I often hear people say they don’t like listening to country music because the songs are too depressing, and sometimes they’re right. Country music tells a story about life, which isn’t always glamourous. But often, somewhere between all the seemingly depressing lyrics, there’s a lesson to be learned. A lesson about the essence of life, the importance of self-love, and why some songs feel more relatable than others.
The following post is a long narrative about some of the struggles I’ve had in my past relationships. The post is incredibly personal, but I hope by sharing my story, I can inspire other people to share theirs. And together, we can all learn how to overcome some of the problems in our relationships through a better understanding of self-love.
Thanks for reading.
“He’s One of the Good Ones, and He’s All Mine…”
Today’s Lyrical Journey took me on a rabbit-hole adventure through four country songs that told me a story about the connection between relationships and self-love. Except when I woke up this morning with “The Good Ones” by Gabby Barrett playing in my head, I didn’t immediately recognize the song. Or the almost personalized message hidden behind the lyrics.
Lately, I’ve had trouble recognizing all the good I have in my current relationship. But this morning’s song helped me take a moment to recognize that my partner and my relationship is amazing compared to many others. I might complain a lot about our differences, and other trivial things that piss me off, but perhaps it’s good to have some conflict. I can’t imagine being with someone who always agrees with me, or is so much like me that it’s sickening.
Music, not just country music, always has a way of reminding me of how my life could be worse. But it wasn’t until I watched the music video for the first time that I finally understood the lesson. I already have one of the good ones, and he’s all mine.
“A love me like he should one
Like he wrote the book one
The kind you find when you don’t even look one…”
No, my partner isn’t perfect, but I’m borderline fucking crazy, at times. But we keep going, and we still keep showing our commitment to each other despite all the highs and lows.
Every day, we make a conscious effort to fall in love with something new about ourselves and about our relationship together. Some days feel harder than others to recognize the good, but this little mindfulness exercise helps keep many of the positive aspects about our relationship in the forefront of our vision. It gives us something positive to focus on and also incentive to refuse defeat because we’ve already come so far.
“And then I hope he cheats, like he did on me…”
YouTube threw me a curve ball by playing “I Hope” by Gabby Barrett, which is one of my least favorite country songs. I don’t know why I despise the song so much, but to me, the lyrics sound insincere and narcissistic. And the entire song reminds me that sometimes I’m a hypocrite.
As a spiritual life coach, I often warn my clients about becoming conditioned by their pasts. I warn them to put their trust issues aside and stop allowing non-issues to become issues, but sometimes I don’t listen to my own advice.
When I start feeling insecure in my relationship, it’s usually not about feeling distrust or jealousy toward my partner. I rarely feel jealous. But I do get depressed, anxious, or mad. Especially when I remember back to the time when my previous partner conceived a baby with someone else while we were still together. The whole experience and dramatic break up destroyed my self-confidence and made me question if I will ever be good enough for anyone.
Unfortunately, my current partner met me while I was on the rebound. Looking back, I wish I would’ve taken some time to remain single and sort out my problems before jumping back into another relationship because my mental health issues are still causing us problems. My partner tries to help me cope, but sometimes, it’s all too much to handle. We start resenting each other, and sometimes, we drift apart for months at a time.
So yes, I agree that some country music is incredibly depressing. And that some songs, like this one, top the charts when it comes to taking my emotions on one helluva rollercoaster ride. But even narcissistic songs serve a purpose. Without them, perhaps I wouldn’t be able to recognize my contribution to all the problems in my current relationship. Or, unlike my ex, I would have never learned how to accept accountability for my mistakes.
P.S. My ex found out that the baby wasn’t his and tried to rekindle our relationship, but I not-so-politely declined his invitation.
“Mama, can you die from a broken heart?”
When it comes to country music, “Die from a Broken Heart” by Maddie & Tae is depressing, no doubt. But not in a way that I can relate to outside of High School. It’s also not one of my favorite songs because it feels too juvenile, and because the lyrics trigger memories about getting my heart broken for the first time.
As a Freshman, it took every bit of courage I had to invite my crush to homecoming. He agreed, and I remember feeling so excited about going dress shopping. Homecoming would be my first official date.
But then my crush called me the night before homecoming to cancel our plans. He claimed that he had forgotten about making plans with his friends, but I still wonder if any part of his story was true. Looking back, I don’t think he ever liked me the way I liked him.
“Was it ever really real
If he don’t feel like I feel?”
“How does he sleep at night?
Mama, the nerve of this guy
To leave me so easy
Am I gonna be alright?
I wanna kick myself for falling so hard
Mama, can you die from a broken heart?”
I felt heartbroken, and I remember crying, but not just about my date canceling on me at the last minute. I felt more upset about not having time to find a new date, and about spending all of my allowance (and then some) to buy a new dress that I would never get to wear.
Then I talked to some of my friends and we all decided to go together. I got to wear my new dress, and I ended up having an amazing night, despite my broken heart. Self-love saved me.
“I found my independence, can’t believe I ever lost it…”
By the time I reached the final song on my Lyrical Journey, I was ready to eat my words. People are right, I thought. Country music is so depressing. But then I heard “Miss Me More” by Kelsea Ballerini and it gave me a new perspective about relationships in life.
According to an article written by Psychology Today, the main reason most relationships fail is due to a lack of trust. But I don’t necessarily agree with this sentiment. I think relationships fail because of each person’s sudden loss of independence and lack of personal identity. Two people become one. Invites start arriving in both names. Memories now include both parties. Also, there’s less autonomy in a relationship. Each individual’s personal decision about simple things, such as what to eat, what to wear, and how to take care of one’s body becomes a topic for discussion. And the end result is usually based on what the other person likes or dislikes the most, rather than the individual’s preferences.
“I forgot I had dreams, I forgot I had wings
Forgot who I was before I ever kissed you
Yeah, I thought I’d miss you
But I miss me more…”
In my case, I often am loyal to a fault. So much that when I begin a new relationship, I will do anything I can to make it work. Even if making it work means losing myself along the way. Or giving up on all the things I once loved doing. My quirky personality, favorite hobbies, and even changing the way I dress to appease my partner. Meanwhile, I slowly fade to black. I dissolve inside the unity we’ve created. I lose my self-identity and become resentful toward my partner.
How Listening to Country Music Helped Me Reinvent Myself and Fix My Broken Relationships
Many couples think they should behave as a couple all the time. But after writing this post, I’ve learned why practicing individuality and self-love is so important, even while in a relationship. The following are my final thoughts about how I’ve learned to reinvent myself and fix many of my broken relationships. Regardless of whether the relationship is with a friend, family member, lover, or co-worker, the same principles apply.
How do I keep my current relationship from self-destructing?
Stop spending so much time together. I know this advice might seem strange, but sometimes, less is more. Distance yourself from a clingy friend. Set clear boundaries for a nosy family member. Find a new hobby to do without your lover. Take mental health days off work. You deserve space.
Self-love is learning when to give yourself time to breathe.
How do I stop self-sabotaging my relationships?
Eliminate self talk and get out of your head. Stop looking for problems that don’t exist. Don’t go into a relationship expecting it to fail. Keep your past fears of failure, heartbreak, and mistakes out of your current thoughts. Imagine good things for yourself. Know that you deserve happiness.
Self-love is creating the life you want to live.
How do I mend a broken heart?
Reinvent yourself. Change the way you think and act. Feel comfortable alone and within your own skin. View every new relationship as a goal, but not as the goal, and every heartbreak as a marathon, not a sprint. Only invest your time in people who value your time. Take time to heal. View the hard times as experiences, and lessons, but as not obstacles.
Self-love is learning how to become more resilient.