Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song,” after only one year on YouTube, has reached over 239 million views. After only three years, Disney’s Frozen “Let it Go” is approaching a billion views. These songs obviously strike a chord in our hearts today. Why is this?
Both songs center around a theme of reclaiming our hearts and our lives. Whether we have not been heard by others or whether we have chosen to keep our voice silent, our inner beings were designed to express themselves. If suppressed over time by others or ourselves, they may demand to make a debut–even if it requires an “explosion.”
Let’s look at Rachel’s song. Her video begins with a glimpse into her personal grief. In a torn shirt she scribbles down her thoughts in journals. As she sings “prove I’m alright” her lip quivers… She is losing her friends and missing her home, but there is a fire that is burning.
“Fight Song” Lyrics (excerpt)
Like a small boat
On the ocean
Sending big waves
Like how a single word
Can make a heart open
I might only have one match
But I can make an explosion
And all those things I didn’t say
Wrecking balls inside my brain
I will scream them loud tonight
Can you hear my voice this time?
This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I’m alright song
My power’s turned on
Starting right now I’ll be strong
I’ll play my fight song
And I don’t really care if nobody else believes
‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me
In “Fight Song,” Rachel reveals that she was ready to use her voice. Even one word could make a heart open. She would no longer wait for others to hear or to believe. With renewed hope, she discovers the strength that she possesses.
But, you can’t miss the word, “fight.” More on that in a minute.
Let’s now look at Elsa’s journey. Having been given a gift of being able to turn things into ice and cold, she learned at a young age that the immense power she had could be used for good or for harm.
Instead of harnessing the gift, she sought to hide it from others and herself out of fear. When it was clear it could not longer be hidden, she explores her strength in the safety of isolation while singing the following song.
“Let it Go” Lyrics (excerpt)
Don’t let them in,
don’t let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don’t feel,
don’t let them know
Well now they know
Let it go, let it go
Can’t hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn away and slam the door
I don’t care
what they’re going to say
Let the storm rage on.
The cold never bothered me anyway
Written by Robert Lopez, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Emanuel Kiriakou • Copyright © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Walt Disney Music Company
In both of these songs, each person recognized that to express their strength they needed to separate themselves from others’ thoughts and feelings. Somewhere in the past a line between themselves and others had been blurred. Each expressed feelings of storm, rage, and anger in this process of realization. What is this all about?
In the process of becoming a counselor, my graduate program required that I go through counseling myself. I distinctly remember one point in a session. After sharing a story, my counselor looked at me and simply asked me, “How do you feel about that?” I returned only a blank stare. I had no idea. Realizing in that moment that I was completely emotionally illiterate, I asked, “What are my options?”
Other people must have been just like me because she literally had a little board on the floor beside her chair with words like, “anger, sad, hurt, fear, shame, and joy.” I don’t remember what word I chose at that time, but the realization that I had no language for understanding the feelings inside me struck me to the core.
Fast-forward another year or two. I was interning at a psychiatric day program in Dallas. One of the young counselors was teaching the clients in a psycho-educational session about feelings. She discussed how feelings are “flags.” They point to things that have happened or actions we need to take. For instance, feelings of sadness indicate that there has been a loss. Guilt indicates action needs to be taken to correct something. Notably, she taught that anger is often a feeling that tells us that a boundary needs to be drawn.
From the time that we are toddlers, we know as humans that it is extremely important to define what is mine and what is not mine. Things that belong to us are our thoughts, feelings, attitudes, actions and behaviors. Things that do not belong to us are others’ thoughts, feelings, attitudes, actions and behaviors, the weather, the rotation of the Earth, and a trillion more things. In healthy development, a toddler learns what is his or hers and what is not his or hers. This is why his or her new favorite word–though often overused at first–is “NO!” This is also why he or she may breakdown when this separateness (at his or her current level of understanding) is not honored. He or she has discovered a new thing–my own personal power to be separate from others and to create unique change in the world.
Life affirms or denies what we know intuitively–that we have personal responsibility for our lives, we are separate from others, and we are to uniquely impact this world with our design. For many of us, these healthy boundaries were either affirmed or denied as we continued to grow.
Judging by the number of views of “Fight Song” and “Let it Go” it seems safe to say that many, many in our day are feeling a need to better define and communicate their boundaries. We feel the inner voice inside us that is designed to speak. We feel the strength in our souls that is designed to stand firm. We recognize our unique gifting and personality is designed to make a creative change in this world.
When we realize that our boundaries have been violated, we may experience feelings that resemble the words in the above songs like “explosion,” “storm,” and “fight.” Healthy boundaries should ultimately lead to resulting feelings of peace as the Think Time Serenity Circle Tool implies. However, the recognition that the drawing of initial lines is needed may be accompanied by feelings of anger that fuel the strength to buffer these storms.
Rachel Platten knew she was only one person, but she was capable of changing the world with her carefully chosen words and her unique voice. Nearly a quarter of a billion views later, she has proven that her words can open hearts, her voice can be heard, and her small waves can set things in motion.
What is your fight song? What waves are you ready to set into motion?
“Our inner beings were designed to express themselves.” Christine Wilson @thinktimetweets
“We all have immense power that can be used for good or for harm.” @thinktimetweets
“Harness your gift. Don’t hide it out of fear.” @thinktimetweets
“To express our strength or gifting, at times, we need to separate ourselves from others’ thoughts and feelings.” @thinktimetweets
“Our feelings are ‘flags.’ They point to things that have happened or actions we need to take.” @thinktimetweets
“Anger is a feeling that tells us that a boundary needs to be drawn.” @thinktimetweets
“It is extremely important to define what is mine and what is not mine.” #serenitycircle @thinktimetweets
“Things that belong to me are my thoughts, feelings, attitudes, actions and behaviors.” #serenitycircle @thinktimetweets
“I have personal power to be separate from others and to create unique change in the world.” #serenitycircle @thinktimetweets
“We have personal responsibility for our lives, we are separate from others, and we are to uniquely impact this world with our design.” @thinktimetweets
“What is your fight song? What waves are you ready to set into motion?” @rachelplatten @thinktimetweets #myfightsong
Christine M. Wilson, LPC
Co-Founder, Think Time
Think Time Life Leadership System
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