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I was listening to a Taylor Swift song, the one that goes, “It’s me, hi, I’m the problem, it’s me,” and I thought, “This one sentence, when used correctly, could completely change your life.” And then, I immediately wanted to make sure everyone knew how to use it correctly. By correctly, I mean use it to break free rather than use it to keep yourself trapped.

My next thought was, “How fun would it be to do 10 lessons from Taylor Swift for my newsletter?” and here we are. So, without further ado, here are ten transformative lessons from Taylor Swift that can help you break free and live your best life.

Lesson #1: “It’s me, hi, I’m the problem, it’s me”

Trap: Blaming others, making yourself a victim

Path to Freedom: Take Responsibility

As an adult, the only thing that keeps you stuck or trapped is you. You truly are the problem. That doesn’t mean there aren’t external obstacles in your way. But obstacles can be cleared, opening up a way to move forward. The shackles of our lives are of our own making.

Let’s talk about using this sentence specifically in relationships. Remember the three pillars of my program? Cherish, Acceptance, Responsibility. Think of this as a three-legged stool. If one of the legs is missing, or even if it’s just shorter than the other two, you topple over. This is where that whole “do it correctly” comes in. If you use this sentence without cherishing yourself, you are doing it wrong.

This is not about blaming ourselves for other people’s bad behavior. It’s not about justifying their bad behavior (at our own expense). And it’s definitely not allowing ourselves to be abused or mistreated. If you are doing any of these things, you aren’t cherishing yourself, which means you aren’t using it correctly.

So, how do you use this sentence while cherishing yourself? You take responsibility for anything you can take responsibility for—anything that is actually yours—without self-judgment. Take responsibility for what you’re making their behavior mean, for how you feel about it, for how you’re showing up, for who you are being in the relationship, for your words, your tone of voice, and your body language, for choosing to be in relationships (or not), and for how you allow yourself to be treated.

The more you approach your relationships with this sentence as your focus, while cherishing yourself, the better your relationships will be. When you focus on the other person as the problem, you really are stuck. We can’t control other people. We try and fail over and over again. If they are the problem, you’re screwed. Because they may or may not change and there isn’t much you can do about it.

But if you’re the problem, you have all the power. This means you can completely transform your relationship and your experience without them having to change. This is freedom.

Steps to Break Free:

  • Self-Reflection: Regularly reflect on your behavior and thoughts to understand your role in any situation.
  • Mindful Communication: Communicate your needs and feelings clearly and without blame.
  • Personal Accountability: Hold yourself accountable for your actions and reactions without self-judgment.
  • Empowerment: Recognize your ability to change and take proactive steps to improve your circumstances.

Lesson #2: “Shake It Off.”

Trap: Giving too much weight to what other people think about you

Path to Freedom: Cherish > Love yourself enough to remember how amazing you are and give yourself permission to let their opinions go

“Shake It Off” teaches us to let go of the negative opinions and judgments of others. It’s about cherishing yourself enough to know that your worth isn’t determined by what others think.

When we give too much weight to others’ opinions, we allow them to dictate our self-worth and happiness. This trap can keep us from living authentically and pursuing our true desires. By focusing on self-love and cherishing who we are, we can let go of the negativity and embrace our unique selves.

Steps to Break Free:

  • Affirm Your Worth: Remind yourself daily of your strengths and qualities.
  • Set Boundaries: Limit your exposure to negative influences and protect your mental space.
  • Focus on Self-Love: Engage in activities that make you feel good about yourself.

Lesson #3: “When I was drowning, that’s when I could finally breathe.”

Trap: Avoiding negative emotions

Path to Freedom: Acceptance > Stop resisting and let yourself feel it. The only way out is through

Avoiding negative emotions can lead to even greater distress. Embracing and accepting these emotions allows us to process and move through them, leading to healing and growth.

Often, we resist negative emotions because they are uncomfortable. However, by allowing ourselves to fully experience and accept these feelings, we can find relief and clarity. This acceptance is key to emotional resilience and freedom.

Steps to Break Free:

  • Mindfulness Practice: Sit with your emotions without judgment.
  • Express Your Feelings: Write in a journal or talk to a trusted friend.
  • Seek Support: Consider coaching or therapy to help process deep emotions.

Lesson #4: “How many days did I spend thinkin’ ‘bout how you did me wrong, wrong, wrong? / Lived in the shade you were throwin’ ’til all of my sunshine was gone, gone, gone.”

Trap: Letting people who hurt us keep hurting us, letting yourself be a victim

Path to Freedom: Take Responsibility > Choose to let it go. Choose forgiveness as a gift you give yourself

Holding onto grudges and letting past hurts define us can keep us trapped in a cycle of pain. Choosing to let go and forgive is not about condoning the behavior but freeing ourselves from its hold.

Forgiveness is a powerful tool for personal freedom. It allows us to reclaim our power and move forward without the baggage of past hurts. This doesn’t mean forgetting but rather choosing to no longer let it control our emotions and actions.

Steps to Break Free:

  • Acknowledge Your Pain: Understand the impact of the hurt.
  • Decide to Forgive: Make a conscious decision to forgive for your own peace.
  • Release the Hurt: Use techniques like writing a forgiveness letter (you don’t have to send it) to release the pain.

Lesson #5: “We’re happy, free, confused, and lonely at the same time / It’s miserable and magical.”

Trap: Thinking we’re supposed to be happy all the time

Path to Freedom: Acceptance > Embrace and be willing to feel all human emotions

Believing we should always be happy sets unrealistic expectations and can lead to disappointment. Embracing the full range of human emotions allows us to live more authentically and deeply.

Life is a mix of emotions, and each one has its place. By accepting that it’s okay to feel happy, sad, confused, or lonely, we can navigate life’s ups and downs more effectively and with greater compassion for ourselves.

Steps to Break Free:

  • Embrace Emotions: Allow yourself to feel without labeling emotions as good or bad.
  • Reflect and Learn: Use each emotional experience as a learning opportunity.
  • Practice Self-Compassion: Be kind to yourself during emotional lows.

Lesson #6: “Never be so polite, you forget your power. Never wield such power, you forget to be polite.”

Trap: People-Pleasing/Self-Centeredness

Path to Freedom: Cherish > Play in the middle where you can love yourself AND love them

Balancing assertiveness with kindness is key to healthy relationships. Neither people-pleasing nor self-centeredness serves us in the long run.

Learning to advocate for ourselves while maintaining respect for others creates balanced and fulfilling relationships. It’s about finding a balance that honors your needs and those of others.

Steps to Break Free:

  • Assertive Communication: Practice expressing your needs clearly and respectfully.
  • Set Boundaries: Know your limits and communicate them.
  • Practice Empathy: Understand others’ perspectives without losing sight of your own.

Lesson #7: “I bet you got pushed around / Somebody made you cold / But the cycle ends right now / ’Cause you can’t lead me down that road.”

Trap: Letting yourself be a victim

Path to Freedom: Take Responsibility > Take Your Power Back

Breaking free from victimhood involves reclaiming your power and choosing not to let past experiences dictate your future.

Victimhood can become a comfortable but limiting identity. By taking responsibility for our lives and decisions, we empower ourselves to create positive change and break negative cycles.

Steps to Break Free:

  • Acknowledge Your Power: Recognize where you have control in your life.
  • Make Empowered Choices: Decide how you want to respond to challenges.
  • Focus on Growth: Use past experiences as lessons for growth rather than reasons to stay stuck.

Lesson #8: “You’re the only one of you; Baby, that’s the fun of you.”

Trap: Thinking you should be different than you are

Path to Freedom: Cherish > Embrace Your Unique Brilliance and Let Yourself Shine

Comparison can rob us of joy. Embracing our unique qualities and strengths allows us to shine and live authentically.

Everyone has unique gifts and talents. By focusing on what makes us special, we can live more fulfilling lives and contribute our best to the world.

Steps to Break Free:

  • Self-Discovery: Spend time understanding your strengths and passions.
  • Celebrate Uniqueness: Regularly acknowledge and celebrate what makes you unique.
  • Live Authentically: Make choices that reflect your true self, not what others expect.

Lesson #9: “And you’ve got your demons, and darling, they all look like me.”

Trap: Thinking marriage is supposed to be easy

Path to Freedom: Acceptance > Embracing the truth that our partners are there to help us heal (which means they are excellent at triggering us).

Terry Real, a renowned relationship expert, says,

“Few things can trigger us or make us go crazy like our intimate relationships can. Love is like a Roto-Rooter – it will push every button you own; it will bring up to the surface every unhealed wound and fissure that has lodged inside your body. Nothing stimulates hurt quite the way love does. As we shall see, we all marry our unfinished business.”

Relationships, especially marriages, are not always easy. Accepting that partners trigger us as part of our growth can transform how we approach challenges.

Seeing challenges in relationships as opportunities for growth helps us navigate conflicts with more grace and understanding. It’s about embracing the journey together, knowing it’s okay to have ups and downs.

Steps to Break Free:

  • Reflect on Triggers: Explore why certain behaviors trigger you and work on healing those past hurts.
  • Open Communication: Talk openly with your partner about your feelings.
  • Growth Mindset: View challenges as opportunities to grow individually and as a couple.

Lesson #10: “And the saddest fear Comes creeping in, That you never loved me Or her, or anyone, or anything.”

Trap: Making someone else’s ability to love mean something about your lovability

Path to Freedom: Cherish > You are 100% lovable (no matter what you do or don’t do)

Someone else’s inability to love you doesn’t define your worth. Your lovability is intrinsic and not dependent on others’ actions or feelings.

Understanding that you are inherently lovable helps build self-worth and resilience. It allows you to form healthier relationships based on mutual respect and love.

Steps to Break Free:

  • Affirm Your Worth: Regularly remind yourself that you are lovable just as you are.
  • Self-Love Practices: Engage in activities that reinforce your self-worth.
  • Healthy Relationships: Surround yourself with people who respect and appreciate you.

Questions to Consider

  1. Which of these traps do you find yourself falling into most often?
  2. Why do you think you’re choosing that?
  3. What steps could you take on the path to freedom?
  4. What patterns do you see for yourself? Do you notice one pillar that stands out from the others in regard to where you struggle?

Conclusion

These lessons, inspired by Taylor Swift, highlight the importance of cherishing yourself, accepting your emotions, and taking responsibility for your life. By embracing these paths to freedom, you can transform your relationships and your overall experience, creating a life that aligns with your true desires and values. Remember, the power to change lies within you.

Live Free. Love Life.

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