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Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Songs About Hope, Resilience, and Compassion

last updated January 28, 2021

posted by Catharine Hannay

Here's the latest in the popular series of song playlists for teachers. Since so many people are having such a hard time of it these days, I decided to focus on hope, resilience, and supporting each other.

As always, please read the full lyrics and watch the full video before deciding what's appropriate to share with others. If you work with very young children, you might prefer the  Children's Songs playlist, which has several tunes about feelings and facing challenges, including a couple of songs about going back to school during COVID. (I also have a separate song and video playlist specifically about COVID.)

Broken and Beautiful, Kelly Clarkson
lyrics; official video; video of live performance; video of dance performance by JoJo Gomez Choreography
"Can someone just hold me? Don't fix me, don't try to change a thing. Can someone just know me? 'Cause underneath, I'm broken and it's beautiful."

The Climb, Miley Cyrus
"Every step I'm taking, every move I make feels lost with no direction. My faith is shaking, but I gotta keep trying. Gotta keep my head held high."

Don't Stop, Fleetwood Mac

"If you wake up and don't want to smile. If it takes just a little while. Open your eyes and look at the day. You'll see things in a different way... Don't stop thinking about tomorrow. Don't stop, it'll soon be here."

Give It Your Best, Indra Rios-Moore

"Give it your best. You will be fine."

Hey Hey Hey, Michael Franti & Spearhead
"There's a crack in the gutter where a flower grows... reminding me that nothing is impossible... We will live to laugh and cry another day."

Hope Lingers Here
Lissa Schneckenburger
performance by Vancouver Youth Choiroriginal recording by Low Lily (lyrics in video description)

"I will not hate, and I will not fear. In our darkest hour, hope lingers here." 

If You Need Me, Julia Michaels
"I wish I could fix it, I wish I knew what to say. But everything feels like a lie these days. Don't know how not to feel that way... But if you need me, I'll be right there. When you're dreaming all your nightmares, I'll come tackle the monsters. I'll find where they hide in the nighttime. If you need me, I'll be right there...I'll be by your side even if I'm not next to you."

It's Going to Be Alright, Sara Groves 

lyrics; audio

"I can tell by your eyes that you're not getting any sleep. And you try to rise above it, but feel you're sinking in too deep... I believe you'll outlive this pain in your heart. And you'll gain such a strength from what is tearing you apart."

Keep Holding On, Avril Lavigne

"When it gets cold, and it feels like the end. There's no place to go. You know I won't give in. Keep holding on. 'Cause you know we'll make it through. Just stay strong. 'Cause you know I'm here for you."

Keep on Keepin On, Daphne Willis
lyrics; video of live performance

"There no other way but to follow the beat when the weight is so heavy that your losing your feet. And you don't have the strength to stand so you dance on your knees."

Keep on Pushing, The Impressions

"Maybe some day I'll reach that higher goal. I know I can make it with just a little bit of soul. 'Cause I've got my strength. And it don't make sense not to keep on pushing."

One Day You Will, Lady Antebellum

"You walk outside and all you see is rain. You look inside and all you feel is pain. And you can't see it now. But down the road the sun is shining. In every cloud there's a silver lining, and every heartache makes you stronger."


One Life, Boyce Avenue
"You've cried so hard, inside it hurts. But now's the time. Outside the sun is coming up. Inside you think you've given up. But now's the time. Open your eyes. And know you're free to come alive."

One More Light, Linkin Park
video of One Voice Children's Choir, after the suicide of a former choir member (lyrics in video description)
"The reminders pull the floor from your feet. In the kitchen, one more chair than you need. And you're angry. And you should be. It's not fair... If they say 'Who cares when someone's time runs out?.... Who cares if one more light goes out?' Well I do."

Possibilities, Darius Rucker 
lyrics (written by the father of a patient at St. Jude's); video of recording session; audio

"I ain't done living the life I meant to lead. And I ain't done lovin' the ones who care for me. The hope and the strength and the love and the smiles and the laughter of friends and family. Add it up, you'll find no limit to the possibilities."

Reach Out I'll Be There, The Four Tops 

"Now if you feel that you can't go on because all of your hope is gone. And your life is filled with much confusion, until happiness is just an illusion. And your world around is crumblin' down...Reach out. Just look over your shoulder. I'll be there, to give you all the love you need. You can always depend on me."

Resilient, Katy Perry 

lyrics; official video

"I am resilient. A full flower moment. Won't let the concrete hold me back. I am resilient. Born to be brilliant. I'm gonna grow right through the cracks."

Resilient, Rising Appalachia

lyricsofficial audio; official video; video of recording at Studio B

"What are you gonna do about it when the world comes undone? My voice feels tiny and I’m sure so does yours. But put us all together we make a mighty roar. I am resilient... I’ll show up at the table, again and again and again."

Something Beautiful, Tori Kelly

lyrics; audio

"You are stronger than you know. Oh, you're something beautiful! Know you're hurting and you feel like all is lost. Heart is burning from the love that's been cut off. But day lights come in and time for you is all I got. And I promise you'll get through this.You can do this."

Song of Peace and Hope , Jonathan Van Der Lugt
lyrics; official video (This song is dedicated to refugees.)
"I’m trying to write to you a song of peace and hope, of love that’s strong enough to save you. But when I think about the pain with which you cope, I can’t find the words although I try to... Here’s my song to you, it’s what I want to say. We’re all in this together. I think about you every minute of the day, and hope that soon things will get better."

Stand, Rascal Flats
"You feel like a candle in a hurricane. Just like a picture with a broken frame. Alone and helpless, like you've lost your fight. But you'll be all right, you'll be all right Cause when push comes to shove, you taste what you're made of."

Trying My Best, Anson Seabra
"I hope you know that it's not always happy in my head. 'Cause I don't know the perfect road to go down. But I know I'm trying my best. I'm trying my best to be okay. I'm trying my best but every day it's so hard. And I'm holding my breath 'til I can say all of the words I wanna say from my heart."

You Are Loved (Don't Give Up), Josh Groban
"Don't give up. It's just the weight of the world. When your heart's heavy, I will lift it for you... When you're lost inside, I'll be there to find you."

Young Roots, Paul Izak
"Set the foundation for the next generation. Fill them with love, peace, and inspiration... Nurturing the young roots grows a strong tree, foundation for community."

If you like this playlist, you may also be interested in the many other song playlists and video playlists, including:

And there are hundreds more posts here at on Teaching Mindfulness and Compassion and on Self-Care for Educators and other helping professionals.

Catharine Hannay is the founder of and the author of Being You: A Girl’s Guide to Mindfulness, a workbook for teen girls on mindfulness, compassion, and self-acceptance. (Sales of the book help me continue to run with no sponsorship or advertising.)