I entered my fitness class at BU’s FitRec in a bitter mood. I had been struggling not to fall asleep in my previous class due to insufficient sleep the past couple of nights, and was running late since I missed the bus I would usually catch right after class. Lack of proper sleep tends to magnify inconveniences or the stress of upcoming responsibilities. Working out usually allows me to release any stress, but the fast-paced circuits with burpees, planks, squats, mountain climbers, etc. weren’t doing much to help me relax.
Over halfway into the workout class, Orianthi’s “According to You” came up on my instructor’s playlist. My mood lifted instantly. As indicated in the lyrics posted above, Orianthi sings of all the negative qualities that some previous suitor had labeled her as, and she contrasts these undesirable qualities with those that someone else now praises her for. I don’t listen to this song regularly, but I’ve always found it uplifting whenever I was going through something difficult.
The first time that this song boosted my spirits was when I was in the midst of the college application process. I was greatly discouraged by the progress of my applications. During one particular stressful episode of the application process, my mom took my brother and me to Mass on a first Friday of the month, which at the time was essentially considered a Holy Day of Obligation in my family. As I was wallowing in my frustrations, “According to You” came on the radio. Listening to the lyrics, I realized I was the one telling myself all the negative attributes listed in the song. I was the one convincing myself that I’m not good enough, not worthy enough. When the song reached the chorus, we were pulling into the church parking lot. It hit me then that the him in the song for me was Christ. No matter how much I screwed up, no matter how much I tried to convince myself that I am never enough, He’s always on my side, ready to remind me how blessed I am and that I am loved just the way I am. This realization lifted my burden instantly, and I went to Mass with much gratitude in my heart.
My personal interpretation of the song is a reminder that no one criticizes us more than we do ourselves. It’s necessary for us to remember that others don’t perceive us as harshly as we do, and that in their eyes we’re usually much more presentable than we can tell ourselves we are. It’s important to seek out someone, be it God, a partner, a family member, or a best friend, who reminds you of your identity, free from any self-critical misconceptions, and lets you know that you’re loved for who are you.