I once wrote that I used to listen to Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” before attending a singles event. It would rev me up and put me in the mood to go out there and mix and mingle with men that I probably would not want to date (I was just being honest with myself, but still I was trying to get myself in the right mindset). Many athletes listen to music to get them psyched up before a game, a match, or a race. I remember watching the Summer Olympics and there was Michael Phelps sitting with his headphones on, getting “in the zone” just moments before he had to swim in a race. People listen to music in order to put themselves in the right mindset for whatever they have to do, and to focus. It’s no secret that music can set the mood or change someone’s mood.
I find myself giving others a pep talk when they tell me of a bad breakup or not finding the right person to date, and even not being able to find anyone who wants to date them. But I too get tired of giving the same pep talk over and over to people. I’m human, what can I say? And I am sure sometimes people are tired of hearing pep talks. Sometimes they just want you to agree with them and say, “Yeah, that sure is a crummy deck of cards you got dealt,” or “Wow! That’s bad. Glad I’m not you.” Not everyone wants to be consoled, and let me tell you, it can be a tiring task to undertake, trying to console and cheer someone up, especially when all he or she wants is a good wallow or a pity party for one. That being said, people also have favorite songs they listen to that put them in a good mood or even when they want to wallow in their misery. Instead of me giving yet another pep talk, because sometimes even I hate the sound of my own voice, I decided to write lyrics to some songs that have helped me, because they may be able to help you. They can help either lift you up or give you a good cry, depending on what you want to do. These work for both men and ladies.
Going to another singles event, Shabbaton? I will suggest, as mentioned before, Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” or “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor. Every time I hear the lyrics, “It’s the eye of the tiger; it’s the dream of the fight. Risin’ up to the challenge of our rival…,” I feel like I can conquer anything. It’s a song to listen to when you need to accomplish any task, such as taking a test, working out, etc.
Another song that can make you feel as if you are invincible and ready to take on anything is Katy Perry’s “Firework.” This song was not around when I was dating, but I wish it was. You still may find me screaming the chorus in my car while waiting for a red light, “Cause, baby, you’re a firework. Come on, show ’em what you’re worth. Make ’em go ‘Oh, oh, oh!’ as you shoot across the sky-y-y.”
But what about the times when you are feeling low about a breakup, or not dating, or having a shadchan tell you that you need to change something about your appearance to which you take offense. You feel stuck in a rut and you want to get out of it. This is the time when you don’t want to wallow in your Pity Party for One. May I suggest Bette Midler’s “I’m Beautiful.” I am not a Bette Midler fan, but when I accidently heard this song, it became my mantra for the following few months: “I’m not too short, I’m not too tall, I’m not too big, I’m not too small… I’m beautiful, I’m beautiful, I’m beautiful, dammit!” It tells me that no matter how other people see me, I’m beautiful inside and out just as I am! Then there’s Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off,” because “The haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate.” People can say whatever they want about me and to me but, “I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake, I shake it off, I shake it off.” And let me just end with Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song”: (Oh, this is a good one. It’s the “Take back my life song!” It’ll empower any listener: “This is my fight song. Take back my life song, Prove I’m alright song. My power’s turned on. Starting right now I’ll be strong. I’ll play my fight song. And I don’t really care if nobody else believes, ‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me.”) Wow! I just felt a little lift now after hearing all these songs that lift me up and help me feel invincible.
I won’t spend a lot of time on the next set of songs, but some people may want to know what to download on iTunes should they be in this situation. After a breakup that deep down in your heart you know it was for the best, but you’re still down in the dumps and want to stay there for a few more minutes, try listening to Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone” (“But since you been gone. I can breathe for the first time. I’m so moving on. Yeah, yeah. Thanks to you. Now I get what I want. Since you been gone.” You can also try No Doubt’s, “Don’t Speak” – I’ve been listening to it since high school. “Our memories, Well, they can be inviting, But some are altogether Mighty frightening… Don’t speak. I know what you’re thinking. I don’t need your reasons. Don’t tell me ’cause it hurts.”
What about the times when you are involved in a breakup, but you weren’t the one who was in the driver’s seat? What about when you were blindsided by the breakup and didn’t even know it was coming? For those moments, Garth Brooks has an excellent song: “The Dance.” I actually listen to this song a lot for several reasons. “And now I’m glad I didn’t know the way it all would end, the way it all would go. Our lives are better left to chance; I could have missed the pain. But I’d have to miss the dance.” The song tells you that things didn’t turn out the way you had hoped, but you still wouldn’t change anything about what happened because then you would not have had the good times, although the bad/sad times followed.
I have used the next two songs many times in my writing, and they are for when you think Hashem is not listening to you and He has given up on sending you your bashert. These two songs tell you that everything happens for a reason and there was a reason why you had to go through all of your wrong dates and travel the long road to get to the moment when you stand under the chupah with your zivug – another Garth Brooks song, “Unanswered Prayers.” I love this song. “I thank G-d for unanswered prayers; remember when you’re talkin’ to the man upstairs, that just because he doesn’t answer doesn’t mean he don’t care. Some of G-d’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.” In a nutshell, this song tells us that no matter how much we wanted something, and we davened for things to work out with someone we were dating, because we thought this person was our zivug and then the relationship ended; it wasn’t because Hashem didn’t hear our t’filos, it was because Hashem heard our t’filos. He knew something better was coming down the road. It’s his way of saying that He knows better and hasn’t forgotten about you. You may not like the way things are going, but it’ll end up right, in the end. We davened and He listened and sent us our zivug. It may not have been the one we were praying for at the time, while we thought it was; Hashem knew better and sent him/her to us in the right time. The last song is “Bless the Broken Road” by Rascal Flatts. I can actually write out all the lyrics, as they are applicable, but I’ll cut it down to a few: “I set out on a narrow way many years ago. Hoping I would find true love along the broken road. But I got lost a time or two, Wiped my brow and kept pushing through, I couldn’t see how every sign pointed straight to you. That every long lost dream led me to where you are. Others who broke my heart, they were like northern stars. Pointing me on my way into your loving arms. This much I know is true: That G-d blessed the broken road, that led me straight to you.”
And this is the part of the article where I apologize to my father who is probably shaking his head (not in agreement) while reading this article. He’s probably thinking, “Twelve years of yeshivah and not one song by MBD or any other frum singer.” To him and to you, all I have to say is: This is who I am and this is what helps me when I’m feeling blue or down. Yes, I turn to Hashem and t’filos in my time of need (and to thank Hashem, as well, when things go well), but sometimes I just want to listen to a sing without thinking or concentrating.
This article can be generalized to both sexes. Anyone can have a favorite song, poem, kapitel T’hilim that is said when in need. This was just my way of providing a different type of pep talk to those in need. I always say that dating is hard, and it is. Cope however you can. No judgment.
Hatzlachah to you all.