Since "Songs about Gratitude" turned out to be one of my most popular posts, I've been scanning the internet for more songs that could be used for reflecting on and teaching about mindfulness-related topics.
This time, the focus is on compassion, empathy, and kindness. I've included a few different musical styles, so hopefully there's something for everyone.
Anytime You Need a Friend, Mariah Carey
lyrics; video (backed by a gospel choir)
“When the shadows are closing in and your spirit diminishing, just remember you’re not alone… Anytime you need a friend I will be here.”
Bridge Over Troubled Water, Simon and Garfunkel
lyrics; video of live performance by Josh Groban and Brian McKnight
“When you’re weary, feeling small, when tears are in your eyes, I will dry them all.”
Brother's Keeper, India.Arie
lyrics; video (photos of men and boys of different ages)
"Can I tend to his needs when he’s down on his knees? Can I still see the light in his eyes? Can I lend him a hand, let him still be a man? Will I run or stand by his side? Am I my brother’s keeper? Yes, I am."
youtube video (audio with lyrics)
"When all is said and done, I can't change the world, but I can change the world for one."
Everybody Hurts, REM
youtube video (audio with lyrics), live performance by Father Ray Kelly
“Everybody cries, and everybody hurts sometimes, so hold on… You are not alone.”
Heal the World, Michael Jackson
lyrics; video (shows non-violent images of children with soldiers; might be upsetting to kids who've experienced war or whose parents serve in the military)
“Heal the world we live in. Save it for our children.”
lyrics; video (shows self-harm and potential school shooting; upsetting for many teens)
"No one sits with him, he doesn't fit in, but we feel like we do when we make fun of him. 'Cause you want to belong, do you go along? 'Cause his pain is the price paid for you to belong."
I’ll Stand by You, The Pretenders
lyrics; video of live performance
“Don't be ashamed to cry… 'cause I've seen the dark side too… Hey, what you got to hide? I get angry too. Well, I'm a lot like you.”
Never Gonna Let You Down, Colby Caillat
"I'm never gonna let you down. I'm always gonna build you up... I'm never gonna walk away. I'm always gonna have your back. And if nothing else you can always count on that. When you need me.I promise I will never let you down."
A Random Act of Senseless Kindness, South Sixty Five
lyrics; youtube video (music with photo of album cover)
"A single step in the right direction, person to person making a connection. We can change the world that's become so violent with a random act of senseless kindness."
Stand by Me, Ben E. King, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller
lyrics; video of “Playing for Change” musicians from around the world
"I won't be afraid, just as long as you stand, stand by me... Whenever you're in trouble won't you stand by me."
Stand by You, Rachel Platten
lyrics; official video
"Hands, put your empty hands in mine. And scars, show me all the scars you hide. And hey, if your wings are broken, please take mine so yours can open too... 'Cause I'm gonna stand by you. Even if we're breaking down, we can find a way to break through. Even if we can't find heaven, I'll walk through hell with you."
Try a Little Kindness, by Curt Sapaugh and Bobby Austin (first recorded by Glen Campbell)
lyrics; video of live performance by Brad Paisley (with former U.S. presidents Bush and Clinton sitting next to each other enjoying the show)
“Don't walk around the down and out. Lend a helping hand instead of doubt."
You Showed Me Kindness, Bob Nordquist
I couldn't find lyrics for this one. It's a youtube video of a sweet song written to thank friends and family who helped him recover from surgery.
"You showed me kindness. You sent me flowers to my door. You brought me movies. You fixed my meals and did my chores."
Questions for Reflection and Discussion:
- Do any of these songs remind you of a time when you helped, or were helped by, a friend?
- Have you ever shown kindness to, or been shown kindness by, someone from a different background? What happened?
- What role can musicians and other artists play in spreading compassion?
- Have you ever faced bullying or harassment? Does it help you empathize with others who've been hurt in similar ways?
- How can empathy and compassion reduce violence?
- If you wrote a song for people who've shown you kindness, what would it say?
I Wish You Peace: A Simple LovingKindness Meditation
Next Time I'll Do Better: Recognizing and Learning from Mistakes
Songs about Kindness and Compassion (part 2 of 2)
Songs about Gratitude
THINK Before You Speak: Case Studies in Mindful Speech