Head Held High – True Essence of the Concept

The phrase head held high literally means a state where one is not ashamed or humiliated with the efforts the put into something. That means, if you step forward to try something, there is no negative force holding you back. It is the negative force that whispers self critical remarks such as ‘What if this is not right?’ or ‘Don’t try, you will be mocked if it goes wrong.’

The Before and After Elements

Hence, holding ones head high has a twofold meaning. It plays a useful role in the before and the after of a situation. Let’s make this abstract statement a bit more concrete with an example. Everyone who has been to school and sat on the benches while listening to the day’s lesson must have cooked up a question in their mind. However, the question was never asked out loud because of multiple fears. These fears are subjective but mostly they revolve around social anxiety and make up the ‘before’ element of the scenario.

Now imagine that somehow you found the courage to throw in the question that you had in mind.  Your question had all your class mates and teachers raise their eye brows. It was a fairly simple and basic question, and the reaction made you feel ashamed and humiliated. “Everyone knew and only I didn’t’ is probably how you might criticize yourself. This is the ‘after’ element of the scenario.

Now, the concept of head held high helps you deal with the before and the after elements in the following manner:

Note: the following analysis of the situation can easily be generalized.


These are the factors that hold us back from moving forward in life. These are fears and anxieties. These factors include the thoughts such as ‘What will others say.’ Many of us are kept away from working at our full potential because of these anxieties and fears. Fear of the society, the need to please others or the need to appear smart and intelligent, in reality keep us from achieving many different things in life. In short, the before is a pointless barricade that serves as an obstacle for a fast approaching transformation.

The head held high concept serves as a shield. You know that if you wear this armor, you will be able to defend yourself in the battlefield of trial and error. When you plan to hold your head high before you even face the challenge, you mentally prepare yourself to take a blow or a bow from the world. Mental preparation is necessary as you tell yourself ‘No matter what, if I fail at this or if this is different from my own understanding of things- this does not define me or my intelligence or my capabilities.’

Here is a quick tip for the ‘before’ factor. Give yourself a session of warm and realistic prep talk. Tell yourself how you are brave and will be able to deal with whatever direction the upcoming scenario is likely to take. Tell yourself clearly that you will hold your head high because you know your self worth is not defined by anyone or anything.


These are the factors that make you feel guilty. These include many self judgment factors such as ‘Why did I do that’ and the like. These are worse than the ‘before’ elements because they crush down your motivation for trying. These self criticisms keep you from trying and putting an effort into anything the next time.

Another strong and undesirable element in the ‘after’ bit is the reaction that is received from the external sources. Several times these reactions are tinted with great amounts of negativity and serve as a validation for feelings of humiliation.

The head held high concept helps you from feeling guilty.  If the situation goes wrong or if it goes against you or anything unexpected arises out of the situation, you can easily counter all of these negativities with a brave heart. For a brave heart, you would need to see the positive and brighter side of the situation. Everyone learns from their mistakes and evolves and grows. If you take the negativity more seriously than what you have gained, you are likely to lose your sense of self and your self worth easily.

Here is a quick tip for the ‘after’ factor. Look at what you managed to gain after failing. It is impossible for a situation to be void of a learning experience. It is more about the lens you wear to look at a situation. Wear the self beneficial lens, for yourself. Pick out the positive from the situation and see how it gives you the courage to grow and maintain and also increase your self worth.

Without your Consent

It is a well known fact that no one can make you upset without your consent. No one can take away your sense of self and self worth without your consent. Therefore, when you hold your head high, even you yourself cannot take away your pride and your self image.

Sense of Humor

Make use of the best remedy in the house, laughter. Holding your head high does not in any way have to be done arrogantly or in a haughty manner. It can be done in a light headed and light hearted manner and that is when you can add a bit of a sense of humor when facing problems or difficulties. Before stepping into a situation, do so in a jolly manner. Once you step out of it, even with disappointment or failure accompanying you, laugh it off. It is believed that only individuals with a high amount of intelligence can throw in humor in the most difficult of situations.

Maintaining Self Worth

Use this quick tip to keep your head high during difficult times. When in doubt about self worth, bring to mind all of the good things that others have said about you. Gather all of the compliments and positive remarks and take a moment to run them over. Know that they were said for a reason. External validation will help you maintain and calm down an internal turmoil. Focus on the positives and you will manage to keep your head high!

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