Written by Writer’s Corps member Katemanee Burapachaisri
Selena Gomez’s recent single, “Lose You to Love Me” reveals her most vulnerable sides yet, chronicling a journey of pain and self-discovery after her breakup from an ex-boyfriend.
Although Selena said “This song was inspired by many things that have happened since releasing my last album,” fans believe this song points toward her on and off-again relationship with Justin Bieber, whom she ended things with, in March 2018. Unlike the defiance of “The Heart Want What It Wants,” Selena emerges in her new ballad “Lose You to Love Me,” wiser and more hopeful. She wrote in a comment on the YouTube video, “I want people to feel hope and to know you will come out the other side stronger and a better version of yourself.” Same, Selena. Same.
Breakups, even from an unhealthy partner, are emotionally overwhelming, but sometimes you have to let go of relationships that aren’t good for you in order to find love within yourself again. Check out my breakdown of Selena’s emotional lyrics below.
“Sang off-key in my chorus/ ‘Cause it wasn’t yours/ I saw the signs and I ignored it/ Rose-colored glasses all distorted”
Here Selena begins hinting at her ex’s lack of support when she describes them purposely singing her chorus off-key to downplay her success. She expresses how difficult it is to take off those “rose-colored glasses” and acknowledge that someone she loves is hurting her.
“Set fire to my purpose/ And I let it burn/ You got off on the hurting when it wasn’t yours.”
These lyrics illustrate how Selena did not feel like she just lost her purpose in life, but it was “set [on] fire.” The vivid imagery illustrates the burning pain she felt in the relationship, yet she lost the will to fight for herself and “let it burn” instead, hinting at how unhealthy relationships can lead to self-destructive behavior. The person who gave her the most heartache was also the person she desperately needed support from, but they “got off on the hurting” her instead.
“I needed to lose you to find me / This dancing was killing me softly / I needed to hate you to love me, yeah…To love, yeah, I needed to lose you to love me, yeah”
Selena portrays the enjoyment taken out of the dance of their relationship, as the constant ups and downs drained her emotionally. In unhealthy relationships, it’s typical to feel like your relationship is an emotional rollercoaster.
Selena pours her heart out: after minimizing her success and sacrificing her happiness to please her partner, she felt she was not able to love herself anymore and ultimately forgot who she really was. By “los[ing] [him]” and liberating herself from that negative tension that clouded her judgment, she finally had clarity on how to love herself. She now knows that she had to let go of this toxic person who was not helping her progress forward, even if she once thought they did.
“To love, love, yeah/ To love, love yeah”
Although Selena’s unhealthy relationship may have skewed her perception of romantic love, she emphasizes it is still important to learn and “to love.” She now understands that the kind of love she received should not be the love she gives to herself. By relearning “to love” herself better, she can practice the healthy love she herself deserves. She empowers others with the message that there is hope after an unhealthy relationship and we can relearn what love means.
So many songs today romanticize love, both its euphoric and heartbreaking stages, in ways that just aren’t realistic to how relationships are IRL. Selena’s relationship was heavily publicized; however, Selena dove into herself and revealed the raw pain behind the superficial gossip. It’s never easy to let go of a partner you truly care for but Selena proves there’s light at the end of the tunnel; And “Lose You to Love Me” is beautifully visceral, with lyrics we can all empathize with and learn from.