Taylor Swift’s debut album was released in October of 2006, meaning I have listened to Swift for the past 13 years. I am not alone in this, Swift’s music has shaped a generation and still continues to impact many. She is a woman who has managed to become one of the most successful artists of all time despite the constant backlash of people who want nothing more than to see her fail. Her personal victories alone are ones that inspire people but her music is what truly strikes a chord in fans across the world and across generations.
When she first started making music I was only 11 and now at the I’m in my mid-twenties I have realized that her music hasn’t just been the soundtrack to my life it has also given me valuable life lessons. Below is a list of the top lessons I have personally learned through Taylor Swift songs.
1. Shake It Off
For the longest time the phrase “shake it off” was more irritating than it was inspirational. Swift however managed to reiterate the importance of letting things go and moving on. Not every battle in life is going to won and not everyone is going to be supportive. It’s these instances that can either hinder you or you can learn from and move on. The latter being the smartest decision because ultimately there isn’t a point in going through life weighed down about things we can’t fix.
2. Dance Like No One Is Looking
This one might sound cliche but it’s honestly liberating. Swift has been mocked many times about her dancing abilities but that still hasn’t stopped her from enjoying herself when a great song comes on. Letting go and just dancing can be difficult for fear of what others may think but being able to do so is incredibly liberating. Even if people appear to be judging you more than likely they’re just envious of your ability to be confident enough to just dance.
3. Know When And How To Apologize
Apologizing and swallowing your pride is incredibly difficult to do. Her song “Back To December” is an example of knowing you’re in the wrong and realizing it’s important to just say sorry sometimes. There are moments where the best thing you can do is take a step back and recognize that being right all the time isn’t that important. Sometimes the most mature thing you can do is to apologize.
4. But Also Know When Not To Apologize
There are also times when you need to stand your ground and refuse to back down though. Swift’s career has been plagued with a variety of people eagerly waiting and trying to tear her every opportunity they have. Women are expected to back down, let people walk all over them, and if you don’t you can be considered difficult to work with. Swift famously said in her 2017 Grammy acceptance speech “there are going to be people along the way who try to undercut your success or take credit for your accomplishments or your fame.” It’s important to know, especially as a woman, that we don’t need to apologize for our actions especially when people are trying to make us feel small.
5. Being Able To Laugh At Yourself
Another way to handle with negativity and even failure is being able to laugh at yourself. Being a mature adult doesn’t inherently mean to be serious 24/7. Rather there will be moments where the only thing you can really do is to laugh at whatever mistakes or situations you find yourself in. Having a meltdown over something won’t make it any easier to fix or handle so instead just throw your head back and laugh at the absurdity of it. Also being able to laugh at your mistakes can strip bullies of their ammunition.
6. It’s Okay To Cry
If I had a dollar for every time I’ve cried to a Taylor Swift song I’d have many, many dollars. Crying often times is considered to be a sign of weakness but as I’ve gotten older I’ve realized it actually takes a lot of strength to cry. Sometimes sitting down and crying can not only be cathartic but it can help alleviate pain or stress. It’s okay to not be okay all the time and just taking a moment to cry it out can actually be more beneficial than keeping it all inside. There’s a reason why the song that started it all was “Teardrops On My Guitar”.
7. The Importance Of Friendships
I truly believe that friends are the family you get to choose. While she has had backlash over her “squad”, women can’t have nice things remember, Swift has shown the importance of female friendships. There is a constant pressure among women to compete with each other and that female friendships can’t be complex, which they are. It’s important to nourish, cherish and respect relationships you have with your friends. They are the people who will be there when it rains and when it shines.
8. Appreciate Your Age While You Still Can
As cliché as it may sound it’s important to value the age you are while you still can. I, like many others, wanted to grow up so much faster than I needed to. Now nearly ten years since I began high school it’s really began to hit me how we spend so much of our life wishing for another age or another milestone in life without appreciating where we are. It’s easy to wish for things that are seemingly out of reach because of age or feeling like we’re not where we’re supposed to be but we usually are exactly where we want to be. You probably weren’t with the love of your life because you had bigger dreams than a boy who changed his mind. Although it is alright to be young and naive, everyone is at fifteen.
9. Love With All Your Heart
It’s very easy to be cynical after a series of rejections and heartache. There are so many songs of hers that have helped remind me that at the end of the day bad relationships shouldn’t take away my ability to experience joy and love. Loving with all of my heart is terrifying because there is never a guarantee with any relationship, whether that be friendship or romantic, it will last. Despite that risk with each heartbreak there is a new opportunity to learn and grow and find love elsewhere. It’s important to learn from past relationships, grow from them and ultimately move on. Everyone has emotional baggage and life does make love look hard but that doesn’t mean you can’t still find true love.
10. Be Fearless
This one is probably the most important lesson I learned from Taylor. I look at her career that has spanned over a decade and am amazed that with every high and low she has come through swinging. Growing up she has consistently motivated me to take risks even when it scared me. She has proven how important it is to be fearless for yourself and for others. Her sophomore album is even entitled Fearless, which is what everyone should be. She’s an artist that continues to take her audience by the hand and drag us head first, fearless.