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Self-Empowerment Through Music: The ‘Power Playlist’

If you’re like me, you can’t go to the gym without your music. I derive inspiration, energy, and stamina from my personal selections of playlists to energize my entire fitness routine. At home, I will put on music when I have to do some mindless but nevertheless necessary chore. And when I’m feeling not-so-great, physically or emotionally, music “hath charms to calm the savage beast”, as the saying goes.

In my work as a psychotherapist and life/business coach, frequently I am encouraging clients to identify the behaviors that are their options for solving problems. It takes focus and energy. While I am not a “music therapist” per se, I do believe that using the power of music can energize your motivation, inner strength, and self-esteem.

As a big fan of many (not all) Broadway musicals, I derive inspiration from many of these songs. Others might derive inspiration from other genres, including country/western, hip-hop, or pop. I encourage you to give this technique a try, to use your iPhone, iPod, or other portable music device to develop an “Inspiration Playlist” to use when you need an emotional boost. Here are some songs to consider, and why:

“Defying Gravity” (from the original Broadway cast recording of “Wicked”, sung by Idina Menzel) – This is a great song to re-energize after someone has betrayed, undermined, or under-estimated you.

“Listen” (from the movie soundtrack version of “Dreamgirls”, sung by Beyonce’) – This song is about confronting someone who has tried to dominate and undermine you, and regaining your power back to run your own life. It’s a great song for recovering from a breakup, or healing from abuse. Digital Empowerment

“I Am Changing” (from both stage and movie versions of “Dreamgirls”) – This one is about a time of transition; forgiving yourself from the regrets of your past, and learning that your future is not doomed because of past mistakes.

“The Writing on the Wall” (from “The Mystery of Edwin Drood”, original Broadway cast album, sung by Betty Buckley) – This is an existential pick-me-up about the value of living each to its fullest.

“If My Friends Could See Me Now” (from the stage and movie version of “Sweet Charity”) – This song of pride, triumph, and just a little gloating helps to affirm yourself in new accomplishments, achieving new heights, or just preparing yourself to do so.

“One Hallowe’en” (from the Broadway musical “Applause”, sung by Penny Fuller) – This 60’s-sounding anthem of unbridled (and ruthless!) ambition is for when you need to tap into your competitive side and frankly let them have it with all you got, no matter what. (In context, this is sung by the ambitious understudy, “Eve”, challenging the Broadway star, “Margo”, in this musical adaptation of the classic film, “All About Eve.”)

“Red Light” (from the original movie soundtrack of “Fame” (1980), sung by Linda Clifford) – This “don’t-mess-with-me” song, sung with attitude by an African-American female, is a song about handling a situation assertively when others undermine a relationship. It’s also about setting limits, not being a victim, and telling people where to get off, when it’s time to.

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