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How a One Direction Song Helped Me Through My Depression

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Music is known to have strong healing and therapeutic properties. From playing music to a baby in their mother’s womb to listening to music while cleaning the house, music has the ability to completely change a person’s mood. I could easily listen to dubstep on the way to work, Maroon 5 or Beyoncé at work, Fall Out Boy on the way home and Ed Sheeran or the soundtrack to “Les Misèrables” as I fall asleep.

Some people, such as myself, struggle with depression, self-esteem and body image issues. I was having a day when I was in the depths of my depression and my self-esteem was low. I was driving in my car, listening to the radio and “What Makes You Beautiful” by One Direction came on. As I continued to listen, I soon discovered I started feeling much better. I realized it was the song! So, I pulled it up on YouTube and started playing it over and over, listening to the actual lyrics, rather than blasting the chorus loudly in my music studio, a.k.a. my car!

Here are the lyrics to the song that stood out to me

You’re insecure, Don’t know what for…

I am overweight. I have always been self-conscious about my weight, having been made fun of most of my life and never feeling good enough. It was weight for me that made me insecure. It may be something different for someone else: speaking abilities, education, knowledge, being a man, woman or simply just being different.

You’re turning heads when you walk through the door. Don’t need makeup, to cover up. Being the way that you are is enough.

I never noticed I was turning heads when I walked through the door. As someone who also deals with anxiety, I was too busy trying to get through the door as fast as I could so no one would notice me. During grade school, I would walk into a room and my peers would start to laugh at me. I got used to expecting this in all situations and tried to avoid this proverbial walk of shame. Truly, I had nothing to be ashamed of, but that was always hard for me to see.

Everyone else in the room can see it. Everyone else but you.

Has someone ever given you a compliment that was hard for you to receive? You might still not believe them because you doubt yourself. I was always getting compliments from people for different things about myself. It was the glares and bullying that made it hard for me to accept the compliments and realize I am beautiful (awesome, legendary or whatever adjective that indicates your “boss” status). I don’t have to allow the negativity of some people to affect how I see myself because mine is the most important opinion that matters.

Baby, you light up my world like nobody else. The way that you flip your hair gets me overwhelmed. But when you smile at the ground it ain’t hard to tell. You don’t know, Oh, oh, You don’t know you’re beautiful.

I would usually look at the ground and avoid eye contact with people. This way, I would not have to put up with the disappointment and disgust in their eyes. Although, I came to realize much of that fear was irrational; furthermore, who cares what they think? This is easier said than done, right? I stopped at a stoplight, looked in the mirror and started singing the chorus to myself.

It wasn’t long before the tears started streaming down my face, as if someone had just given me the largest hug in the world. I began feeling better about myself. Minutes before, I was feeling like a piece of crap and like I had no one. Once I started singing the song, it occurred to me there may be times when there is no one else there. It is in those times I have to encourage myself, look in the mirror and remind myself I am beautiful!

If only you saw what I can see, you’d understand why I want you so desperately. Right now I’m looking at you and I can’t believe. You don’t know, Oh, oh, You don’t know you’re beautiful.

I listened to this part and I started remembering all of the amazing things and accomplishments I’ve made. I remembered how awesome I am!  Even though my thoughts were negative and pessimistic about myself and I started feeling depressed, I stopped for a moment. I started singing this part as loudly as I could, pointed at the mirror and reminded myself that I’m beautiful.

Image via OneDirectionVEVO.

Originally published: August 16, 2016
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