Blogging and Self-Esteem at BlogFest

Blogging and self-esteem needn’t be a fairy tale…

Once upon a time there was a girl who loved books, reading, creativity. She loved to write, but would never ever dream of sharing it with anyone.

She was very quiet and shy, and her teachers worried about her being in the big bad world because she was reluctant to put her hand up in class, and didn’t seem to believe in herself or her abilities.

One day, her A-Level English Literature class began to read The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. The girl was entranced: she had never read anything like it before. So began a appreciation and admiration of that author’s work that has endured for more than two decades.

During those intervening years, the girl grew into a woman and a mother. Slowly but surely she gained a greater belief in herself, because of an in spite of life events. Her self-esteem flourished (some of it from a ‘fuck it’ sensibility as a result of those life events).

She felt intoxicated by possibility, and that flourishing self-esteem led to the woman chairing a self-esteem round-table at a national blogging conference.

That meant her name was on the same speakers’ list, the same programme as Margaret Atwood (as well as some other very esteemed names). It was a special moment, and showed what can be achieved with self-belief, and a lot of hard work.

The woman didn’t live happily ever after – those life events have shown her that is not possible – but she understands that life is hers for the taking.

To follow her own path, be true to herself, to believe in herself.

The programme.

The programme.

Sorry, I fast-forwarded through the bit you, dear reader, probably want to know about most.

The event was Mumsnet’s Blogfest held last Saturday November 21 in London.

What happened at the blogging and self-esteem round table?

Doveroundtable

Picture taken by the Dove UK team, who kindly sponsored the round table (and gave us fab goodies!)

The lovely bloggers who attended gave varied responses to the question about what motivates them to blog:

“I have to!”

“It gives me time and space.”

“It gives me something for me.”

“It’s a flexible use of my spare time.”

“It gives me a sense of purpose, it makes me happier.”

Self-esteem is about how you value yourself, and the attitude you have towards yourself. While there are as many different motivations as there are stars in the sky, we share a common goal to have something for ourselves.

During our discussion, we talked about things like:

Perception

Define your own success by your own measurement. No one has it all sorted!

Validation – #NoLikesNeeded

Blogging (and social media) is sometimes used as a measure of validation and self-worth. Sometimes blogging and social media can show a curated view of life, and give the misleading impression that life is always perfect. This can make us feel a bit rubbish, especially if we’re a bit low.

We talked about how we can feel low and rubbish if our posts don’t get likes or comments. It’s not surprising that would have such an impact on our self-esteem because we put so much of ourselves in to our blogging work it can be difficult to not take that as a personal slight.

We chatted about the pressures young people have, especially with so much of their validation and self-worth seemingly measured by the engagement they receive on a selfie that took an average of 12 minutes (!!) to perfect.

Negative Comments and Trolling

As mentioned above, we bloggers – whatever we write about – put a lot of ourselves in to our work.

If not having any reaction or response stings, how does it feel when the response is mean, nasty, unkind?

Those who had received negative comments say it is horrid, and it hurts – of course it does. We wondered why people go to such an effort to be mean. A couple of bloggers said trolls really upset them at first, but now they just make them laugh because they are so ridiculous.

Mutual Support

The thread that tied the discussion together was mutual support. The group was lovely, and gelled really well together with respectful, kind dialogue.

Let’s have more of this across the community!

Sometimes the things we write about are very personal. We might feel sick when we press ‘publish’. But that post might raise awareness of a vital issue – it is a powerful thing to do. It might help someone else, it might help them feel less alone. That person might get in touch with you to say how much it helped them, and that is such a wonderful feeling!

Sometimes our friend might be the at the receiving end of negative comments. We can reach out to them, let them know they are valued and that the trolls are worthless. We can drown out the hate with love.

We can take a moment to make a comment on each others’ work to show them that their efforts are valued.

We can share each others’ work on social media, give each other a boost.

Thank you everyone who attended – you’re all lovely!

So, what can you do to give your self-esteem a boost?

These are a few tips gained from the session, and from life in general (yep, learnt the hard way….)

Do:

  • Value yourself! You are the only you. You are special, you have a unique contribution to make to the world.
  • Value what you do: if you want to write, find time, make time. Make compromises, sacrifices….
  • Believe in yourself! We are all doing the best we can.
  • Do what you want for you. Return to why you blog. Remember what you want to get out of it, and the time you realistically have to do it.
  • Cut loose those who drain us with negative energy.
  • Celebrate yourself! Blowing our own trumpet may be frowned upon but there is a difference between celebrating our achievements, being proud of ourselves, respecting ourselves, and having a big head – and we need to learn what that difference is. Build your self-esteem, believe your own hype!

Don’t:

  • Don’t compare (too much) – it can give us inspiration, something to aspire to. But don’t let it take over, distract from being you. Just because some bloggers have higher stats than you, are in the finals for awards and you’re not, or get opportunities you’d love to have – it does not immediately follow that you are rubbish. Remember that for some things there are only so many places; that sometimes it’s just luck (or favouritism or nepotism) – and that some work every hour God sends, and get themselves out there. There will be opportunities for you right around the corner, especially if you believe in yourself. If you allow the thought that others are better than you to fester it will affect your self-esteem, and how many opportunities are likely to come knocking then?
  • Don’t worry too much about having a ‘niche’. Or if you do have an identified niche, remember it’s not set in stone. I have previously pondered on whether I am a ‘mummy blogger’ because Hugo died means I have no living child to write about, and it limited the mummy blogging things I could get involved with. It damaged my confidence as a person. Then I decided to not label myself and write about what I wanted to write about when I wanted to write it. I sometimes see bloggers saying they’d love to write about a, b, and c, but they feel they can’t because they’re an x,y, or z niche blogger. So what? If it’s meaningful to you, write about it. Who knows where it might lead? Believe in yourself and go for it.

Is there anything you would add?

I may not have what I want, but I am fortunate to have wonderful friends to spend time with, who respect my work and support what I do. And I try to stay true to myself, respect myself.

It is not easy, but we can all be intoxicated by our own possibilities if we peel the layers off berating ourselves for what we are not, and instead focus on doing whatever is in our power to get ourselves to where we want to be, who we want to be, surrounding ourselves with people who make us feel good too.

And if that quiet girl whose tutors worried about can get on the agenda for a huge national conference, imagine what you can do, too?

MeandboardBlogfest

That’s me, that is.

 

And then the fun began...
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31 Comments on Blogging and Self-Esteem at BlogFest

    • Leigh
      December 5, 2015 at 12:00 pm (1 year ago)

      Thanks Emma! xx

      Reply
    • Leigh
      December 5, 2015 at 12:01 pm (1 year ago)

      That’s really kind, thank you xxx

      Reply
  1. Jenny
    December 1, 2015 at 12:05 pm (1 year ago)

    What a lovely motivating post. It sounds like you got a lot out of Blogfest as I do every year I love it. It was so lovely to see you darling!!! 🙂 Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me. #sharewithme
    Jenny recently posted…Me & Mine {November}My Profile

    Reply
    • Leigh
      December 1, 2015 at 4:09 pm (1 year ago)

      It was lovely to see you sweetpea! I really enjoyed Blogfest and got a lot from it, I’m glad to hear you did too xxx

      Reply
  2. Verily Victoria Vocalises
    November 28, 2015 at 9:15 am (1 year ago)

    I am so sorry I missed your session Leigh – I am sure you can understand why! Your tips all sound like things that I am putting into practice right now so it is great to see that I am on the right path. It was so great to see you xx
    Verily Victoria Vocalises recently posted…Are You a Dangerous Driver Because of Your Vision?My Profile

    Reply
  3. Rachel
    November 26, 2015 at 2:03 pm (1 year ago)

    I’m so glad I attended this session. I came away with some great advice and I made some lovely blogging friends! Thanks Leigh for hosting this session xx
    Rachel recently posted…Fitness as a beginnerMy Profile

    Reply
    • Leigh
      November 26, 2015 at 2:13 pm (1 year ago)

      I’m glad you attended too, Rachel! Thank you for your valuable, honest contributions lovely xxx

      Reply
  4. Katie / Pouting In Heels
    November 25, 2015 at 8:25 pm (1 year ago)

    Leigh…I am so proud of you. As one of the most genuine, lovely, talented and inspirational bloggers I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting, I was truly delighted to see you on the agenda but also gutted to have missed you. (That will teach me not to put my name down in time!). These points that you’ve kindly shared are so brilliant and are a must read for everyone, not just bloggers. It’s taken years to get my self esteem to a healthy level and one thing is for sure, blogging has certainly helped with that. Well done on such a brilliant achievement. That quiet, shy girl has developed into one hell of a woman. X
    Katie / Pouting In Heels recently posted…OUR NEW ADDITION…? A CHRISTMAS TREE!My Profile

    Reply
    • Leigh
      November 26, 2015 at 2:14 pm (1 year ago)

      Aw Katie that is just the loveliest comment – thank you! It was an amazing opportunity, something I could never have imagined doing just a few short years ago xxx

      Reply
  5. Sunita H (LuckyThingsUK
    November 25, 2015 at 8:17 pm (1 year ago)

    Wow Leigh so glad I came across your post. As a newbie blogger I am having lots of fun but naturally worry about whether people find my new blog interesting. I’ve learned a lot from this post. If I hadn’t been ill at the weekend I was close to turning up at BlogFest on my own. I’m actually excited about coming along next year and getting to meet so many inspiring bloggers in person. Xx
    Sunita H (LuckyThingsUK recently posted…I heart Shoreditch street art – buggy walk (part 1)My Profile

    Reply
    • Leigh
      November 26, 2015 at 2:15 pm (1 year ago)

      Hi Sunita, so sorry you missed Blogfest! What a shame you were poorly. Glad you learned from the post, and hope you can come along next time xxx

      Reply
  6. Honest mum
    November 25, 2015 at 4:58 pm (1 year ago)

    This is wonderful Leigh and you are so right, you don’t need a niche, your voice and take on the world is your niche, and you and we must never feel we can’t share that, it is up to us what we want to write about and labels are useless. I am so sad to have missed hearing you speak. You are an amazing, smart, talented woman who inspires us all, so touched to call you a friend x
    Honest mum recently posted…Wonderful Women Interview with Author & Blogger Natalie TriceMy Profile

    Reply
    • Leigh
      November 26, 2015 at 2:16 pm (1 year ago)

      Thank you so much lovely Vicki, what a wonderful comment. We really do have to make our own way according to who we are and where we want to go. I feel the same way about you xxx

      Reply
  7. Morgan Prince
    November 25, 2015 at 2:41 pm (1 year ago)

    It does sound like it was a great session, as Maddy said there was just so much to see that it wasn’t possible to do everything. It was great to meet you though Leigh and you are just as lovely as I thought you’d be. Hopefully we’ll get to chat a bit more next time. xx
    #sharewithme
    Morgan Prince recently posted…Thoughts on Blogfest ’15My Profile

    Reply
    • Leigh
      November 26, 2015 at 2:12 pm (1 year ago)

      Aw bless you Morgan it was lovely to meet you too. Those events are always so hectic there’s never enough time to do everything or to speak to everyone you want to! xx

      Reply
    • Leigh
      November 26, 2015 at 2:12 pm (1 year ago)

      Thanks John! x

      Reply
  8. Natalie @ Little Jam Pot Life Blog
    November 25, 2015 at 1:33 pm (1 year ago)

    I absolutely loved reading this. I have low self esteem most times just because I want to achieve so much. but when I look at the bigger picture I have already achieved so much in ‘my real life’ that anything else that comes (with hard work) is a bonus. Great tips and I wish I was able to attend Blogfest! x
    Natalie @ Little Jam Pot Life Blog recently posted…Ten worries I have for my fourth pregnancy.My Profile

    Reply
    • Leigh
      November 26, 2015 at 2:12 pm (1 year ago)

      I’m so glad you enjoyed reading it Natalie! Step by positive step we can all improve our self-esteem xxx

      Reply
  9. Sam
    November 24, 2015 at 9:10 pm (1 year ago)

    Eek – so exciting to be on the same bill as some huge names and in particular Margaret Atwood!! You are such a shining light when it comes to advocating on self esteem – I wish I’d been there to join in. I think I would have got a lot from that. Thanks so much for linking up to #thetruthabout Leigh 🙂 Xx
    Sam recently posted…The Truth about… #53My Profile

    Reply
    • Leigh
      November 26, 2015 at 2:10 pm (1 year ago)

      Thanks Sam, it was so exciting and I couldn’t quite believe my eyes! Thanks for your kind comment xx

      Reply
  10. Maddy@writingbubble
    November 24, 2015 at 9:40 am (1 year ago)

    Well done Leigh – a wonderful post celebrating a fabulous achievement! Your round table sounds fantastic, I wish I’d come along – there was so much to see and do though and it was impossible to do everything. I really wish I’d met you, but if we end up in the same building again I’ll be sure to track you down for a chat. xx

    Reply
    • Leigh
      November 26, 2015 at 2:09 pm (1 year ago)

      Thank you Maddy! It was an action-packed day wasn’t it, really not possible to see or do everything. Hope to meet you next time! xxx

      Reply
  11. You Baby Me Mummy
    November 23, 2015 at 5:39 pm (1 year ago)

    It was such a great session and a really lovely group. Well done huni you have achieved so much xxx
    You Baby Me Mummy recently posted…Living Arrows 47My Profile

    Reply
    • Leigh
      November 24, 2015 at 8:33 am (1 year ago)

      Thanks so much lovely, and for coming too! xxx

      Reply
  12. Nicky Kentisbeer
    November 23, 2015 at 5:15 pm (1 year ago)

    A beautifully inspirational read. Congratulations on being the one! Nicky

    Reply
    • Leigh
      November 24, 2015 at 8:34 am (1 year ago)

      Thank you! xx

      Reply
  13. Ting at My Travel Monkey
    November 23, 2015 at 4:23 pm (1 year ago)

    Yes, I must try not to compare. That mantra is said a lot in my head and not just in the blogging world! I am so proud you chaired the roundtable, I am only sorry I didn’t get to take part! Lovely to see you and sage advice, I shall try and believe more in myself x
    Ting at My Travel Monkey recently posted…Reviewed: Dubai Hire 4 BabyMy Profile

    Reply
    • Leigh
      November 24, 2015 at 8:35 am (1 year ago)

      Yes! Lovely Ting you are special as we are all special in our own way – we must not compare! Thanks so much lovely, hope the advice is beneficial to you xxx

      Reply

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