What Your Favorite Taylor Swift Lyric Says About You: Therapy Edition
First off, contain your excitement because this is NOT a BuzzFeed quiz. At the end of this post, you will not find out which Chipotle-themed item you are, no matter how much of a renewed sense of purpose that would give you (I’m guacamole, in case you were wondering). However, I cannot stress this enough; this may just be the most important blog post of my career. No, no, stop laughing; this MATTERS. And I will tell you why. While others will mock and think of this article as just another Zillenial professional trying to connect with her fellow youths, this is so much more than that.
Taylor Swift; ever heard of her? She is not only an icon, a singer, a songwriter, the music industry itself… she is a poet. Why is she so universally popular? Why do people choose to belittle her fans as “basic”? Because Taylor writes in a way that taps into the human condition. She articulates emotion lyrically at an unmatched level. Even the worst of her critics, the most faithless nonbelievers, cannot read her lyrics without admiring the depth and transcendental way she speaks to the experience of her generation.
As a therapist entering the field in the time of Taylor Swift, I would be remiss not to acknowledge the ways in which her lyrics resonate with my clients.
So I have pulled some common favorite lyrics of hers and described what that might mean in terms of your emotional well-being and what topics you might want to bring up with your #Swiftie therapist.
From sprinkler splashes to fireplace ashes
I gave my blood, sweat, and tears for this
I hosted parties and starved my body
Like I'd be saved by a perfect kiss
--- You’re on your own, kid
Topics: Comparison Culture, Body Image
If these are your favorite lyrics, we've got a lot to unpack. This is the song that stopped so many women, men, and non-binary individuals in their tracks. If you resonate with these lyrics, you might be a victim of comparison culture. Comparison culture has filtered the lens through which we see the world. We must have the “perfect” party, “perfect” body, and “perfect” lifestyle to be seen as worthy and to achieve true happiness. But this is a myth. Ultimately, no matter how curated our social media feed is, no one can save us from our own unhappiness but ourselves. It takes deep self-reflection and courage to acknowledge the ways in which our desire for external validation has been detrimental to our well-being.
I knew you
Leavin' like a father
Running like water
Topic: Attachment Issues
Ugh, Daddy issues. Just kidding, let’s give it a clinical name: attachment issues. Specifically, insecure attachment. You may fall into anxious attachment, avoidant attachment, or disorganized attachment (See my Instagram for more information on attachment styles). Either way, attachment theory explores the idea that the bond you share with your primary caregiver(s) is foundational to how you will navigate relationships throughout your life. So, if you grew up with a father who was not there for you, whether not physically there or not meeting your emotional needs, you might struggle to create healthy relationships in adulthood. You may choose partners that are familiar to you in a negative way but feel safe because that is all you’ve ever known.
I'm a mirrorball
I can change everything about me to fit in
Topics: “Cool Girl,” People-pleasing
This is a doozy. Mirrorball girlies are struggling RN. (Read my post on “Cool Girl Therapy”) Do you find yourself people-pleasing? Changing your personality to match those around you? Do you want to be liked so much that you will do anything to appease the particular tastes, interests, values, etc., of others? This could be for friends, for a romantic relationship, for your parents, or for your family. It is exhausting. You are not alone in this experience. Your therapist can help you navigate where these tendencies are coming from and how to tackle them head-on.
He wanted it comfortable
I wanted that pain
He wanted a bride
I was making my own name
-- Midnight Rain
Topics: F*** the patriarchy, Gender Roles
Take it from a cisgender woman who is married to a man who sang this song at the top of her lungs when it came out (the irony is astounding); this one HITS. No matter how much I love my husband, I will ALWAYS fight against the patriarchy and the deeply ingrained gender roles that serve to subordinate women. If you are a woman, you might have difficulty grappling with feminism and the roles you may hold within your family. You might find that your family and society, in general, want you to behave a certain way, follow a specific timeline, get married, or have children. But you and you alone have to right to make those decisions for yourself. And you get to choose what kind of life you want to lead.
They told me all of my cages were mental
So I got wasted like all my potential
-- This is me trying
Topics: Perfectionism, Procrastination, Addiction
Freakin’ oof. Reading those lines, I’m already stressed out. So many clients come to therapy feeling stagnant in their lives. Wanting a life they’ve pictured for themselves but are unsure of how to get there. Sometimes this stagnation comes from perfectionism and a need to “get everything right.” This can lead you to have “black and white thinking” that ultimately sets you up for failure, which can lead to a procrastination cycle….see where the stress is coming from. To cope, sometimes clients turn to substances to help ease their pain with unhealthy coping mechanisms. Does this sound familiar? If so, please please bring it up to a therapist. We want to help you achieve the life you’ve envisioned, minus the stress.
If you've made it this far, you entered the Swiftie-Therapy Universe. Welcome. Stick around to learn how to continue to apply Taylor Swift into your daily life.