All The Love In Your Heart
What do you aspire to achieve in your life which you believe will make you happy? A great career? A family? A comfortable existence? An amazing group of friends? A Broadway musical written about your life? Ok, let’s be honest, few youngsters dream of the last one on this list. Although they may want to perform on the stage, whether as an actor or singer, not many children can imagine a Broadway show telling the story not only of their rise to fame but also featuring their own songs. I highly doubt Carole King thought that would happen to her either. But it did, and it’s “Beautiful”.
Whether you know it or not, you grew up with Carole King. This woman wrote some of the most iconic songs which are still played today around the world. Her raw, unfettered talent as a singer, songwriter, pianist and guitarist is simply a delight to listen to. But this blog isn’t just about how awesome she is; it’s not even about the fact that Carole King is so beloved that she’s had a musical written about her struggle to make it in the entertainment industry and her subsequent life as a singer. It’s about one song in particular; the one which gave the musical its name, in fact. And it’s called “Beautiful”.
Carole King’s iconic 1971 album, Tapestry, won many awards including Grammy’s Album of the Year and sold over 25 million copies worldwide. It also featured “Beautiful”. Alongside many other songs on Tapestry, “Beautiful” focuses on the importance of having a positive outlook on life and improving self-esteem. In case you’re not familiar or need a refresher, this is the chorus:
You’ve got to get up every morning with a smile on your face
And show the world all the love in your heart
Then people gonna treat you better
You’re gonna find, yes you will
That you’re beautiful as you feel
It’s simple but effective and it’s so, so true. People are more receptive, more positive and generally nicer to happy people. More to the point, we innately want to be around happy people. I personally find it far more enjoyable to be with a big group of friends, laughing and joking, than sitting with a mate who’s getting over a breakup, although I willingly do both in my role as ‘friend’. I accept that people can’t be happy all of the time and sometimes life is sad and difficult. But “Beautiful” encourages people to smile as much as possible. Not only is this a generally positive message but it does wonders for your self-esteem. When I walk out of my house and smile at people, they smile back. Ok, that may be more to do with the fact that I live in Cambodia but that’s not the point. Even in London where eye-contact is avoided like the plague, seeing people happy must, on some level, make others happy. Sitting in a crammed, hot tube carriage with a load of glum people is far less enjoyable than one where everyone is happy. But this is too simplistic and it’s not enough to simply plaster a smile on your face. This smile has to come from all the love in your heart, a place of genuine happiness, to make a difference.
As a side note, I discovered after writing the above paragraph that King was inspired to write “Beautiful” while sat on the subway in New York. To be fair, the first verse does mention a station so perhaps it was subconscious. King realised while shuttling along beneath the streets of Manhattan with a load of depressed-looking commuters her own emotions affected the way she perceived others. In other words, if she was feeling happy herself, she was more likely to see happiness around her. And we all want to live in a happy world, right?
I have often asked myself the reason for the sadness
In a world where tears are just a lullaby
If there’s any answer, maybe love can end the madness
Maybe not, oh, but we can only try
The world would be a better place if people smiled more. More to the point, if people loved more. Despite being written in 1971 while King sat in the subway, the words “maybe love can end the madness” seems particularly poignant in 2017. Today, the world, and its media outlets, fill our lives with tears and sadness. They may not be a lullaby but they’re certainly the overarching theme to the soundtrack of our lives right now. And yet they don’t have to be. We don’t have to focus on all the bad in the world, all the death, all the terror, all the war. More to the point, it doesn’t even have to exist. All humans are capable of love, right? So if people can express “All the love in your heart”, does that mean the world will no longer be mad?
“Maybe not, oh, but we can only try”
Go, do, experience. More Good Deeds.