Music has always touched me. If I’m feeling sad, I can listen to selections that will allow me to wallow in my misery, or move me from my grief back to feelings of happiness. And then there are the selections that I use for empowerment. These, I think, may be the most useful of all. Not just for me, but for many.
Some songs remind me that I should never give up; if I fail, as I’m working toward a task or a goal, I’ll lick my wounds, give myself the time necessary to take a deep breath, and then I’ll start the search for another path that will help me accomplish whatever I feel is so important. And when I need extra encouragement, I will gratefully accept inspiration from lyrics such as those offered in Brian McKnight’s song, Win. Those words remind me that, when all else fails, I need to look inside myself for strength. Yes, I will take care to insure that neither my words nor actions compromise anyone else, but I then need to move forward with confidence, care, and moral compass in place to achieve my desired outcomes.
Certainly, there are times when I have felt that all was lost. Times when I wasn’t even sure that I could emotionally survive the loss, defeat, or heartbreak. That’s when songs like Katy Perry’s Part of Me or Grace VanderWaal’s Clay helped bring me back to a place of strength, although in very different ways. Perry’s lyrics in this song, and in many of her songs, inspire power and a confidence to many who feel they don’t belong. Who think they’re just different enough that they’re never going to be accepted by mainstream groups; something that I think most of us, if we’re truthful, feel at one time or another. Perry’s songs help us feel otherwise, and remind us that there’s nothing wrong with being different.
And Grace VanderWaal, as such a young artist, has taken these thoughts one step further, reminding us all that the words or actions of others, whether by the obvious bully or someone who is a little sneakier about it, do not have the power to take us down. What they say, how they say it…we need never give anyone such power over us that we doubt our own self-worth. Eventually, we will find the inner-strength required to walk away and be true to who we are and be our most authentic selves.
Finally, lyrics like those found in Rachel Platten’s Fight Song remind me to always believe in myself. At the end of the day, I know I matter. My words, my thoughts and my feelings matter. I will celebrate, survive, or mourn whatever comes into my world, but, without a doubt, I will survive. And I will have no problem using the lyrics of songs to remind me of the power I hold within.
Photograph by Averie Woodard.