffering and sacrifice are encouraged, while happiness is seen as something you have to earn.
No wonder the business-minded and cheerful Protestants are a bit baffled, to put it mildly when they come to unsmiling Belarus.
No joy ahead
Is it naturally-occurring disunity, a lack of faith in prospects for improvement or the unwillingness to change anything?
Even Belarusians themselves can’t explain why they are unhappy about everything they have or have not.
And what is even more surprising is that they refuse to do anything about it. Looks like we are happy being unhappy. And we won’t let anyone convince us otherwise.
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