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Top Songs That Are Guaranteed to Inspire You and Move You to Tears

Top Songs That Are Guaranteed to Inspire You and Move You to Tears

Music is one of the great gifts of life. There is nothing like music to reach into our souls and pull out the emotion we have squashed down and wedged into a tiny corner. Sometimes it is so wedged that we don’t even know it is there. Sometimes it takes a really great song to bring it out and let it go. Music can also fill us with hope and give us solace when nothing else seems to be able to.

Below, I share with you my top favorite songs which give me strength, hope and make me feel that there are people out there who do understand what we are thinking and feeling on a daily basis, even if we are too afraid to tell anyone. Please listen to and love these songs knowing that there are great people out there who are really working to make life better for you and everyone around you.

What a Wonderful World: Bob Thiele and George David Weiss

Eva Cassidy
    “And I think to myself, What a Wonderful World.”

    Originally made famous by Louie Armstrong, this song carries such a  beautiful message and there is no one better to sing it than the immortal Eva Cassidy. No matter how down you are, you have to admit that there is some hope left in the world when you hear this song.

    Sonata Pathetique: Ludwig Van Beethoven

    Beethoven Sonata Pathetique
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      Ludwig Van Beethoven was one of the most interesting artists in history.Beethoven was raised by an alcoholic father who he kicked out of the house when he was 18 to raise his brothers and sisters. He suffered all his life from disabling stomach ailments and ultimately lost his hearing, which caused him such anguish that he shunned people and lived in solitude for fear his secret deafness would be discovered.

      After he died, in his belongings was found a document now called the Heilingenstad Testament , in which he details his thoughts and feelings at a crucial time in his life. In the document, he alludes to taking his own life but casts the idea aside knowing that he had too much music left in him to stop living. The document reveals a brilliant man tortured by the loss of the one sense that he needed the most and his efforts to hide it. This piece, part of a full Sonata (a piece of music written to be played rather than sung and following a specific form) is the Adagio Cantibile section, the part that is played slowly and in a singing manner. To my mind, it is the single most stunning piece of artistic mastery there is. Here it is played perfectly my Daniel Berenboim.

      Take On Me: Aha

      Aha
        But I’ll be stumbling, slowly learning that life is ok.”

        I don’t know why, but this song  had me from the very first time I heard it. There is something about the sweeping pitch changes in the chorus that never fail to tweak my heartstrings and somehow make me feel like things are all going to work out right. It is just a great song.

        Lyle Workman, Brent Bourgeois: I Don’t Mind at All

        I Don't Mind at All
          “Misery loves company but she will never foot the bill.”

          Back in the 80’s, I was fortunate enough to be part of the San Francisco Bay Area original music scene. At that time, I was privileged to hang out with one of the members of Bourgeois-Tagg, who wrote the music for this song. Lyle was always a brilliant genius and went on to score major films such as “Superbad“, “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and numerous others. I will always remember this song. One great evening, my band opened for Bourgeois-Tagg and I was watching from the wings when they played it. I will never forget that evening. This is one of the most perfect songs I have ever heard, and to this day people still love it.

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          Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen

          Hallelujah
            “Love is not a victory march, its a cold and its a broken Hallelujah.”

            I am sure you remember this song from “Shrek.” It is the perfect heartbreak song. This recording is done by Jon Bon Jovi. I love this version because it is simple and a song so perfect should be represented simply. Too much ornamentation distracts. It takes a great artist to recognize this fact. Jon Bon Jovi is a great artist.

            Ain’t No Mountain High Enough: Ashford and Simpson

            Ain't no mountain high enough
              “No wind, no rain, will stop me baby.”

              You remember this song sung by Marvin Gaye and Tammy Terrell and later by Diana Ross and the Supremes. What greater declaration of strength and loyalty than this beautiful song?

              I Will Always Love You: Dolly Parton

              Whitney
                “I will always love you.”

                Yes, this is the song made famous by the beautiful Whitney Houston, but it was written by Dolly Parton. Not only is this song perfectly written lyrically, the simple chorus allowed Ms. Houston to really flex her considerable vocal talents, which she did with impeccable taste. This video always brings tears to my eyes. We will always love you Whitney.

                Nessun Dorma: Giacomo Puccini

                Nessun Dorma
                  “On your mouth I will tell it when the sun shines.”

                  From the opera Turandot. This is the aria from the final act of this opera. The aria is sung by the character Calaf, who has fallen in love with the beautiful but, let’s face it, completely nuts Princess Turandot. The Princess, being Herman Goering in a body suit apparently, has set up three riddles for her perspective suitors to answer. If they cannot, they are beheaded; if one can, he can marry her.

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                  Calaf has answered all three but gives the Princess one more chance by telling her that if she can discover his name by morning, she can execute him. She then decrees that no one in the kingdom shall sleep and must find the answer by morning otherwise they will all be executed. This I find a little harsh, even for opera; however, the aria itself is amazingly beautiful and tenors all over the world have chosen to take a stab at it. It is fraught with danger just like the path of Calaf, in that there are some superb high notes at the end that are sustained. One flashbulb popping or cell phone going off while singing this and you are toast as a tenor.

                  Caruso: Lucio Dalla

                  Caruso
                    “When he saw the moon coming out from the cloud, even death seemed sweet to him.”

                    Ok, I know I am getting all verklempt and gushy about these songs but I am not even kidding, This one, written by Lucio Dalla in 1986, was not made famous until after his death at which point it jumped the charts to number 2.

                    The song is dedicated to Italian tenor Enrico Caruso and is said to describe what the composer pictured as the final scene of his life. It is achingly beautiful and when sung in Italian by Lara Fabian, it will definitely make your eyes wet.

                    Amazing Grace: John Newton

                    911
                      “How precious did that grace appear, the hour I first believed.”

                      This is a song of redemption and hope. The best version I have ever seen and heard is Renee Fleming singing it at the ceremony at the anniversary of Ground Zero in New York. Standing in front of all the people who had lost loved ones and confronting their grief was so difficult that she had to look up in an effort to hold it together. A performance like that takes so much strength and resolve. Filling an area, the scene of such horrific events, with beauty and compassion is the mark of a great artist and she will be remembered for her beauty and her grace far into future generations.

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                      Laudate Dominum: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

                      Laudate Dominum
                        “For his love is powerful, his faith, eternal.”

                        Also known as Psalm 117. This beautiful version is sung to perfection by the lovely Ceclilia Bartoli. Mozart was so gifted in writing stunningly beautiful melodies with perfect harmony to accompany them. His works are a gift to us centuries after he created them.

                        Mary: Sarah McLauchlan

                        Mary
                          “With trembling hands she reaches out, a stranger’s flesh is offered.”

                          This is a song about sacrifice and compassion despite being treated unkindly. The lyrics are so universal. It makes you stop and look at life and the people in it.

                          Then They Do: Trace Atkins

                          Trace Atkins
                            “You want all the dreams that they dreamed to come true, then they do.”

                            If you are a parent, this will hit you where you live. Sniff!

                            Vincent: Don McClean

                            Vincent
                              “They did not listen. they did not know how. Perhaps they’ll listen now.”

                              A beautifully crafted song by a consummate songwriter. I only wish Vincent could be here to hear how well he was understood, if not in his own time, in times that would be his future. I think it would have given him solace. He never knew what he meant to all of us.

                              Deja Vu: The Shrews

                              Shrews
                                “I remember all the things I should have said, But I always say the opposite instead.”

                                Ok, this may not make you cry but you will love it! The Shrews are a new group of fabulous musicians. What can I say? The songs are just catchy as hell! After all those tears, you have to get up and dance!

                                There are so many wonderfully inspirational songs out there. Enjoy these and then send me your picks! I might do another post!

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                                Chris Ellis

                                Successful Author, Life Coach and Musician

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                                Last Updated on January 24, 2021

                                How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

                                How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

                                Do you say yes so often that you no longer feel that your own needs are being met? Are you wondering how to say no to people?

                                For years, I was a serial people pleaser[1]. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time, especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

                                But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

                                It took a long while, but I learned the art of saying no. Saying no meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. When that happened, I became a lot happier.

                                And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

                                The Importance of Saying No

                                When you learn the art of saying no, you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

                                In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

                                Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey, considered one of the most successful women in the world, confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything.

                                Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

                                Warren Buffett views “no” as essential to his success. He said:

                                “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

                                When I made “no” a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success, focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

                                How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

                                It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say no.

                                From an early age, we are conditioned to say yes. We said yes probably hundreds of times in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work, to get a promotion, to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

                                We say yes because we feel good when we help someone, because it can seem like the right thing to do, because we think that is key to success, and because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist.

                                And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves.

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                                At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we are feeling bad that we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

                                The message, no matter where we turn, is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

                                How Do You Say No Without Feeling Guilty?

                                Deciding to add the word “no” to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say no, but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of no that you could finally create more time for things you care about.

                                But let’s be honest, using the word “no” doesn’t come easily for many people.

                                3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

                                1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

                                Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time, especially you haven’t done it much in the past, will feel awkward. Your comfort zone is “yes,” so it’s time to challenge that and step outside that.

                                If you need help getting out of your comfort zone, check out this article.

                                2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

                                When you want to learn how to say no, remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it: who else knows about all of the demands in your life? No one.

                                Only you are at the center of all of these requests. You are the only one that understands what time you really have.

                                3. Saying No Means Saying Yes to Something That Matters

                                When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else that we may care more about. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

                                6 Ways to Start Saying No

                                Incorporating that little word “no” into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

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                                1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

                                One of the biggest challenges to saying no is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no will reflect poorly on you?

                                Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

                                2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

                                Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because of FOMO, even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

                                Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better[2].

                                3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say No

                                Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say yes because we worry about how others will respond or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose their respect. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

                                Keep in mind that saying no can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way.

                                You might disappoint someone initially, but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to. And it will often help others have more respect for you and your boundaries, not less.

                                4. When the Request Comes in, Sit on It

                                Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

                                Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say no. There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

                                5. Communicate Your “No” with Transparency and Kindness

                                When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest[3] to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

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                                How do you say no? 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

                                  Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

                                  Clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

                                  6. Consider How to Use a Modified No

                                  If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” as this will give you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

                                  Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task, but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

                                  Final Thoughts

                                  Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

                                  Use the request as a way to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself.

                                  Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project, but not by working all weekend. You’ll find yourself much happier.

                                  More Tips on How to Say No

                                  Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

                                  Reference

                                  [1] Science of People: 11 Expert Tips to Stop Being a People Pleaser and Start Doing You
                                  [2] Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Tips to Get Over Your FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out
                                  [3] Cooks Hill Counseling: 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

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