By Ashley Mateo, SELF magazine
Taylor Swift may be just 20 years old, but her simple, heartfelt lyrics strike a chord with anyone who's fallen in love. Her new album Speak Now comes out today, so we're looking at her songs to find love lessons we can all learn from.
"Back to December"
Sample Lyric: "So this is me swallowing my pride/ Standing in front of you saying 'I'm sorry' for that night/ And I go back to December all the time ... Missing you, wishing I'd realized what I had when you were mine"
Taylor's Take: "I've never felt the need to apologize in a song before," Swift confessed to MTV. "But in the last two years I've experienced a lot, [including] a lot of different kinds of learning lessons. And sometimes you learn a lesson too late and at that point you need to apologize because you were careless."
Lesson Learned: We think Taylor said it best! Sometimes, when things go wrong, it's easier to simply blame someone else. But if you can take a long, hard look at yourself and admit when you're at fault, that's a true sign of maturity. Plus, owning up to something (even if you just admit it to yourself!) always makes you feel better.
"You Belong To Me"
Sample Lyric: "But she wears short skirts, I wear t-shirts/She's cheer captain and I'm on the bleachers/Dreaming about the day when you wake up and find/That what you're looking for has been here the whole time."
Taylor's Take: The singer has said, "I overheard a conversation one of my friends was having with his girlfriend, and he was getting completely chewed out by her! She was screaming through the phone, and I think it was for something really small, and I remember thinking, 'Why does he let her push him around like that because she obviously doesn't appreciate him?' But instead of saying that out loud to him, I wrote it down in a song."
Lesson Learned: Researchers at the University of Iowa in Iowa City found no proof to support the old "opposites attract" axiom. What they did find, however, is that we're most often drawn to people who hold similar values and attitudes. "If you and your partner are opposites in one or more areas, it can result in more communication, thought-provoking conversation and sharing of ideas," says life coach Charles Orlando, author of The Problem With Women...Is Men (BookSurge). "But it also can lead to bickering." Clashing, though, isn't always a bad thing. Sensible sparring, rather than full-blown battling, helps pairs "air opinions rather than suppress them or explode later."
Sample Lyric: "Braced myself for the goodbye, 'cause that's all I've ever known/ And you took me by surprise, you said, "I'll never leave you alone."
Taylor's Take:"I was reflecting back on a boy I liked at a certain time," she told Rolling Stone. "The song is about what it would be like if I actually let my guard down."
Lesson Learned: Don't underestimate people. Whatever happened in past relationships--do you best to leave it there. In order to move forward with someone, you need to be willing to let them in and show a little vulnerability. If you automatically think the worst of someone, you're never going to be able to drop that wall and really connect with them.
"Forever & Always"
Sample Lyric: "Oh, I stare at the phone, he still hasn't called/And then you feel so low you can't feel nothing at all/And you flashback to when we said forever and always."
Taylor's Take: "[It's] a song about watching somebody completely fade away in a relationship and wondering what you did wrong," the star explained to People.
Lesson Learned: Breakups suck, but don't define yourself by a relationship or a boyfriend. Think about what being in a relationship means to you, then reevaluate and find other ways to feel secure in yourself. By refocusing your energy toward nonromantic goals, you'll start to see that there are myriad sources of fulfillment besides "finding the one." Plus, when you are with someone, you'll feel more satisfied because you'll have more going on than just your relationship.
Sample Lyric: "When all you wanted was to be wanted/Wish you could go back and tell yourself what you know now'/Cause when you're fifteen and somebody tells you they love you/You're gonna believe them."
Taylor's Take: Swift told CMT, "'Fifteen' talks about how my best friend, Abigail, got her heart broken when we were in ninth grade and singing about that absolutely gets me every time."
Lesson Learned: Who doesn't wish they could turn back to time to right some kind of wrong from high school? Living in the past, however, is no way to live, and most things happen for a reason. Learn from failed relationships, and use that knowledge to grow in future relationships. And don't blame yourself for that fluttery high school crush feeling: studies show a similarity between people in the early phase of falling in love and patients who have obsessive-compulsive disorder; both types of people show an increase in the feel-good brain chemical dopamine, which is linked with drug addiction.
Sample Lyric: "Hey Stephen, I've been holding back this feeling/So I've got some things to say to you/I seen it all so I thought but I never seen nobody shine the way you do."
Taylor's Take: "The song is actually about a guy who I had a crush on and never told him," Swift has previously told Access Hollywood. "So I wrote everything that I was thinking down in the song instead of telling him."
Lesson Learned: Speak up! If you don't tell someone how you feel, they'll never know--and you'll never know if they feel the same way. It's scary to put yourself out there, but it shows confidence (a major turn-on for guys!). Here's a tip to channel courage: thinking about your favorite celebrity may bolster your confidence. Musing over a star's strengths (she's so outgoing!) can have a positive effect on self-esteem, helping you feel more connected to your goals.
Listen to all of the lovey dovey tracks right here!
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Photo Credit: WWD