08 : 15 (To the barista) We started talking about astrology and when I told her I was a ‘pisces’, she said these tend to be kind people! What do you think?
Marc is a Belgian member of the European Parliament and deals with various issues from agriculture to gender equality. He also co-chairs the sports intergroup and organizes friendly football matches between people who work in the European institutions and fellow citizens.
– I try to be kind in general; because I believe kindness is a basic human value. In fact, being a politician now, I even feel kindness is my duty; there is nothing that infuriates me more than a politician who becomes arrogant and starts to think he (or she) is above citizens. A politician should be humble and down to earth. I myself was a citizen among other citizens before becoming their representative – so why would I behave any differently now?
– I studied sociology and looked into the psychology of people, because I always wanted to understand ‘the other’ . This has helped me strengthen my sense of empathy and has also helped me gain confidence in my approach to others – because I learned that human beings are in the end able to adapt to anything and anyone : we are able to adapt to each other when we want to. I think the issue nowadays is that people confuse being self-confident with being arrogant – they are becoming less flexible, more self-centered and refuse to adapt to ‘the other’; politicians do that too! But grasping the importance of adapting to and therefore accepting the other, means acknowledging that others are also worthy. It means saying: I am confident in my worth yet I accept that the other may teach me something. The reverse, which is the refusal to adapt to anything or anyone, leads you to think you have absolute truth. Confidence, empathy and kindness – for me these are all reconcilable.
My parents brought me up this way; they taught me that kindness is strength. Or maybe it’s the ‘pisces’ thing (He laughs)