Taylor Swift Songs about Mental Health: Fearless (Taylor’s Version)
At Council for Relationships, we’re all about making mental health care more accessible, and we know that getting folks to talk about mental health is one of the first steps in getting people the help they need. This is why we’re proponents of efforts, whether implicit or explicit, to open up avenues for mental health discussions. Enter art. Since the dawn of humanity, we’ve been using art to express mental health ideas. Prolific songwriters such as Taylor Swift continue that expressive tradition today. In fact, since her debut in 2006, Swift’s music has opened doors to discussions on countless critical mental health topics. Over the coming months, CFR Staff Therapist Meghan Rydzewski, MFT, will chronicle, album by album, the lessons we can learn from the Taylor Swift songs about mental health.
Next Album: Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)
Previous Album: Taylor Swift
Important mental health takeaways from Fearless
Fearless encompasses a lot of feelings surrounding love, betrayal, and heartbreak. Within those events comes bravery, courage, and awareness. This album holds a special place in my heart especially the songs “Fearless” and “Fifteen.” Singing “Fifteen” in the 8th-grade talent show and now writing about its important mental health takeaways is incredibly surreal.
Fearless songs about mental health
Fearless is an empowering song that gives the energy to make anything possible. This song describes dancing in a storm in a beautiful dress with a person whom one likes. Taylor is trying to convey that she is willing to do something that she typically would not and push herself outside of her comfort zone for this love.
For certain things in life, we become fearless if we want it badly enough. For example, interviewing for the dream job, asking someone out on a date, going back to school, trusting people, etc. Being fearless can be scary and feel like we have no control. Anxiety needs control to gain power, and in this song, Taylor is singing about leaving the anxiety behind and letting go to accomplish what one wants.
You can do that too in real life, letting anxiety have less control and becoming more fearless takes time, but with healthy coping skills, it can be done.
This song paints a picture of a 15-year-old girl wanting nothing more but to date the boy on the football team. But this song is so much more than that.
It is important to remind teenagers that there are more important things than a peer’s attention and affection. Teens need academic goals and friendship goals. It is also important to remind teens that it is okay to not want to be in a romantic relationship. Taylor is writing about regrets and not realizing that there is more to life than young love. Taylor mentions that she didn’t know who she was supposed to be, but eventually found out who she was meant to be.
You are not a “finished product” at 15 (or at any age), and if you are older than 15, it is okay to look back on your teenage years without regret.
Tell Me Why
“Tell Me Why” is a powerful and underrated song in Taylor’s discography.
The song describes a relationship that is extremely unhealthy. Taylor sings about wanting to know why the other person is causing harm because she knows that they are aware of what they are doing. She describes having to get knocked down to truly see who someone is and how they are treating you.
Making one feel small so the other person can feel whole inside explains how insecure that other person may be feeling inside, and instead of dealing with it healthily, they are taking it out on someone close to them to try to make themselves feel better. The acknowledgment of this behavior is the first step of identifying an unhealthy relationship and setting boundaries with the person and their harmful comments.
It is important to shield yourself from this and continue to build yourself up with positive influences and being around people in your life who make you feel good about yourself. Going to therapy is a great outlet to discuss unhealthy patterns in relationships, as well as surround yourself with a good support system.
Breathe (feat. Colbie Caillat)
“Breathe” is a soft soothing song that I used to calm my nerves. This song is about accepting the fate of one’s relationship, whether that be romantic, friendship, etc.
It can be quite challenging to feel like you will not be able to breathe without someone. Journaling can be helpful in this situation to get out the feelings that you might not be able to express to that person. Ultimately knowing what is truly best for yourself and acting on it can be difficult, especially when you may not want to do it but you know you will benefit from doing so.
Taylor sings about bravery and courage in this song. It takes both of those things to distance yourself from something that is not healthy for you. Writing your feelings down is a way to get your feelings out without having to share them with anyone else. You could even write a letter to someone without ever intending to deliver it to them. This can be a healthy coping mechanism that can release built-up feelings and emotions.
About the Author
Meghan Rydzewski, MFT, is a New Jersey Staff Therapist at the Council for Relationships. If you have questions about Taylor Swift songs about mental health or about Meghan’s availability to see new clients, go here.
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