It is a common misconception among the mainstream crowd that Goths are, as a whole, awkward, shy, socially retarded little flowers who generally don’t think much of themselves, their lives, or the world at large. However, few of us will agree with this assessment per se, and I put it to you that actually becoming a Goth, if that is your thing, and Goth culture as a whole can actually help to build your self-esteem and make you happier.
I would conjecture that that is the case for the vast majority of Goths- even if you don’t necessarily think about it on a daily basis.
So with this in mind, I’m going to cover four of the points that I consider to be the most valid regarding how Goth builds self-esteem. The Everyday Goth has a list of her own for you to consider as well, here.
Being true to yourself
Being in any type of closet, be it a sexual or gendered one, a religious one, or a cultural one, is no good whatsoever for your mental health. It isn’t too much to ask for, I don’t think, for it to be ok for people to be true to who they are and express it in the ways that they wish to, and this is never more true than with Goth culture itself.
If you feel like a Goth trapped in a pastel wardrobe or that you are not able to fully explore and take your own path through the world from your own personal viewpoint, the chances are that you’re going to end up feeling stifled, unheard, and generally out of place.
Once you release yourself from these constraints by allowing yourself to thoroughly splash around in the sea of all things Goth, if that floats your boat, you’re apt to feel generally more comfortable and at home with yourself as a whole.
Learning about navigating the world as a member of an alt culture
Communication, negotiation and meeting people where they are, not where you want them to be, are all important life skills for everyone. Tackling the world as an overt Goth can also throw up a range of challenges in terms of people’s perceptions of you and what your life is about, as well as often leading to negotiation and compromise over things like work-appropriate attire and pretty much anything else you can think of too.
Goth life throws you in at the deep end, and lets you get right on with doing all of this; the chances are it won’t always go smoothly and you’ll cock up now and again, but you’re still learning some important skills that will stand you in good stead for life.
These blog posts on talking to your parents about being Goth and how to manage with a non-Goth partner are both excellent- well I would say that, I wrote them. Seriously, “read it, it’s dead good.”
Meeting like-minded people
“Nobody understands me!” Cried every teenager, everywhere.
If you’re heading down the Goth pathway, however, you are probably used to feeling as if you think differently, perceive differently and are often very isolated, even compared to other people from similar walks of life.
However, there is a mahoosive Goth culture right outside the door just waiting to be found, or a click away on your PC if you’re not keen to leave the house. Goth life means that you are highly unlikely to live in your own little bubble, and it is almost impossible to avoid meeting other Goths both in real life and online, allowing you to build up relationships with other twisted little flowers who share the same values as you. If you’re not sure where to start, try Goth Meetup, or the Goth.net forums.
Exploring the darkness- let it all out!
If you have something of a dark personality and want to explore the parameters of that obsession, being told to cheer the fuck up and go and help at the church fate is literally the least helpful advice in the world. Goth culture normalises and accepts the obsession with the darkness within, and encourages you to accept it, get comfortable with it and really roll around in it.
This in and of itself can be very freeing, taking away the taboo nature of things, and again, allowing you to grow as a person and build your self-esteem.
What has Goth done for you? Do tell!