How Ted Lasso Shows Why We All Deserve to Be Loved

Lucy Broadbent
on 13 April 2023

Lucy Broadbent, author of What Would Ted Lasso Do?, is reviewing each episode of Ted Lasso and here she explains how it shows us why we all deserve to be loved.

Ted Lasso
Lucy Broadbent With Her New Book What Would Ted Lasso Do?

There are times when television surpasses itself. When it moves us so forcefully that our hearts shift gear, when it asks us to be more than just passive viewers.  Episode five of Ted Lasso delivers a lesson as profound as anything written in great literature.

“The problem is we’ve all got so much junk floating through us, a lot of times we end up getting in our own way. Crap like envy, fear, shame….” Ted says to his soccer team who are struggling. “Well, I don’t want to mess around with that shit anymore.”

Ted Lasso
Ted Lasso shows us why we all deserve to be loved

Ted Lasso is awakening to the idea that, like his team and like the rest of us, he’s a work “in progmess” (sic), as he calls it.  It was Sassy who had called him a mess in a previous episode, which seemed to take him by surprise and make him self-reflect.  Now he’s ready to tackle it, taking us with him on his journey of self-improvement.

“You know what I want to mess around with,” he says, as if a fire has awakened within him, removing his mask of affability for a few moments, and suddenly making him seem like an amalgamation of all the great of the orators who have ever set their goal at inspiration.   “I want to mess around with the belief that I matter, regardless of what I do or don’t achieve.

“And the belief that we all deserve to be loved…. And what about the belief of hope?  Believing that things can get better, that I can get better, that we will get better.  Oh man… to believe in yourself, to believe in one another.  Man, that’s fundamental to being alive. And you know if you can do that, if each of you can truly do that, nobody can rip that apart.”

Ted Lasso

The show has won an abundance of praise for its efforts to destigmatize mental health concerns and open the cultural conversation around the issue.   Ted struggles with anxiety and childhood trauma – nothing new to tv drama.  But it’s the highlighting of Ted’s frailties and insecurities which make him such a successful tv character because they make him so relatable.  We recognise his struggles because we know similar ourselves. 

In this episode we see Ted mastering a firmer control over his panic attacks, using breathing exercises, and telling himself that everything is okay.  But it’s his speech on self-belief that really packs the punch.

Believing in ourselves, or self-efficacy as psychologists call it, has always been a central theme to the show and also a part of the Positive Psychology Movement which addresses the fact that it is easy for any one of us to be overly harsh and critical of ourselves and our perceived failings.  If we are always comparing ourselves to others, or feeling fearful or shameful, then that cycle of negative thinking can spiral, according to psychologists, making us feel bad about ourselves.

The way out is to intentionally decide to think differently.  Experts recommend practising positive self-talk.  The more self-kindness and self-compassion you can foster, the more equipped you will be to help those around you in the same way.

And believing in yourself has been proven to work. “People’s beliefs about their abilities have a profound effect on those abilities,” wrote the late Professor Albert Bandura, past Professor Emeritus at Stanford University. “Ability is not a fixed property; there is a huge variability in how you perform.”

In other words, if you think you can do something, you have a better chance of being able to do it. Believe, Ted tells us.  And he’s right.

Quotes from literary greats on the same subject:

“We need never be ashamed of our tears.” Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens. 1890.

“You are your best thing,” Beloved, by Tony Morrison. 1987.

“The only lies for which we are truly punished are those we tell ourselves.” In a Free State, by V.S. Naipaul. 1971.

“Anyone who ever gave you confidence, you owe them a lot.” Breakfast At Tiffany’s, by Trueman Capote. 1958.

“Sometimes we get sad about things and we don’t like to tell other people that we are sad about them. We like to keep it a secret. Or sometimes, we are sad but we really don’t know why we are sad, so we say we aren’t sad but we really are.” The Curious Incident of the Dog in The Night-Time, by Mark Haddon. 2003.

“What do you think is the biggest waste of time?”
“Comparing yourself to others”, said the mole.”  The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy. 2019.

Ted Lasso Season 3 is currently streaming on Apple TV+.

Read Lucy Broadbent’s interview with Hannah Waddingham here.

Hannah Waddingham
Hannah Waddingham Courtesy of the Oliver Awards

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