There are times when we feel like we’re drowning. We’re trying to tread water but our body feels heavy and we’re on the verge of letting the waves wash over us. Sometimes we’re giving into those voices inside our heads and other times we’re giving into the voices of others, telling us we’re not good enough. But we need to hold onto whatever has got us this far, whether it’s passion, love, confidence, belief, courage. We need to tune out those voices and play our fight song. Because you are good enough. You are strong. You can do this. You still have it in you. Prove those voices wrong.
Birdy’s captivating voice coupled with emotional lyrics make her single ‘Words as Weapons’ an inspirational treasure. Words are a lot more powerful than we give them credit for. They move people. They stay with people. They transcend generations. A simple phrase can lift someone up or tear them apart, drive a mass of people forward or hold them back. They heal and they scald. With those piercing, blistering, cruel words directed at us, we should take Birdy’s advice: to have no fear and to shed no tears. When we take control of how words affect us, that is when we triumph over the power the words possess. When we rise above them by valuing ourselves, when we ignore them by focusing on our own opinions, and when we do not allow them to push us down, we convert those words into fuel and passion. Don’t let the words trap you. You decide what’s best for you.
You use your words as a weapon dear, but your blades don’t hurt when you have no fear. You think that you’re deep under my skin, you’re trying to keep me suffering. If you use your words as a weapon, then as a weapon, I’ll shed no tears.
It is no wonder that Imagine Dragon’s acclaim is rooted in their leading single, ‘It’s Time’, a song packed with lyrical lessons to inspire all of us who are hanging onto anxiety or uncertainty about the future. Sometimes we find ourselves lost and confused, in an in-between state or at a fork in the road. Sometimes we are scared of losing what we leave behind or scared of what is to come. Sometimes we find ourselves on a path that isn’t the one we imagined, whether it be from pursuing a path we did not want for ourselves or pursuing the path we thought we wanted. It can be exhausting, and sometimes we haven’t even started yet.
Life is turbulent no matter where we are. Making decisions and actually following them through can be emotional. But do not let that stop you from beginning and following your heart. Try, let go, don’t hold back and don’t look back.We do not need to follow the conventional path or that which does not fulfil our ambitions. We don’t need to compromise ourselves for other people. Never give up on the life you imagine, no matter how many times it changes. We might have to journey through miles of clouded hell to reach the top, and we might get knocked down before we get there. There is always a chance to begin and begin again – it is our choice to take it. Failing once, failing twice, doesn’t reduce us to ashes. If it does, we will be reawakened. It is okay to change our minds. Turbulence is okay. Through all the trials, heartbreak, anxiety, fear, never change who you are.
It is amazing to think that music has the immense power to influence our moods, thoughts and actions. They can pick us up and console us. Britt Nicole’s upbeat and powerful anthem, ‘Gold’, along with her slower but equally powerful, ‘The Sun is Rising’, are perfect examples. They give vitality to those who are determined and driven but who need the encouragement to keep going. They are for those who need a lift, who need a splash of confidence, who need somebody to believe in them. They are a reminder that we are never trapped alone in the darkness and that the darkness will dissipate. Never give up on yourself or underestimate your worth. You have meaning and purpose. You are beautiful, both on the inside and outside.
‘The Sun is Rising’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGBNAylWe1I
Kelly Clarkson has a number of powerful anthems, but ‘People Like Us’ is perhaps one of her most relatable singles. We have all had those times of self-doubt after being kicked down by someone’s insensitivity. We’ve all had those moments of failure, when we wonder whether there is any point in trying anymore. We’ve all had those times of loneliness, where we feel as if nobody understands us and that we are left to fight our battles on our own. We’ve all had those moments of isolation, feeling different and unaccepted. We are not alone. People will always try to criticise, judge and bring others down for the things they cannot understand, for the things they are insecure about or fearful of. And worst of all, we begin to believe them, becoming our own worst enemies. But we cannot let those people rule our lives. This is the time for picking ourselves back up, the moment for learning from our experiences, and the time for ignoring the hate and skepticism. It is ok to be different. Never give up on what you believe in and what you want to achieve. We are always in control. Your opinion is as valuable as anybody else’s. Take your turn.
Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0AV8lxGjdZ0 (also on iTunes and Spotify!)
Little kids often dream of being heroes. In many cases, this involves superpowers, physical battles and life-and-death situations. Perhaps these dreams soon dissolve when we realise that life is actually somewhat ordinary and the idea of being a hero is too exotic. But every everyday person can be a hero, no fearlessness or sacrifice needed. Everyday life has potential for heroic moments, no superpowers, battles or life-and-death situations necessary. Of course, there are brave men and women that are fighting for our countries and protecting people’s lives. They are heroes. But heroic acts do not need to be monumental. Some of our actions may seem small to us but they are contributing to something monumental: giving a homeless person food or a blanket, working at an organisation that invests in research for deadly diseases, helping a younger sibling out, or talking with a lonely elderly person. They might not seem like the matter to you, but they make a difference to someone else. And that is heroic.
Heroes by Alesso ft Tove Lo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8VnWMGdKMnQ
There are so many of Tim McMorris’s songs that are soaked with optimism and inspiration: ‘Give Our Dreams Their Wings to Fly’, ‘Dream Again’, ‘Shape the World’ or ‘Music My Life’ and so on. McMorris’s ‘The World Is Yours’ similarly urges us to live freely, to live without fear, to live to your expectations, to live being true to yourself, and to keep fighting, because the world is yours. Take it and embrace it.
I firmly believe that once we give everything we have to life and the world, life and the world will reward us by giving everything it has to offer. We need to follow our heart, not the crowd, unless the crowd is where our heart is. If we do not give up or back down, if we keep trying despite the odds and despite people who don’t believe in us, life will set us on the right path. Not everyone’s right path is the same. There is never a set path to success, accomplishment or fulfilment. They cannot be rushed. We may find ourselves waiting for a chance or waiting for a moment. They are full of mistakes, left or right hand turns and going back on ourselves. But if we don’t give up after all that, we are taking life into our own hands. We are weaving it and engraving it. And that is the best position we can ever be in.
The World Is Yours clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nS4w-mGwes (with the full version available on Spotify and iTunes)
Giver Our Dreams Their Wings to Fly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2plKHH84Tw
And all his music available on iTunes and Spotify!!
Cimorelli’s ‘You’re Worth It’ is one of those songs that says everything I would want to be able to say to someone and to myself. It bares everything that we cannot recognise or believe in ourselves and everything that we don’t say often enough to one another.
Whatever society dictates, we are not defined by our outward appearance. We are more than a surface or a body. And whatever other people try to pin on us, we are not defined by their opinion. We are more than a classification or a story.
Worth is not something that someone gives to us. Worth is not something we need to earn or something we deserve. We are already worth much more than we know, even if we don’t believe we are. We are the only ones who stand in our way. Worth is something that cannot be unwillingly taken away. Worth is a lifestyle choice; worth is something we need to remind ourselves of every day. Be brave and love yourself. It doesn’t make you conceited. It means you value your life, and once you value your life, you will do everything it takes to make it the best it can be.
For me, Sundays are about relaxing, re-grouping and reflecting. They are about being still and living simply. Sundays are also about getting inspired and motivated for the week ahead. For me, music and YouTube combine all these threads together. Today, I wanted to share one of my favourite singers on YouTube, Megan Nicole, who started out as a YouTuber and has written a beautiful song called ‘Courageous’ for her newly released EP, Escape. It is about overcoming adversity and hurt. It is about accepting the many emotions, the ups and downs, and the imperfections. It is about being courageous despite the words and past mistakes. In the end, we are the only ones in our own way; we can all be courageous. And that is the attitude we should not only start the week with but start every day with! So let’s begin the week with the bravery to embark on new adventures, grab the opportunities we want to take, and allow ourselves to be happy. We deserve it.
‘Courageous’ and the rest of the album is available on iTunes and Spotify!
Carrie Underwood’s ‘Temporary Home’ may be slightly sadder on the surface compared to most of my picks for Song of the Week, but I think this song carries such simple and powerful messages about life. Even if we strip away some of the Christian layers wrapped around the song, I think the idea of temporality that fuels this song can both comfort and motivate us throughout our lives.
We are only given one life and it doesn’t last forever. We may be put in a place where we don’t flourish the way we want to, but it is our right to stand up for ourselves and to search for what we want in life until we find it. Not every chapter is going to be story-book perfect or a page-turner, but those bad or anxious or scary situations will not last forever. We have the strength and determination to climb out of darker places. As often as we can, we must make the most of life, we should let go of fear and expectation and live life to its potential, soaking in all the opportunities and possibilities. Lastly, we should appreciate everything and everyone we have in our lives and cherish them in any way that we can, because we never know how long we will be able to revel in their company or tell them how much we owe them. Everyone is only given one life and it doesn’t last forever. It may be sad, but that doesn’t mean we give up; we just love, live and laugh even harder.