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Arthritis Awareness: Music Therapy, part 5 - Beauty and Self-image

It's been way too long since I've gotten up a new post in my Music Therapy series and I thought it might be a good idea to go with a theme this time. Namely, beauty and self-image. In this society, it's so easy to get caught in the trap of thinking that we have to look a certain way. To think that if we don't fit in, if we don't look that way, that there's something wrong with us. We might feel insecure. We may feel ugly and unwanted and unlovable. This can lead us down some dangerous paths if we aren't careful.

The way I see it, even the most secure of us need some reassurancesometimes. Maybe we don't fit into what Hollywood considers beautiful. That's okay. Maybe we've been picked on and made to feel worthless because of the way we look. That's not okay, but you know what the good news is? Our worth does not come from other people. As a Christian, I believe that our worth is given to us by God. We are beautiful because we're His creation. I know that not everyone who reads this will be a Christian, so I hope no one takes offense. The point is that we all have something about us that makes us beautiful. Even if there are those who can't or won't see it.

So I've put together this list of seven songs that all have to do with beauty or how we see ourselves. Please note that some videos will be included in the posts and the others will be linked.

1. "Don't You Know You're Beautiful" by Kellie Pickler. You can watch the video here. For  anyone out there who has ever felt like they had to change something about themselves - be it their appearance or something else. This song is about embracing who you are and acknowledging that you really are beautiful, just the way you are. That's not to say that change is always a bad thing. But before you go changing something about yourself, make sure that you're doing it for yourself. Because you want to make a change; not because someone else wants you to make one. And recognize that loving yourself means owning who you are every step of the way.

2. "Scars to Your Beautiful" by Evynne Hollens. Staying with the same theme, this song is more about recognizing the light inside you. You have value and no one can lessen it. If someone is going to make you feel bad about the way you look, realize that that says more about them than it does about you. The reality is that we all have things about us that make us different from other people. There is no one else out there exactly like you. You have something to offer the world. Remember that. So don't be afraid to just be yourself.

3. "Shatter Me" by Lindsey Stirling featuring Lzzy Hale. This is a song that Lindsey wrote about her struggle with an eating disorder. That desire to be perfect, even if it means hurting yourself to do it. This is such a dangerous road to go down. One that leads to imprisonment and destruction. "Shatter Me" is about breaking out of that prison. Shattering it, if you will. Then and only then will you be free. I feel like this is the most powerful video on the list. It's okay to break down sometimes because sometimes that break down will lead to a breakthrough. That's when you heal. When you break out of that prison.

4. "This One's for the Girls" by Martina McBride. I don't know how many guys are going to end up reading this, but don't let this song scare you off. I know it's "for the girls", but there's a lesson here for you too. Namely, don't let your age hold you back. Every stage of life brings about its own difficulties and challenges. But you know what? Every stage of life is beautiful in its own way. It's funny; I hadn't watched this video in a long time, but I used to listen to and sing along with this song all the time. It's a great feel good anthem. As Martina sings, "yeah, we're all the same inside / From 1 to 99". Your worth has absolutely nothing you do with your age. However old you are, own it. I mean, you might as well since it's not like it. Never let anyone make you feel badly about yourself because of how old (or young) you are.

5. "More Beautiful You" by Jonny Diaz. You can watch the video here. The first time I heard this song, it was while I was really struggling with my weight. This is a struggle that hasn't exactly gone away, but I feel like I'm in a better place. In any event, this was one of those songs that I happened to hear at the exact moment I needed to hear it. Jonny sings about how we were made with care, every part of us. So forget about the lies and everything else other people feed you. You were created for a purpose. You matter. Your life matters. No matter how you look. No matter the mistakes that you've made. You are the way you are for a reason. And Jonny's right: "there could never be a more beautiful you".

6. "Road Less Traveled" by Lauren Alaina. The official music video can be found here. "Road Less Traveled" is Lauren Alaina's first single to break into the top #15 and I hope it goes all the way to #1. I'm going to level with you all. I remember watching Lauren on American Idol and being on the fence about her. I can't explain why; maybe it was just that I needed to see more of her. Scratch that. That is what it was. Because sometime after that, I got to see her on the Grand Ole Opry and she completely won me over. She's hilarious. She has a great voice and having seen her a couple of times last year, it's fun to see how much she's grown as a performer. Plus, on that fateful Opry performance, she did a tribute to Kitty Wells that instantly earned my respect. "Road Less Traveled" is her strongest single to date. The video choked my up. She's been so open about the struggles that she's had and the video highlights that. It was a brave video to do. I love the message of this song. Trust yourself. Don't be afraid. Pick yourself up when you get knocked down. Take the road less traveled.

7. "Faith" by Eileen Carey. You can watch the video for this right here. Okay, so this song isn't about beauty, but I decided to included it since it's about having faith in yourself. That's so important. You can't count on other people to make you feel good about yourself. To believe in you and whatever it is that you're trying to accomplish. If you have people like that in your life, you are blessed indeed. But that doesn't change the fact that you need to believe in yourself. You need to believe in your talents and abilities. Because if you can't, how can anyone else? Again, you might be lucky enough to have people in your life that see the potential greatness in you; not everyone has that. But recognize that their faith in you can only go so far. You have to have it in yourself. It's okay to acknowledge whatever you're good at. I think so many of us think that we're not allowed to do that for some reason. Who are always trying to make themselves smaller. Don't. Believe that you were given those talents and abilites for a purpose. You have that dream you have for a reason. You can do it. It might not be easy, but you can do it. Believe in yourself so that when you find yourself all alone and all your fears and doubts start creeping in, you can push them to the side. Just keep doing what you do and being who you are. This is a great song to listen to in those moments; I always feel more enpowered after listening to it. Plus, it feels good. Always a nice bonus.

I hope that this post has uplifted you in some way. The moral of the story is that you are beautiful. No matter what anyone else says. You have worth. You have a purpose. Believe in yourself and your abilties. Don't let your age or other people hold you back. Don't be afraid to break out of any prisons you may have found yourself in. Don't waste your time worrying about the people that try to tear you down. They don't determine your worth. That is something that comes from above and can never be taken away from you. If someone makes you feel bad about yourself in any shape or form, it's perfectly okay to walk away. Never feel guilty for doing whatever you have to do to take care of yourself. Never let anyone make you feel inferior. Try not to make anyone else feel inferior either, for that matter. Don't fall into the trap of feeling like you have to look a certain way; you don't. Learn who you are and own it. Stand up for what you believe in. You got this. 

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