Music often touches us deeply – helping us access emotions and longings that lie just below the surface. Certain songs or albums can scratch an emotional itch in a way that few things can, and finding a song that matches what you’re feeling is a great way to “lean into” emotions.
Carl Jung said that “what you resist will persist” and embracing difficult emotions rather than finding distractions can carry you through a difficult feeling sooner than resisting that feeling. Anxiety is sometimes the result of not allowing a difficult emotion to come to the surface. An emotion fully felt may only last minutes, but anxiety may stay with you all day.
I sometimes want to prescribe songs for patients when I sense it would be helpful to feel something below the surface that needs to be felt in a deeper way.
This song, The Only Thing, from Sufjan Steven’s album “Carrie and Lowell” captures the pain of losing someone and the complicated feelings toward someone that meant the world to you. Grief, love, regret, abandonment, despair, awe, wonder, loneliness. It’s all there.