Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter – a.k.a. the birthday girl – has become the world’s biggest and most successful popstar, selling more than 100 million records worldwide. Her personality, sense of style, and way of being have come to represent fearlessness, flawlessness, strength, boundless creativity, honesty, and vulnerability to countless women around the world.
We’ve watched her grow leaps and bounds as a talent – from her early days in Destiny’s Child to her present-day status as Queen Bey – and her journey has been nothing short of astonishing. From completely rewriting the rulebook by dropping a self-titled album on Christmas (a big no-no in the music industry) to creating a symphony of crushingly beautiful and honest visuals to accompany some of her latest releases, the megastar finds herself in a league of her own. In this retrospective, we’re digging up some of Beyoncé’s most empowering lyrics to date as she blows out 38 candles, today.
"I am the dragon breathing fire / Beautiful mane, I'm the lion."
Don't Hurt Yourself
In response to the idea that her man might be cheating, Beyoncé refuses to stoop, wallow, or pity herself. Instead, she claims superiority, roars like a lioness, and warns, “When you play me, you play yourself.”
"I'm bigger than life / My name in the lights / I'm the number one chick / Don't need no hype."
Bow Down/I Been On
Ever heard of the saying “fake it ‘til you make it”? It’s a pretty effective way of willing yourself out of a bad mood or bad situation by simply pretending that everything is awesome. When you’re facing a particularly rough day, simply recite these lyrics to yourself until you start to believe them.
"Put them hands high / Wave it in his face, tell him, boy, bye."
For every time you’ve ever wanted to scream, lash out, or berate someone, simply channel your angst through these ferocious lyrics. For some reason, the coolly dismissive way Bey says, “Tell him, boy, bye” gets us right in the feels.
"You don't deserve my tears / I guess that's why they ain't there."
Best Thing I Never Had
Beyoncé throws shade like no other. With these simple lyrics, she is coldly and effectively saying to someone who is begging for her attention, “I don’t think about you at all.” Utilize this any time someone tries to create unnecessary drama in your life.
"Some call it arrogant / I call it confident."
Think about your last big accomplishment. Did you brag about it to anyone who would listen or mostly keep it to yourself? In the modern era, women are still being taught to defer praise and downplay their successes for fear of looking arrogant.
However, we firmly believe that there is nothing wrong with patting yourself on the back when you achieve an important goal. Furthermore, Queen Bey agrees with us. You’ve earned the right to claim your confidence, so next time, celebrate loudly and proudly.
"What's worse, lookin' jealous or crazy? Jealous or crazy? / Or like being walked all over lately, walked all over lately / I'd rather be crazy."
For centuries, the fairer sex has been misunderstood by medical science. Our emotions were labeled as “hysterics” that were treated with extreme and sometimes deadly measures. Instead of embracing the fact that women are emotional creatures, society has often dismissed any display of female curiosity, jealousy, anger, confusion, or frustration.
How many times have you been called “crazy” simply for behaving in a way that is contrary to that of a perfectly submissive woman? With these lyrics, Beyoncé permits herself to give into her emotions and suspicions, taking back power from the word ‘crazy’.
"From now on, I'm gonna be my own best friend."
Me, Myself, and I
One of the best things you can do is to treat yourself like your own best friend. Clearly, Beyoncé is aware of the mental benefits of putting a stop to relentless self-loathing by choosing to befriend and love herself unconditionally – as a best friend would. Self-care is more than just the physical act of treating yourself; it’s a mental game, too. And it’s one that everyone deserves to win.
"Perfection is the disease of a nation."
In one of Beyoncé’s most vulnerable songs, the superstar discusses the impossible beauty standards set by society and the media, and how they can destroy a woman’s self-esteem. When even the Queen herself suffers at the hands of bad ideologies, you know these standards are truly destructive. Watch her extraordinarily powerful music video, below, if you need a shot of confidence.
"We're smart enough to make these millions / Smart enough to bear these children / Then get back to business."
Run the World
Beyoncé empowers women who want to have it all: the stellar career, the beautiful family, the expensive wardrobe, the fat bank account. Even if you aren’t at the popstar’s level – but are aspiring to be – her confidence in the power and excellence of the fairer sex is like a shot of adrenaline in the arm. Go out and do you, whatever your goals might be.
"I break chains all by myself / Won't let my freedom rot in hell / I'mma keep runnin' because a winner don't quit on themselves."
In this song, Beyoncé embodies an allegorical force of nature – one who provides hope and salvation to suffering women. No matter what struggles arise in life, these lyrics urge you to never give up. Break free from what restricts you from gaining what you want in life, and don’t look back.