- "My Way" by Frank Sinatra
"The record shows I took the blows / And did it my way."
How many times did you curse yourself under your breath because you hadn't listened to your track of thought? People will always have something to say and voice their opinions, but at the end of the day, you're the only one who knows what's best for your life. Sometimes we're so caught up in what others have to say and way too self-conscious to believe in our dreams and aspirations, but taking that leap of faith will eventually prove to be better in the long run. As Andre Agassi said, "It's easier to live with disappointment than regret."
Almost a year ago, I spiraled into an awful and dark place. I was unable to leave my bed and do anything other than cry. My classmates thought that I was intentionally running away from school and that I had more time to study. My professors thought that I was using their goodwill. My parents believed that I was acting out and being manipulative. The truth is that I was depressed, and I needed help. Only when I realized that I was the only one who could help me did the tables turn. I started applying to different events outside of school and discovered there's more to life than what I was initially limited to and conditioned to tolerate. Yesterday, I received an honors diploma. Don't let others define the rules of your game.
- "Younger and Dumber" by Indigo De Souza
"When I was younger / Younger and prouder / I was nobody / You came to hurt me in all the right places / Made me somebody."
This is a perfect song for people who are still finding their path and reflecting upon the past.
As children, we are like empty pieces of paper (tabula rasa, as John Locke would say). Without the necessary experience, it's easy to be proud and flamboyant. Shameful experiences and intense conversations, all the back-stabbing and lies, made us more wary and sensitive with the progression of time.
We all probably have that one person who changed us to the core by leaving or directly facing us with our shortcomings. The truth is that we would never be who we are today were it not for those individuals. Grieving for what once was is understandable, but being grateful for the same is the hardest part of the healing process.
- "Face It Alone" by Queen
"When the moon has lost its glow / You have to face it all alone."
The only person you can entirely count on is yourself. This song reminded me that kindred spirits are few and far between. It's not often that you come across someone who truly knows how to love you and is ready to embrace the responsibilities that come with a relationship or a friendship. Even when you are compatible, there's no such thing as telepathy. It's your responsibility to communicate and navigate through day-to-day issues. The other person cannot read your thoughts. Even with a supportive circle around you, you'll still bear the full brunt of your emotions. Some argue that healthy love/friendship boils down to this quote made by Ram Dass:
"I can do nothing for you but to work on myself... you can do nothing for me but work on yourself!"
- "Amused to Death" by Roger Waters
"But on eliminating every other reason / For our sad demise / They logged the only explanation left / This species has amused itself to death."
This song inspired Neil Postman to write the book with the same title, describing our present world. It's eerily similar to George Orwell's cautionary tale, "Nineteen Eighty-Four."
Technology has occupied every single aspect of our lives. A decade ago, finding crucial information took ages. This situation is easily avoidable now - with a quick Google search. That is not to say that technology is intrinsically detrimental. It just goes out to show how advanced it had all become. Using AI tools or other assets provided online became the norm. Our attention span is significantly shorter. We don't know how to have fun once we are offline. Detached from reality and devoid of interactive experience, more and more people report feeling anxious, misunderstood, and socially awkward. What can we do to refrain from constantly checking our phones?
The first step is all about being aware of the underlying issues when spending too much time online. We all know it's unhealthy, yet we continue to use it just the same. Start by reading more about how media works, its history, and its inner workings. "Amusing Ourselves to Death" is a great book to start with! (Goodreads can offer you more than one similar book tackling the same topic, give it a try)
- "It Takes A Lot to Know a Man" by Damien Rice
"What are you so afraid to lose? / What is it you're thinking that will happen if you do?"
In just 10 minutes, Damien Rice encapsulated everything a wise person would say about the art of living, communication, and asking the appropriate questions. Easy to understand, yet sophisticated and incredibly relevant, the song sends a powerful message to its listeners. It takes a lot of effort to be yourself, explain the reasoning behind your actions, and connect with other people, because none of us operate on the same level of consciousness.
Another important note is that asking questions can be a great tool in helping others explore themselves and recognize any flawed reasoning they may possess.
Besides this song, "The Art of Communication" by Judy Apps offers another valuable method for effective communication. In her book, the author highlights the fascinating example of Michael Starbird, a mathematics professor who encourages his students to make mistakes as part of the learning process. Rather than criticizing them, he guides them toward the correct answer by agreeing with their thought process. Here's an excerpt from their dialogue:
“I don’t want to say the answer because I know it’s wrong,” says the student.
“I’m sure you’re correct that it’s wrong,” he replies. “But tell me anyway.”
She tells him and it’s wrong.
“Congratulations on knowing it was wrong!” says the tutor. “Tell me one thing that’s wrong with it.”
She tells him.
“Then tell me how you might fix that defect,” he asks her.
She’s able to do this too.
“Is it right now?” he asks.
“No,” she replies.
“You’re absolutely correct again,” he says. “It is wrong.”
These songs remind us to believe in ourselves, embrace growth, and face challenges head-on. They teach us the value of relying on ourselves, following our paths, and not letting others dictate our lives. We should also confront the impact of technology on our well-being and explore ways to disconnect and be present in the real world. Let's not forget about the art of effective communication, too!