2019 / February

Tears don’t mean you’re losing, everybody’s bruising

Who You Are by Jessie J

Photo by Tom Pumford on Unsplash

I stare at my reflection in the mirror. Why am I doing this to myself? Losing my mind on a tiny error, I nearly left the real me on the shelf.

The opening lines of Jessie J’s Who You Are poses one of the most profound questions we can ask ourselves: Why do we risk leaving the real self behind when faced with challenge? This might be in relation to having made a bad choice, or mistake, and now having to deal with the consequence. It equally might be just the general challenges of life. Either way, what does it mean to face life as ourselves? How can I respond to the complexity of life with integrity as Dave?

Jessie J said that she wrote this song when feeling scared she was losing her sense of self. I think we all experience times when we share this feeling. This sense of questioning what it means to be ourselves, and what impact this has on our lives. How do I face the challenges of life as Dave? This becomes especially poignant when we are faced with learning how to be ourselves when faced with difficulty arising out of our own decisions and life choices.

What I love about Jessie J’s exploration of the idea is the recognition that knowing and growing in more of the self may be a painful experience; But tears don’t mean you’re losing, everybody’s bruising. There’s nothing wrong with who you are. Being sad sometimes, and crying, is OK if it’s part of us being true to our sense of self. Our sense of who we are uniquely created to be. These experiences can be opportunities for us to grow in consistency, integrity and maturity. Learning to be ourselves when responding to challenges may be a painful and uncomfortable experience but it is of value.

I think the message of this song is so important to our wellbeing. So often when faced with difficulty it is tempting to take the easy option and remove ourselves from the potential of discomfort. Yet the song contains a powerful rebuke; Don’t lose who you are. If this means making hard decisions, then it’s okay not to be okay.

The song finishes with a beautiful vision: With a smile, that’s my own. My long-term wellbeing will be so much healthier if I can learn to live with this truth: Making the right decisions might be hard, it might be painful, but a genuine warmth, wellbeing, and smile, comes from the integrity of really being me.


Exploring and co-creating #wellbeing4all and community theology with individuals, businesses and communities. For the many, not the few.