Why You Need A Sad Songs Playlist In Your Life
Get in touch with your inner Enneagram 4
It is my humble opinion that sad songs make the world go round. There is nothing like blasting your ear drums to the song that touches your inner soul - we all have one. You know, the song you played over and over again when you broke up with your first love, or the song that speaks directly to you at your saddest. There is nothing like that feeling of being completely seen by someone else's words, when you're at your most vulnerable or low.
So, if you haven't caught on, I love a sad song. In fact, I have a growing playlist on Spotify of tear-jerker tunes. If you're like my husband, you could be thinking 'why in the heck would you have a playlist of things that could make you cry?' To understand this side of me, I use a helpful thing called the 'Enneagram'.
Now, without diverting too far from the topic at hand, the Ennegram is one of the many personality psyche models out there. There are 9 types in total which are all interconnected. In essence, we all have a bit of the 9 types in us but like most personality models, there are a few key types that stick out for each of us.
I am a Type 4, which took a while to get to or even accept for myself - when you get to understand the type 4s, this is quite typical. Type 4s are labelled 'The Individualist', they are sensitive, introspective, expressive, self-absorbed and temporamental... I know, don't I sound like a peach?! However, all are true... kind of!
The Enneagram Institute says of 4s: "[Fours] want to express themselves and their individuality, to create and surround themselves with beauty, to maintain certain moods and feelings, to withdraw to protect their self-image, to take care of emotional needs before attending to anything else, to attract a 'rescuer.'"
Now, I don't accept that description completely, but one thing I do see within myself is the need to 'maintain certain moods' - this is at the crux of type four's love for sad songs. One of the things with this personality type is, we do not like to be rushed out of emotion. If we are feeling blue, melancholic, sad, we like to fester in that until we feel as though we have experienced all of what that emotion has to offer us in that moment in time. That being said, this is sometimes true for joyous emotions too, as well as, anger - yes, unfortunately we are stewers in anger.
So, if you have a friend or significant other or family member who is like this, the worst thing you could say or do to them when they are low is to force them to 'get over it'. Type 4s need people who are stable and willing to sit with them through their low points. We need emphathisers, not people who want to rush to see the good too quickly. So sometimes, you may find a clash with a Type 7 who is 'The Enthusiast' - the optimist, who doesn't like to focus on the negative at all.
I could go on about this for days, but this seems like a good moment to segway back to the positives of allowing yourself to sit through that sad song and why you should invest in setting up your own sad songs playlist. Here are my 5 reaons, and 5 songs to go with each:
1. It's cathartic
You know that moment in the Shawshank Redemption when Andy escapes prison? He has to crawl through the shit laiden pipes - five hundred yards of it! Then he finally gets outside, rips off his shirt and just stands in the field and lets the rain pour on him. That moment is a close equivalent to the feeling of when you just let it all out. Too hyperbolic? Maybe. But trust me. I'm not someone who loves to cry, hardly. But there is something about just giving in once in a while, and letting that song get you to a place where you can let it all go. Even if the letting go is a single tear, it can be healing and like Andy it could be a very freeing experience for you.
My cathartic jam: Someone Like You - Adele. (doh!)
2. It helps you feel connected
Like I alluded in the first paragraph, there is something about hearing someone else bring to lyrics something you have struggled to find the words for. You instantly feel less alone than you did before, because in that moment you know someone else has been where you are, they have felt it too. That is actually my absolute favourite thing about music: it connects! Not only do you feel a bond to the people who like the same tunes as you, but with the artists that wrote it too. Music transports us back in time to places we have lived, people we have loved, and the person we used to be in those moments. It really does keep us connected through time and space.
The tune that takes me back: Thrown Down - Fleetwood Mac.
3. It lets you reflect
I think Inside Out taught us this best, sadness isn't a bad thing - it helps us grow, it gives a new perspective, it gives us things to be grateful for. Emotions, when we let them, give us a greater understanding of ourselves and those around us. When we are jealous, it isn't just for the sake of jealousy, it's often an indication that we could feel inadequate, insecure or out of our depths. Allowing ourselves to feel the good and the bad gives us an opportunity to self-reflect: what triggered this feeling? What needs to change for me to not feel this way? Could I make that change happen or do I need to talk to someone?
The song that tugs on my sadness strings: There Is A Light That Never Goes Out - The Smiths.
4. It helps you grow in empathy
Enneagram Fours are great empathisers. Like I said before, we don't like to be rushed out of emotion which means we are the last to rush you out of your emotions too. We are the friends who sit with you when you're sad, and sometimes cry with you too. Fours will often remind you that your feelings are valid even if they seem irrational to you or anyone else.
Of course, this isn't a trait unique to 'Type Fours'; I think everyone can have an empathetic side, they just have to allow themselves to feel alongside someone. Songs are a great way to do this! Allowing yourself to imagine what the artist was feeling during the moments they wrote the song or what they had to go through to get to that place, is a great way to open yourself up.
I'm not a psychologist, so this is a total take it or leave it piece. But I see empathy like a muscle, you can practise it, exercise it and grow it as often as you like. The more you do, the better at it you can become.
The track that brings out my empathy: I Started A Joke - The Bee Gees.
5. It gives us depth
There is no greater reality check than when something goes wrong in life. Whether it's a horrendous break-up, or the loss of someone dear; the biggest blow to the 'life is great' gutt, is the sadness that comes as a result of something tragic.
Now, not for one second am I saying that a break-up or death is a good thing, hardly. But one thing tragedy gives us, is the opportunity to grow, develop and change to a better version of ourselves.
I lost my dad a few years ago; that is to date the biggest tragedy I have ever faced. My family and I are still reeling from it, and I imagine we will continue to do so in our own way. But I can comfortably say, I wouldn't be who I am today without having gone through that. I now have insight into a part of life which means I can be there for others going through it right now; I can see things from their perspective.
From another perspective: as a writer, I have a different pool of experience to draw on which influences my stories and writing style. Of course I miss my dad, but the reality right now is I won't get him back. But I can use the love he showed me whilst he was alive, and the memories I have with him to be the daughter he wanted me to be.
There is beauty in our sorrow, we just have to be willing to find it.
The song that makes me miss dad all over again: Most Of All - Brandi Carlile.
Want to listen to more of my sad tunes? Check out my Spotify Playlist. I would love to hear the sad songs you love, please share with me on IG: healthy.thoughts.byk