Let It Go, or Let It Be?

Jess Glynne’s song Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself has been on the radio a lot lately. I usually prefer other music genres, but the song has such a catchy hook it buried itself in my brain.

Song lyrics can be interpreted many ways of course, but certain ones really spoke to me:

I came here with a broken heart that no one else could see
I drew a smile on my face to paper over me
The wounds heal and tears dry and cracks they don’t show
So don’t be so hard on yourself, no

The chorus, which includes these lyrics:

Don’t be so hard on yourself, no
Learn to forgive, learn to let go
Everyone trips, everyone falls
So don’t be so hard on yourself, no

kept going around and around in my head on repeat. I really liked the sentiment of not being too hard on myself, and forgiveness (forgiving yourself is as important as forgiving others), but being encouraged to let go? No, I didn’t like that.

That part of the song really didn’t work for me and I thought it was written from the point of view of the kinds of trials and tribulations we all experience over the course of life.

The song hasn’t been out for that long, but I have changed my view: firstly I have been learning to accept acceptance. Secondly, the first time I watched the video is when I looked it up for this post (it was originally going to have a different slant).

Watching the video, I was surprised and moved to see it portrayed a story of bereavement: a young boy finding his place in the world after the death of his father. It features Clark Peters, who played Lester Freamon who was one of my favourite characters in The Wire.

My original post was always going to feature The Beatles, too – a comparison with Let It Be, as the title suggests:

And when the broken-hearted people
Living in the world agree
There will be an answer, let it be
For though they may be parted
There is still a chance that they will see
There will be an answer, let it be

‘Let it be’ resonated because it reminded me of how my psychologist encouraged me to not second-guess or resist my emotions and instead tell myself ‘they are what they are’. Another way of saying let it be.

Something else I didn’t know until I came to write this post is that Paul McCartney wrote the song after dreaming his dying mother told him “It will be all right, just let it be.”

Neither letting go not letting something be are easy.

But as I can attest, they are vital for self-compassion, surviving grief and trauma, for moving forward.

It is not an either/or. Both are important.

Letting go doesn’t have to be forgetting about something, or trying to ignore it. It can be about letting go of the way you thought your life should have been. That doesn’t mean you have to like it, but you can direct your energies elsewhere instead.

Letting it be is about being mindful, using your energies to work through the emotions rather than fighting against them, resisting doing whatever your mind and body tells you you need to do.

It might sound a bit airy fairy and hippyish. I might have said something similar a few years ago.

But the lessons these songs teach us are crucial for our emotional wellbeing – and it shows life lessons can come from the most unusual of places.

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9 Comments on Let It Go, or Let It Be?

  1. Mary Smith
    September 18, 2015 at 1:11 pm (4 years ago)

    I love the Jess glynn song – so many parallels and I relate to music a lot too. I love that she says about how she was right and everyone else wrong haha so many people telling us how to be, feel, behave, but they dont know the pain of burying their child! Yeah good songs x
    Mary Smith recently posted…In the arms of the AngelMy Profile

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    • Leigh
      September 21, 2015 at 10:39 am (4 years ago)

      It’s a great song isn’t it Mary – and yes, people can be free with their opinions about our situations but not so much when it comes to truly being there xx

      Reply
  2. jude
    September 16, 2015 at 8:51 pm (4 years ago)

    What a lovely post, I’m no muso but I’ve been touched by lyrics and poetry at key points in my life and recognise the feelings you describe. So magical. #thetruthabout
    jude recently posted…Wicked WednesdaysMy Profile

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  3. Sam
    September 15, 2015 at 9:06 am (4 years ago)

    I really love it when song lyrics or poetry speak a really profound truth to me. That is the best kind of art there is because it touches people and helps you to make sense of what you are feeling. Great post Leigh and thanks for linking to #thetruthabout
    Sam recently posted…The Truth about… #43My Profile

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    • Leigh
      September 15, 2015 at 4:27 pm (4 years ago)

      Absolutely – it goes in to your soul, doesn’t it? Thanks for your lovely comment, Sam xxx

      Reply
    • Leigh
      September 15, 2015 at 4:29 pm (4 years ago)

      Thank you lovely Jess! xxx

      Reply
  4. Zoe
    September 14, 2015 at 7:18 pm (4 years ago)

    Another wonderful post Leigh, you are inspirational 🙂

    Reply
    • Leigh
      September 15, 2015 at 4:30 pm (4 years ago)

      Thank you Zoe, that’s really kind xxx

      Reply

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