Self Esteem

19 May 2019
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One of the greatest defences again the wild dogs of depression is to hold on to and strengthen your self-esteem. Self-esteem a form of self-respect, and both phrases mean exactly what they say: we hold ourselves in high-esteem and we respect ourselves.

This can be tough when life doesn't seem to be working. However, there is a powerful way to maintain your self-respect and to esteem yourself: hold strong to your values and principles.

I love Eurovision. I know, I've probably lost a lot of you with that one statement, but for me, Eurovision is a fun, joyous occasion where we can, "Dare to Dream." Whilst it is a competition, it is also a massive collaboration with input from an audience of 200 million people. To me, it is force for good and for unification.

The biggest highpoint for me (and there were so many of them) was the Israeli group, The Shalva Band. In fact, I cried watching them perform the beautiful song, "A Million Dreams," from The Greatest Showman movie. The Shalva Band are made up of a group of musicians, all of whom have a disability. Their delivery was the best of the whole event – and they would, I believe, have won the competition if they had chosen to compete.

Aside from the pleasure their performance brought to millions, my joy was in their integrity. The authorities refused to adjust the rehearsals on Friday to respect the beliefs of some of the participants. Many of the Shalva Band are passionate about their faith, and they wanted to honour the Sabbath. When it came to the choice between potential victory and staying true to their principles, they chose their principles.

This reminded me of Eric Liddell's principled stance celebrated in the film, "Chariots of Fire." Eric, too, chose his principles over the potential to seek and enjoy victory. My purpose here is not to comment on the beliefs of either Eric Liddell or The Shalva Band. My purpose is to celebrate their integrity, their unwavering commitment to what they esteem.

When we hold fast to our principles, we maintain and nurture our self-respect and self-esteem. Others may not agree with us – they may even see us as foolish – but they will often respect our strength.

You and I can resist aspects of depression by being firm in what we are prepared to stand up for. This strengthens our identity and sense of self-worth. For this reason I thought I would throw this open to comments because I would love to know what principles are, for you, non-negotiable.

Lex

A Moodscope member.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

Moodscope members seek to support each other by sharing their experiences through this blog. Posts and comments on the blog are the personal views of Moodscope members, they are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice.

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Comments

Molly

May 19, 2019, 11:35 p.m.

Hi Lex Low self esteem for me is so deep, I know it won’t ever change. I struggle with my identity. I struggle with a lot. Sometimes I tell myself “hold your head up high, you are tonnes more worth than you think”. But apart from hiding behind a good job that lifted my self esteem for a few years (a pretence really) when that ended, I was a nobody again. I’ve always felt like a nobody. It won’t change now. It’s too deep. I have messed up because of it, and I’m certain people see me different to how I see myself. You did fail to mention though, in the Eurovision, that the UK came last. Having a smile now at something that shouldn’t be funny. But somehow it is. Molly xx

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Sally

May 20, 2019, 5:52 a.m.

Hold on to that thought, Molly: “ You are tonnes more worth than you think.” YOU ARE! Believe me. Xx

Molly

May 20, 2019, 11:36 a.m.

Aw thanks Sally xx

Lex

May 20, 2019, 12:18 p.m.

Hi Molly... I can only speak for myself, but I hope it resonates with you - what I'm trying to get across today is that our sense of worth can be attached appropriately to 'worthy values' - and you have lots of these. I know you value kindness and generosity - and you would stand up to someone who was unkind or mean. Thus, I believe, you can hold yourself in higher esteem because of this stance. xx

Lexi

May 20, 2019, 12:28 p.m.

Molly, you can't be nothing. Because you have helped me so much, with your kind posts, emails, laughs. I know you can't see it, but you are so important. And it's never too late. I think it's like a cloudy day. We say the sun isn't there, because we can't see it. But it's always there, just beyond the clouds. Your soul is beautiful. You just can't see it. But others do xo.

Molly

May 20, 2019, 2:22 p.m.

Thanks for your great reply Lex, you seem to have sussed me out very well! I did have to read your blog a couple more times after your further explanation, to which I initially missed your main point. I won’t reply to your reply with any ifs or buts, I will just take on board what you have said and sit with it and think about it. Very interesting, thank you! Molly xx

Molly

May 20, 2019, 2:39 p.m.

Hi Lexi, aw bless you, thank you for your kind words. You help me also! I’m not depressed at the moment and I’m not feeling sorry for myself (as it might sound!) I was just focusing on my low self esteem and lack of identity which I do believe is permanent but something to work on. Lovely comments help so I’m going to hold my head up high today! Thank you Lexi. Love to you xx

Sally

May 20, 2019, 4:49 a.m.

Hi Lex. A brilliant blog. I respect and admire you for your take on the Eurovision Song Contest. I am glad you talked of Shalva. And Eric Liddell. Such strength and courage under pressure. One of the most memorable performances of recent years was a song by our Special School group, Singing Hands in Manchester Cathedral for the Alf Morris memorial service. It brought the house down , not in laughs but tears. So moving to watch deaf and disabled young people signing and singing a song with their support staff. It had a beautiful tune and words and I wept. Especially as a parent of a young person attending that college. It spoke of finding things to enjoy and beauty in the world ( in spite of considerable challenges).

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The Gardener

May 20, 2019, 7:14 a.m.

Just a question, Sally or anybody, is the Chicken Shed Company still in action? Saw them when they had just got going at Albert Hall - blind girl singing, a Musical called Ashanti? Still have DVD.

The Gardener

May 20, 2019, 7:48 a.m.

Got reply, Google of course. The blind girl, Lissa Hermans, who I heard, sang the National Anthem at the closing ceremony of London Olympics, she is also Autistic.

Lex

May 20, 2019, 12:20 p.m.

Thank you, Sally... I understand how this would resonate with you. There is so much good, so much to value, so much to appreciate - even in the face of so many challenges.

Jul

May 20, 2019, 7:01 a.m.

Good morning Lex. I love Eurovision too but this year went to bed after I saw Madonna perform. I haven't really made the connection between holding on to ones principles and self esteem. For me, I must be very sure I'm right if I do decide to stand up for what I think is right. However I find today that so many people have very strong opposing principles which can be very confrontational if one expresses ones own which might and usually do differ. I am afraid I change my for instance political opinions quite often. I really cannot think what I esteem. That's not to say I don't have principles. I guess I do but they are ones like ..oh dear I can't think of any. I'll think some more. Good blog. Jul xx

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Molly

May 20, 2019, 11:39 a.m.

Jul, did you think Madonna’s first song was out of tune? Xx

Lex

May 20, 2019, 12:22 p.m.

Hi Jules and Molly... we watched the semi-finals too and I believe there must have been an issue with the in-ear monitoring that the performers had. Many of them sang out of tune, and that's usually the cause. Long way of saying, yes, Madonna was out of tune! xx

Jul

May 20, 2019, 1:04 p.m.

Hi Molly. Unfortunately yes it was. I just thought it was because she was older. I didn't know the second one she sang. It's from her new album. Do you like Madonna? I do. Jul xx

Molly

May 20, 2019, 2:47 p.m.

That’s kind Lex, blaming the ear monitoring! But good point. Jul, I also thought it was because she is getting ‘past it’ but to be fair her second song sounded ok and even though her new album has been slated, I rather liked it. Yes I do like her. You may well know she’s on tour at the moment and apparently it’s really hard to get tickets so maybe she hasn’t lost it yet! Molly xx

Jul

May 21, 2019, 8:53 a.m.

I've entered a ballot to get tickets for her concerts in London in January 2020. Her videos of some of the songs on You Tube for her new album are great. Glad you like her! Jul xx

Jul

May 21, 2019, 8:53 a.m.

I was worried about her walking up and down those steps! Jul xx

Molly

May 21, 2019, 1:12 p.m.

That’s the tour I’m probably thinking of Jul, my friend has just been picked from the ballot, and got her ticket, good luck! Xx p.s. yes I remember when she fell that time!!

Jul

May 21, 2019, 3:24 p.m.

Oh no! I haven't heard yet. But maybe your friend is a member of of Madonna's ICON fan club. Jul xx

Jul

May 20, 2019, 7:02 a.m.

Hi Lex. Just thought. No war! I don't believe war or fighting has any merit at all. Jul xx

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Lex

May 20, 2019, 12:23 p.m.

Agreed, Jules... and I think we'd share strong principles like honesty, integrity, kindness... xx

Jul

May 20, 2019, 1:06 p.m.

Yes I agree. Thank you. Jules xx

The Gardener

May 20, 2019, 7:20 a.m.

Without gardening I think I might crumble. Huge pleasure to me and thousands of others over the years. The show on Saturday was not brilliant, except in its political message, which was the environment. They had a 'structure' for trailing plants. I have discovered old ladders etc which I shall convert to an 'igloo' for nasturtiums, ipomea, melons and courgettes. If it fails you will hear the yells in Dorset, Lex.xx

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Lex

May 20, 2019, 12:24 p.m.

Oooo, my imagination is 'seeing' your creativity! xx

Tutti Frutti

May 20, 2019, 7:24 a.m.

Hi Lex I will sometimes fight to stand up for other people. For example I thought that our study policy at work was unfair for someone I was managing and I eventually managed to get it changed (not without a lot of personal angst and delays while I got depressed about the whole situation but I stuck to it and was much more assertive than I would be for myself). Sometimes I think we can have unrealistic values though and give ourselves too much to live up to and that can damage our self esteem. I have ingrained beliefs like 'I must be competent at all aspects of my job at all times' and have spent a lot of time with my therapist trying to examine whether these beliefs are helpful (no because they make it really difficult to ask for help) and trying to soften them a bit to 'I prefer to' rather than 'I must'. I have by no means got there yet but at least I kind of know that I am not failing every time something goes wrong even though I haven't reached the stage of believing it deep down. An interesting subject Lex Love TF x

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Lex

May 20, 2019, 12:26 p.m.

Hi Tutti Frutti, I think Eric Liddell and The Shalva Band's stance was a bit easier than your tough beliefs like 'I must be competent at all aspects of my job at all times' - that's no one I'd want! I'd be proud of myself, however, for standing up for someone else. That's a good reason to esteem your principles highly! x

Tutti Frutti

May 20, 2019, 4:19 p.m.

Hi Lex I came back on to Moodscope in the hope of cheering up as I have been really anxious all day (lots of small hassly things for me and my daughter is in the middle of GCSEs) and have achieved very little. Thank you for your lovely reply. Love TF x

The Gardener

May 20, 2019, 7:54 a.m.

My mother did everything to destroy any self-esteem I had, my father encouraged it, luckily he won. It got badly dented at Christmas, only just struggling back to 'normal'. My m-in-law, who I considered really wicked, referred to Mr G as 'just a farmer' whilst heaping praise on the brilliant academic elder son. Luckily, Mr G found a 'niche' where he did brilliantly, so sucks to m-in-law. xx

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Lex

May 20, 2019, 12:27 p.m.

Agreed! Sucks to m-in-law xx

Orangeblossom

May 21, 2019, 5:19 a.m.

Hi The Gardener, your comments resonated for me are Parental authorities to some extent. My Mother-in-law never accepted me because I am not Anglo-Saxon & didn’t tell her what she wanted to hear. Wasn’t sufficiently deferential. I know that I have a slight difficulty with Parental authorities even now. My Mum, who is 89 now, leaves in the USA. Adores my brother who has recently become a Grandad of twins. Something else for Mum to glow about.

Melissa

May 20, 2019, 12:12 p.m.

Thank you so much for this post, Lex. Just beautiful. Thank you.

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Lex

May 20, 2019, 12:27 p.m.

Thank you, Melissa, and you're welcome.

Lexi

May 20, 2019, 12:35 p.m.

Morning Lex (well morning here!). I cannot abide by cruelty of any kind. Even in my worst depression if I see or hear of cruelty to any person or animal I feel the need to do something. It's the one thing that I'm not afraid to stand up for. Ironic, that. I can be my own worst enemy but I would never do that to another person. But perhaps that is part of what self esteem is all about - treating ourselves as we would another. Great post today xo

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Maggie May

May 20, 2019, 6:25 p.m.

Sorry Lex. I wish being principled were the same as having a high self esteem. Sadly I don’t. I am very principled about being kind to others , regardless of race , gender, etc. That doesn’t mean that I value myself or think I am worthy of love. I usually agree with you Lex , but not this time .

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Molly

May 20, 2019, 8:42 p.m.

I know where you are coming from Kath, as my comment above says, I think low self esteem is much deeper than that. I think Lex was trying to say that we should try and value ourselves more by concentrating on our good points. One of yours being from your comment is that you are kind to people and non judgmental. We might not feel it gives us ten points, but we can perhaps squeeze one out :-) xx

Maggie May

May 20, 2019, 6:25 p.m.

Sorry Lex. I wish being principled were the same as having a high self esteem. Sadly I don’t. I am very principled about being kind to others , regardless of race , gender, etc. That doesn’t mean that I value myself or think I am worthy of love. I usually agree with you Lex , but not this time .

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Mary Wednesday

May 20, 2019, 6:35 p.m.

I think that, when holding fast to one's principles means sacrifices it is hard to keep self esteem too. I won't ever work on a Sunday and I won't compromise my professional principles. That means I have sometimes turned work away, but I could not bear to do a bad job. Every time I have done this, I have felt empty and self-doubting for a while, but have known I would have felt worse if I had given in. I wish I could keep to my ideal of buying only ethically sourced food, but my budget does not allow for it. Or rather, I am too addicted to my current way of eating and I think my husband would divorce me if we ate lentils too often!

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Orangeblossom

May 21, 2019, 5:29 a.m.

Thanks for blog about self-esteem & sacrifice. It is a delicate balance. I believe that I can only develop my self-esteem to the extent of self-acceptance. None of the Parental authorities accepted me nor did they like me much. It did bring out the worst in me for awhile. I have learnt to come to terms with this especially as three of them aren’t alive any more. Mum lives in the States & I speak once a fortnight. She never has accepted me & is always trying to mould me into someone she can accept. In the process she has lost me.

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Norman

May 21, 2019, 10:01 a.m.

I kept my self-esteem and self-respect by not watching Eurovision, because it was a PR exercise for an abhorrent regime. My fellow feeling for my fellow Human Beings in Palestine remains intact.

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Liz

May 22, 2019, 7:10 a.m.

Hi Lex... love the description of the "wild dogs of depression". I've always been mad about those wild dogs - the actual painted dogs of African territory. I saw them as rather maligned and feared, but terrifically loyal to their own family group and very nurturing... although yes they are brilliant killing machines too working superbly within a well-oiled team so to speak! Your blog struck a particular chord with me about personal principles because I can see a different path opening up for me as something I am doing atm currently is at odds with those. It's to do with work. In some strange way I wonder whether it's me actually enabling this to happen through my attitudes. Sorry to sound so vague but you know when you are in something and it doesn't feel right, you either consciously or subconsciously make other things happen and it all works out in the end, or a curve ball gets thrown that you hadn't thought about but it is like a ripple effect in a pool. Hoping that ripple effect will work for me. The self-esteem thing has always been a bit of an issue for me but these days I try and look at myself in the mirror like a friend and think "you're not doing too bad there". Even though I drive myself daft, I would have myself as a friend definitely and that's a nice thing to think. Thank you for your blog today x

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R

Aug. 16, 2019, 12:21 p.m.

Im ashamed to admit there are times I regret not standing up for others or indeed myself. I guess I'm never sure of many things and when taking a stand is there a party left feeling aggrieved?

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