12. accept yourself – Diving into the Quest for Self-Acceptance


You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for The Smiths's 12. accept yourself at Lyrics.org.
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning
  4. Unlocking a Reluctant Anthem of Self
  5. A Timeless Struggle Against the Clock
  6. The Struggle with Unattainable Dreams
  7. Sifting Through the Debris of Love and Loss
  8. The Hidden Meaning: A Reflection on Personal Agency

Lyrics

Every day you must say
So, how do I feel about my life?
Anything is hard to find
When you will not open your eyes
When will you accept yourself?
I am sick and I am dull
And I am plain
How dearly I’d love to get carried away
Oh, but dreams have a knack of just not coming true
And time is against me now…oh
Oh, who and what to blame?
Oh, anything is hard to find
When you will not open your eyes
When will you accept yourself, for heaven’s sake?
Anything is hard to find
When you will not open your eyes
Every day you must say
Oh, how do I feel about the past?
Others conquered love – but I ran
I sat in my room and I drew up a plan
Oh, but plans can fall through (as so often they do)
And time is against me now…

And there’s no-one left to blame
Oh, tell me when will you…
When will you accept your life?
(The one that you hate)
For anything is hard to find
When you will not open your eyes
Every day you must say
Oh, how do I feel about my shoes?
They make me awkward and plain
How dearly I would love to kick with the fray…
But I once had a dream (and it never came true)
And time is against me now…
Time is against me now…
And there’s no one but yourself to blame
Oh, anything is hard to find
When you will not open your eyes
Anything is hard to find; for heaven’s sake !
Anything is hard to find
When you will not open your eyes
When will you accept yourself ?
When?
When?
When?
When?

Full Lyrics

The Smiths have cementedly positioned themselves in the annals of alternative rock with their poignant lyrics and jangly guitar riffs. In the track ’12. accept yourself,’ off their 1984 compilation album ‘Hatful of Hollow,’ the band oscillates between dewy-eyed idealism and stark realism, a dichotomy that characterizes much of their work.

Morrisey’s weary, melancholic vocals paired with Johnny Marr’s exuberant guitar enmesh to frame an insightful meditation on self-acceptance that feels just as relevant now as it did during the post-punk 80s. Delving deeper into the lyrics reveals layers of self-reflection, societal critique, and an almost grudging acceptance of life’s limitations.

Unlocking a Reluctant Anthem of Self

The foundation of ’12. accept yourself’ lies in the repetitive questioning of one’s own feelings towards life. Interrogating the self on a daily basis, the song impels listeners to confront their discomforts head-on, presenting self-acceptance as an odyssey rather than a destination. This fervent call to introspection becomes a loop, reminding us that the road to accepting oneself is fraught with daily affirmations and confrontations.

Here, Morrisey acts as both inquisitor and confessor, laying bare the universal struggle with the self. Each line is delivered with an edge of tired wisdom, prompting us to consider acceptance as not just an internal battle but also as a resistance against societal expectations that paint a veneer of content over our discomforts.

A Timeless Struggle Against the Clock

‘Time is against me now…’ echoes as a recurring lament throughout the song, morphing into both a personal and universal adversary. It reflects the incessant race against an unseen clock, the social pressures to achieve and conform, and the personal fears of missed opportunities or unfulfilled potential.

Morrisey’s words do not just resonate with individuals steeped in procrastination or regret; they cast a wider net, pulling in everyone who’s ever felt the ominous tick-tock of passing years and the dread of dreams not just deferred but decayed.

The Struggle with Unattainable Dreams

Dreams are painted as beautifully tricky creatures; they propel us forward but can just as quickly ensnare us in their unachievable allure. Morrisey’s lament over dreams that ‘have a knack of just not coming true’ speaks to a deeper human experience where aspiration is often met with harsh reality.

It’s this bittersweet relationship with our dreams that ’12. accept yourself’ captures so candidly—the toil to reach them, the disillusionment when they’re out of reach, and the unspoken challenge to keep dreaming anyway, even when time is ‘against me now…’

Sifting Through the Debris of Love and Loss

Love, or more accurately the conquest of it, serves as a significant touchpoint for self-evaluation in the song. ‘Others conquered love – but I ran…’ offers a self-effacing acknowledgement of romantic failures, yet underlying this defeatist attitude is a powerful commentary on the nature of love as a measure of worth in social contexts.

Standing apart from the crowd (‘I sat in my room and I drew up a plan…’) captures the solitude that comes with straying from societal norms, suggesting that sometimes, accepting oneself means accepting a path that is oftentimes lonely and detached from the collective narratives of success.

The Hidden Meaning: A Reflection on Personal Agency

Underneath the layers of poetic melancholy lies a latent thread of empowerment. The repeated question ‘When will you accept yourself?’ is a contemplative prod from the artist to listener, a reminder that amid external chaos, the act of opening one’s eyes is an exercise in personal autonomy.

In this lurks the song’s hidden meaning—a rallying cry for agency in a world that too often dictates who, what, and how we should be. Morrisey doesn’t provide us the comfort of answers; instead, he offers the query as a compass for our own explorations of the self.

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