What “Doctor Who” Can Teach You About Self-Esteem

Historically, the Doctor has not been a scion of fashion.  His past incarnations have worn everything from yards-long scarves to black leather jackets to tweed.  The Doctor himself is a hard guy to look up to – yes, he’s heroic and clever and saves the world a lot, but he’s also an alien, with odd personality quirks, relationship issues, and tons of emotional baggage.  He has a tendency to put people in danger.  He talks in techno-babble and doesn’t always seem to know what he’s doing, yet he always manages to save the day.

Underneath the badassery and emotional detachment, though, there’s a lot to be learned from the Doctor’s unfailing bravado – and even his fashion sense.

1. “Bow ties are cool.”  When you’re the Doctor, the list of things you have to worry about more than style is extremely long.  Alien invasions and rescuing Amy again generally take priority over following the latest trends.  Besides, when you’re 900 years old, you’ve kinda gotten over worrying about what other people think of you.  So, when you see a style you like, you rock it, whether it’s bow ties, fezzes, or cowboy hats, and you don’t take any flak from anyone over it.

2. Always encourage your friends – and yourself.  One of my favorite traits about David Tennant as the Doctor was his fantastic hair lovely eyes general sexiness exuberant faith in the human race.  He’d go crazy over humanity’s drive to explore and improve itself.  The Doctor’s companions aren’t perfect – they make mistakes and he makes sure they learn their lesson – but ultimately his faith in their abilities drives them to stick with him and help him save the world.  He gives them a chance to do something amazing and truly universe-altering with their lives, just because he feels like bringing them along.  People accomplish great things around the Doctor when he’s there to encourage them to do it.  He knows they can, therefore they know they can.

Granted, you probably don’t have a sidekick to cheer on, but I bet you do have friends, and I bet your friends have dreams, just like you.  Think for a second, though, about how you’d react when your friend came to you feeling uncertainty about pursuing his or her dream.  You’d encourage them, right?  You’d tell them they were awesome and they could do it and you wouldn’t let them give up.  You’d be the Doctor to their “Donna the temp” who wants to do something amazing with her life.

Now think about what you tell yourself when you’re dealing with those thoughts of uncertainty.  You probably let the uncertainty win, right?  You make excuses and quit because you won’t be good at it, it’s too risky, etc.  But you wouldn’t tell your friends all that, would you?  Of course not – you want the best for them (unless their dream involves making kitten-fur coats or something).  You want them to succeed and be happy.  Try encouraging yourself the way you’d encourage a friend and see how it affects your mindset.

3. Companions’ dress code: nonexistant.  Since the 2005 reboot, I only think of one instance when a companion changed clothes to blend in with the era, and that was Martha for “Human Nature” and “The Family of Blood.”  Rose nearly got to for “Tooth and Claw,” but for the vast majority of the time, companions go cavorting through time and space wearing whatever came out of their 21st-century English closets.  The best part is apparently no one seems to notice.  The companions aren’t self-conscious about it and other than a passing remark, most of the people they encounter in Earth’s past aren’t too bothered, either.  I like to think the companions pick up on the Doctor’s world-saving priorities – either that or they’re just too caught up in their awesome adventures to fuss over what to wear, which is as it should be, no matter what kind of adventure you’re having.

4. Self-confidence wins the day.  The Doctor bluffs a lot and rarely responds to any threat with violence.  It’s reached a point where he can send whole alien armies running just by telling them who he is, all without resorting to actions he’ll feel bad about later – usually.  Try being just the teensiest bit arrogant next time you’re dealing with a problem, and see how much better you feel about tackling it.  Because you’re you.  Yeah, that’s right.  Who’s gonna mess with you?

5. Count your blessings.  Seriously.  The phrase gets tossed around a lot, but nothing makes you feel better about your life than taking the time to appreciate what’s in it.  It’s freakishly, frustratingly easy to get caught up in comparing our lives to others and feeling like we’re not worthwhile because we don’t weigh as much as so-n-so or we haven’t taken a meditative retreat to Tibet or built a compost bin or whatever.  And honestly, how many of us have moped just the tiniest bit because there’s no Doctor to come sweep us away on a time-traveling, world-saving adventure?  We’re stuck here, which is like, totally boring.  But, as the Doctor himself said, just living our everyday lives is “the one adventure I can never have.”  You’re having an adventure, and it’s your real life, happening right now.  You’re the only one who gets to do it the way you’re doing it.  That’s a pretty spectacular feeling.

Yeah, YOU. Adventuring. Allons-y!

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5 thoughts on “What “Doctor Who” Can Teach You About Self-Esteem

  1. One of my favorite things about the Doctor is that, whatever the situation, he gives the bad guys every chance to walk away. And if/when they don’t, only then does he use their own weapons and weaknesses against them. Good to remember when you’re tempted towards immediate provocation.

    • Absolutely. The Tenth Doctor hated guns, but I always found it more interesting that more often that not, he just doesn’t need them. He’s more interested in the nonviolent solution.

      Doesn’t stop him from committing genocide occasionally, but whatever…

  2. Okay, I completely love this post. We need to have a Doctor Who party soon. That dialogue on Rose’s outfit in Tooth and Claw (mostly the phrase “timorous beastie”) is one of my favourites for the whole season.

  3. Pingback: Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Glimpses of Me | Ruby Bastille

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