Music, to me, is not only a means of catharsis, but also a great way to cultivate compassion. Read on to find out why.
You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.” – James Baldwin
No matter which medium you choose – books, television, movies, music – the message to which you find yourself relating wraps you up in a warm blanket of solace, comforting you, telling you you’re not alone in your agony. Heartbreak is the one emotion that makes us human; it connects us on a very innate level. Of course, animals do experience heartbreak too, but neuroscientists have discovered that the pain of heartbreak is much more complicated for humans – we have the ability to remember heartbreak as “the marvellous misfortune it can be … [and] feel the immensity of the human heart,” writes Ginette Paris in Heartbreak: New Approaches to Healing – Recovering from Lost Love and Mourning.
Personally, music is my favourite medium. Whenever the lyrics of a song speak to my current emotional state, listening to it is a means of catharsis. Most of the time, however, I can’t relate to the sad songs on my playlist – which is even better, because it allows me to interpret the lyrics of the song in a way that forces me to dig deep into my emotions to better understand the pain of another. It’s an incredible method to cultivate compassion.
That’s why I’m never one to shy away from my sentimental side. Some friends call me emo; I’d like to think I’m emotionally attuned. Save for the occasional low moments, I’m generally happy and there’s nothing I enjoy more than a good laugh. I don’t walk around with a perpetual fog of doom threatening to engulf those around me, nor do I practice self-harm, thank you very much. Rather, I find a certain beauty in breakdown. One psychologist even went so far as to call this “romancing our pain”, though I think “romanticising” would be a better choice of word to describe our odd fascination with heartbreak. Being emotionally attuned doesn’t make me vulnerable, and it certainly doesn’t make me weak. In fact, it makes me stronger, enables me to build better relationships with the people around me and, most importantly, prevents me from being the type of person I refuse to be – someone without a heart.
Here are some of the songs on my Heartbreak playlist (click here to listen to the songs), on music-streaming service Deezer. As a music lover, there are few things that delight me like discovering awesome tunes, and Deezer – which was recently introduced to me – has been great in helping me do just that. Once I add a few favourite tracks and artistes, it pushes tracks, playlists, albums and artistes that are similar to my taste when I next log in. And I love that I can listen to pre-selected songs offline as well, thanks to its Offline Mode feature – you and I know how crappy the 3G network can get here.
What are some of your favourite sad songs? Do share them in the Comments box below!
About The Author: A founder of Material World, Tan Lili has previously worked in magazines The Singapore Women’s Weekly and Cosmopolitan Singapore, as well as herworld.com (now herworldplus.com, the online counterpart of Her World). She is now a freelance writer who works on this website full-time. Lili hopes to travel the world, work with wild animals, and discover more awesome Twilight fan-fiction. Follow her on Twitter @TanLiliTweets.
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