Two songs with meaningful lyrics, by two of my favorite artists, P!nk and Bruno Mars, have been at the top of the Billboard music chart.
Bruno’s lyrics were a remake of the original (and I love this rendition, just like I love the video…one of my favorites), with this phrase catching my attention: “You’re amazing just the way you are,” which he tells his girlfriend all the time because she doesn’t see the beauty that he sees in her. The lyrics go on to say “When I compliment her, she wont believe me, and its so, its so sad to think she don’t see what I see.” Looks like some low self esteem, though I’m not too sure whether the public has been thinking that deeply about what the lyrics actually mean.
Speaking of low self esteem, that’s where Bruno’s “Just the Way You Are” lyrics intersect with P!nk’s “F**kin Perfect” lyrics. P!nk wrote her lyrics and created her video for a specific purpose, and it was a very emotional experience for her. With the goal of promoting awareness and the desire to effect change, P!nk’s lyrics and video were designed to grab one’s attention, make people think and talk about the topic at hand–a lack of nurturing environment for children/teens that lead to feelings of isolation that lead to desperation and depression. The words that grab my attention in the song are: “Mistreated, misplaced, misunderstood…. Mistaken, always second guessing, underestimated…You’re so mean, when you talk about yourself, you were wrong….Change the voices in your head, make them like you instead. Pretty pretty please, don’t you ever ever feel like you’re less than f*ckin’ perfect. Pretty pretty please, if you ever ever feel like you’re nothing, you’re f*cking perfect to me.” Click here to see the complete lyrics.
I love it when celebrities who have the platform, the spotlight and therefore the ability to attract the attention of so many people use them to try to bring attention to important topics. Now that P!nk’s song is a #1 hit, she can pass on the message that depression is an extremely serious problem in this society, and we need to stop ignoring it and do something about it. And it all starts with discussion. After all, we don’t typically like to talk about things like depression, cutting, suicide and other mental health issues due to the stigma relating to all of that. With more people speaking up, there will be an increased awareness of the problem at hand and a decrease in the stigma that has prevailed for too damn long. People will be less bullying, more empathetic. Less competitive, more caring.
There are two possible tacks we can all take to address this problem (but obviously it’s the first one that is preferable):
1. Proactive and preventive:
Help people understand how their actions can have serious consequences on others. Love, nurture, provide emotional support and patience to your children. Ahem, parents, that would be you I’m addressing this to. See past post on teen angst and depression. We can lower the depression rates by creating a nurturing environment for our youth and teaching them how to cope with issues head-on, building self-confidence and self-awareness, and thinking positively. Yes, we have the power to lower the risk for depression in our youth…and subsequently, there will be fewer adults with depression..and that includes women with postpartum depression! Granted, depression tends to be hereditary, but that does NOT mean that everyone with depression running in the family will develop depression. The environment in which our youth grow up is KEY.
2. Reactive and remedial:
Ensure individuals experiencing low self esteem, feelings of isolation, and depression get the help they need right away. Be educated enough to recognize the signs that something is not right, and ensure they gets the help they need immediately. DO NOT WAIT and think that things will resolve on their own because they WON’T. Today, we are in dire need when it comes to improvements in mental healthcare. Former First Lady Mr. Rosalynn Carter’s book “WITHIN OUR REACH: Ending the Mental Health Crisis” is a must read if you want to get a better understanding of the reality of our mental healthcare system as it stands today. I’m sure there are many other books that can be read about this, but her book was the only one I’ve read (she signed my copy of it at the Postpartum Support International and Marce Society conference I attended last October). It’s a quick read and does a very good job summarizing today’s state of affairs.
I wanted to bring to your attention an excerpt of P!nk’s message regarding the reasons behind her lyrics and video (and I’ve chosen not to embed her video in my post because if you haven’t seen it yet, it can be very triggering):
“Cutting, and suicide, two very different symptoms of the same problem, are gaining on us. (the problem being; alienation and depression. the symptoms; cutting and suicide). ….Its a problem, and its something we should talk about. We can choose to ignore the problem….but that won’t make it go away…..I support the kids out there that feel so desperate/numb/powerless, that feel unseen and unheard, and can’t see another way.. I want them to know I’m aware. I have been there. I see them. Sometimes that’s all it takes.”
Amen, P!nk, Amen! I know you were writing these lyrics with your own baby in your belly in mind, and you want to be sure your child grows up in a warm and loving environment….one in which you yourself didn’t have. I am going to ensure that my daughter has a much different experience than I had when I grew up.