Three stages of a relationship breakup expressed in the lyrics of popular music: Part 3 Enlightenment

In My Life – The Beatles
These lyrics are so profound that they are less a meditation on love, but on life (if they can be so divided). They almost speak for themselves. Here’s the first two verses:

There are places I remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain

All these places had their moments

With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I've loved them all

When we are able to say ‘I’ve loved them all’ and not seek revenge, not flinch from the embarassment, pain and emotional turmoil our former partners may give rise to, when we can do all that – then we’ve become enlightened, at least as far as our ex’s are concerned. Well, that’s the theory anyway. Don’t think because I’m writing this that I’ve followed it.

So the wheel turns, the cycle continues. Now, when revenge so occupied our minds when we thought of past lovers, now we are able to think about our lost loves with a renewed sense of wisdom and emotional balance:

Though I know I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I'll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more.

This song tells us that to love afresh does not mean that you need to reject the loves of the past. An assault on them is an assault on your former self, since it was you who loved them. Rather, the love you have now sits alongside those you once loved. You are whom you have loved. But it is revitalised, nourished and in harmony with those that have come before. You are now free and able to love your current partner more, because of, not in spite of, those for whom once you wished revenge upon.

There are, alas, almost as many break ups as there are relationships, as many break-up songs as there are love songs. In songs of break up we’ve all found solace in lyrics that are angry, solemn, full of longing, bittersweet, mournful, or joyous, or even all of those at once. 

But from now I wish you only love songs.

Enlightened love songs
A Love Supreme – John Coltrane
The Air That I Breathe – Hollies

Here, There, Everywhere – The Beatles
Yellow – Coldplay
Crazy in Love – Beyoncé

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