How K-Pop Taught Me To Love Myself

The term “music saved my life” is a term which is thrown around a lot. For me, my mental health hasn’t been incredibly stable, but music is one thing that has helped me a lot in that sense.

I’ve always been an “emo” and loved pop-punk/alt-rock, as a lot of music within that genre has helped me get over several hurdles in life. For example, You Me At Six helped me through heartbreak, Knuckle Puck helped me through toxic relationships whilst nothing, nowhere helped me through times of loneliness.

However, there is something which can be seen as unusual for an “emo” to like, and that is K-Pop. The genre of K-Pop is a fairly large contrast from the heavy music which I usually listen to, but K-Pop has still managed to help with my mental health. The one artist who I will refer to in this article is BTS, and they have guided me to learn to love myself. I feel as if learning to love myself is one of the final stages of recovery. I’ve gone from recovering from heartbreak, toxic relationships and feelings of loneliness, to now learning to accept who I am and loving myself.

BTS are a seven-member Korean pop band who debuted in 2013. However, for me it was their 2018 album Love Yourself: Answer which helped me the most. This is a finale of a series which the band released, including a short film Love Yourself: Wonder, followed by EP Love Yourself: Her and then studio album Love Yourself: Tear. However, the themes expressed in the songs in the album have lead me to realise different things in life, which have helped me change certain aspects of my life in order to be a better version of myself.

There are three songs which stand-out for me, and the first one is “Epiphany” which is a solo track by the oldest member of the group, Jin. The most important lesson which I learnt from this song is that in order to able to love others, I must be able to love myself. The song begins with Jin expressing how he thought he loved someone, but had to change for them because he wanted his life with them, but he then comes to realise that he’s just hiding who he really is behind a mask, so therefore he is the one who he should love, even though he may not be perfect.

The other song is “I’m Fine” which is a song sung by all members. One of the smart things with this song are the references a track from 2016 track “Save Me.” There’s an image in a music video, where the words “Save Me” is written in a way so that when it is flipped upside down, it says “I’m Fine.” But the main message which the song portrays is that they don’t need to rely on someone to save them, but in fact, they should just love themselves in order to be okay.

The third track which stands out to me is “Magic Shop.” I find this song so beautiful because it’s a song for BTS fans, ARMY’s. Generally, ‘fan songs’ are a thank you to fans, but “Magic Shop” is not only that, but is a song which Jungkook wanted ARMY’s to turn to when they need comfort and support. The lyrics in this song talk about problems which people face, about how a lot of the time we struggle to talk about our problems and just hear the same cliché things. RM’s verse is then like a story which tells us about how important ARMY’s are in their success, and that this song is almost like a gift to us.

These three songs have the most powerful message to me, however I know that a lot of other ARMY’s would pick three different songs from the album, which I think is what makes this album so special. Everyone has experienced different pain and this album has songs which can guide you through them different pains.

Something quite personal to me which I want to share is how some “friends” have bullied me because of my passion for K-Pop. But listening to Love Yourself: Answer has really showed me that those people don’t matter. It is quite sad how an album by a K-Pop group has helped my mental health more than some people who claim to be my friend.

Although I am not a Korean speaker, the fact that I can relate to foreign music proves that music is a universal language. Music is something that has helped me through a lot of obstacles I’ve faced in life, and as well as family and friends, music is the only other constant that I’ve had in my life. I will forever be grateful for music.

If anyone has any issues which they want to talk about, then please feel free to contact me through one of my social media links, or speak to someone you trust! Life comes at us with so many challenges, but everything will work out in the end.


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