21 Of The Best Songs About Overcoming Trauma

Written by Dan Farrant

Music has long been used for healing the soul. When it comes to overcoming trauma, songs about it can serve as a powerful tool for healing and self-discovery.

These songs often tell stories of resilience, strength, and hope, mirroring our own journey toward healing. They allow us to see our experiences reflected in another’s, creating a sense of connection and understanding.

As we delve into this topic, prepare to be moved by 21 of the best songs about overcoming trauma. Read on to discover each unique narrative and melody that can touch your heart and inspire you.

1. “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To” By Billy Currington

Kicking off our list is Billy Currington‘s emotionally charged ballad “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To.” This song delves into the aftermath of a broken relationship and the process of healing that follows.

The song beautifully captures not just the lingering pain of heartbreak but also the strength and resilience it takes to move on.

One of the most poignant lines in the song goes, “But you drug my heart through the Alabama dirt.” Here, Currington paints a vivid picture of the emotional turmoil he endured. Yet, as the title suggests, the pain doesn’t hurt as much as it used to, implying a journey of recovery and growth.

2. “A Little Bit Stronger” By Sara Evans

A song that deals with the trauma of heartbreak is next. “A Little Bit Stronger” by Sara Evans tells the story of a woman who is constantly reminded of her former love interest. Nevertheless, she navigates through her daily routine and finds herself becoming stronger with each passing day.

As the song progresses, the narrative shifts from despair to determination. The lines “I know my heart will never be the same / but I’m telling myself I’ll be okay” reveal the protagonist’s resilience. This marks her journey toward healing.

Overall, the song beautifully encapsulates the experience of overcoming emotional trauma. It portrays the idea that while heartbreak can be devastating, it can also be a catalyst for personal growth and self-discovery.

3. “Stop Crying Your Heart Out” By Oasis

The iconic British rock band Oasis is known for their poignant lyrics and captivating melodies. Among their repertoire of emotionally charged songs, “Stop Crying Your Heart Out” stands out as an anthem of resilience.

The song speaks directly to those going through difficult times. At the same time, it offers solace and encourages listeners to persevere. The lyrics “Cause all of the stars / are fading away / Just try not to worry / you’ll see them someday” serve as a gentle reminder that even in our darkest moments, there is always hope for a brighter future.

The song’s message is clear: It’s okay to feel pain, but don’t let it consume you. Keep going, keep believing, and eventually, you’ll overcome the hardships you’re facing.

4. “Praying” By Kesha

Up next is a powerful and deeply emotional song by Kesha. “Praying” is a testament to the strength that comes from enduring and overcoming personal trauma.

The song speaks to anyone who has ever felt alone during their lowest moments. Kesha herself stated, “It’s a song about learning to be proud of the person you are even during low moments when you feel alone.”

One of the most poignant lines in the song, “I’m proud of who I am,” serves as an affirmation of self-worth and a declaration of strength. Despite the hardships she has faced, Kesha asserts her dignity and refuses to be defined by her past.

5. “My Heroine” By Silverstein

The Canadian post-hardcore band Silverstein takes listeners on a profound emotional journey with their song “My Heroine.” The lyrics tell a story of intense dependency. They liken a toxic relationship to the destructive power of drug addiction.

The song begins with “The drugs begin to peak / a smile of joy arrives in me / but sedation changes to panic and nausea.” It describes someone initially finding solace in an unhealthy relationship or substance. Only to experience its harmful effects later on.

In the face of adversity and trauma, however, the protagonist seems to recognize the destructiveness of his dependency. This may hint at a desire to break free. In addition, this can be seen as an act of self-preservation and resilience, making “My Heroine” a song about overcoming trauma.

6. “A Little’s Enough” By Angels And Airwaves

Released in 2006, the rock band Angels & Airwaves presents to us “A Little’s Enough.” It is often interpreted as an allegorical representation of God’s presence during times of adversity.

The lines “God himself is coming home to say / I, I can do anything / if you want me here … / I can fix anything / if you’ll let me near” convey a sense of divine intervention. They suggest that a little faith can go a long way in overcoming hardships.

The song recognizes the struggle to maintain positivity and inner peace amid life’s trials. However, it also assures listeners that even a small amount of faith can bring about significant change.

7. “Scars” By Allison Iraheta

The American Idol season eight finalist, Allison Iraheta, poured her heart into her powerful song “Scars.” It delves into her personal experiences with emotional abuse and depression, offering a candid look into the struggles she faced.

In the lyrics, she expresses a longing for parental support and understanding. It highlights the emotional turmoil she had to endure: “What if it’s a father I need? … / Do you know how hard I’ve tried / to become who you want me to be?”

Despite the pain evident in these lines, there’s also a sense of resilience as she overcomes this trial in her life. It’s as if she’s using her music as a form of catharsis, turning her pain into art.

8. “Unwritten” By Natasha Bedingfield

English singer Natasha Bedingfield perfectly captures the essence of personal growth and self-discovery. Her song “Unwritten” is an anthem of empowerment. It encourages listeners to embrace life’s unpredictability and write their own stories.

“I am unwritten / can’t read my mind … / I’m just beginning, the pen’s in my hand / ending unplanned.” Through these lyrics, Bedingfield urges listeners to seize control of their narratives. This could be interpreted as overcoming trauma by refusing to let past experiences define one’s future.

At its core, “Unwritten” is about embracing the uncertainty of life and its potential to heal and grow. The lyrics convey a message of hope. They illustrate that it’s never too late to rewrite your story, no matter what adversities you’ve faced.

9. “This Is Me” By Keala Settle And The Greatest Showman Cast

Singer and actress Keala Settle and the cast of The Greatest Showman delivered an anthem of self-acceptance and resilience with their song “This Is Me.” The centerpiece of the film, it serves as a rallying cry for those who have been marginalized or overlooked.

The lines “I am brave, I am bruised / I am who I’m meant to be / this is me” encapsulate the essence of the song. They speak to the experience of overcoming personal trauma and adversity. They assert one’s identity and express the refusal to be defined by the scars of the past.

“This Is Me” sends a powerful message for everyone. Despite our traumas and hardships, we can rise above them to become stronger and more authentic versions of ourselves.

10. “Famous Last Words” By My Chemical Romance

Up next is a powerful anthem of resilience and inner strength by My Chemical Romance. “Famous Last Words,” released in 2007, has resonated with listeners worldwide.

At its core, it’s about the struggle of finding fulfillment in relationships and the power of choice. The lines, “I know that I can’t make you stay … / I am not afraid to walk this world alone,” reflect a sense of longing and the pain of unreciprocated feelings. Yet there’s a determination to keep going, to not let heartbreak define one’s life.

Despite the emotional turmoil evident in the song, there’s a sense of resilience expressed in the lyrics. It sends a message that we have the power to choose how we respond to adversity. This reinforces the idea that we are not defined by our traumas but by how we rise above them.

11. “Beautiful Trauma” By Pink

American singer-songwriter Pink released a powerful and impactful song with “trauma” in the title. “Beautiful Trauma” explores themes of resilience, acceptance, and growth after experiencing trauma.

Also, the title track of her seventh studio album, “Beautiful Trauma,” is a raw portrayal of pain. It suggests that trauma can lead to growth and self-discovery and that there’s a certain beauty in battling through hardships.

The song serves as a poignant reminder that our traumas do not define us. Rather, it’s our ability to overcome them that shapes our narrative. This captivating message helped the song top the charts across the globe, including Canada.

12. “I Will Survive” By Gloria Gaynor

Released in 1978 by Gloria Gaynor, “I Will Survive” is a disco hit that has transcended its era. It has become an enduring symbol of empowerment for anyone who has faced adversity.

Though the lyrics do not mention “overcoming trauma,” it is clear that this is the message just by the title alone. It tells the story of a woman who refuses to tolerate a cheating partner. She overcomes his betrayal and finds strength in herself.

The lyrics “Did you think I’d crumble? / Did you think I’d lay down and die? Oh no, not I, I will survive,” powerfully express this sentiment. They showcase the protagonist’s resolve to not just endure, but triumph over her heartbreak.

13. “I Won’t Back Down” By Tom Petty

A heartland rock classic, “I Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty, presents to us a message of inner strength in the face of adversity. Since its release in 1989, the track has captured the hearts of listeners and topped the Mainstream Rock chart.

Like anybody who is set on overcoming life’s trials, the protagonist expresses that he “won’t back down” no matter what. He’s only got one life, and he’s determined to live it and “keep this world from draggin’ [him] down.”

“I Won’t Back Down” is a reminder to stay strong and hold on to our values amid challenges. It serves as an anthem for those who are struggling, inspiring them to keep going and never give up.

14. “Tell Your Heart To Beat Again” By Danny Gokey

Released in 2014, Danny Gokey‘s “Tell Your Heart to Beat Again” is a poignant track that deserves a spot on our list. It serves as a beacon of light for those grappling with trauma, encouraging them to take the necessary steps toward healing.

The song metaphorically implores listeners to allow their hearts to “beat again.” Here, hearts symbolize spirit or courage. This message is a call to rise above despair, embrace healing, and reclaim control over one’s life.

It helps us to overcome trauma in the lyrics, “Tell your heart to beat again / Close your eyes and breathe it in / Let the shadows fall away / Step into the light of grace.” These words are powerful reminders to let go of the past, find strength in the present, and have hope for the future.

15. “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” By Kelly Clarkson

The 2012 hit “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” by Kelly Clarkson didn’t just top multiple charts worldwide because of her amazing voice. Its powerful message has resonated with many listeners due to its relatable and empowering narrative.

The song is about overcoming adversity and emerging stronger. It speaks to the profound truth that our trials and tribulations can serve to make us more resilient.

This concept is encapsulated in the chorus: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger / stand a little taller … / What doesn’t kill you makes a fighter.” These lines underscore the idea that facing and surviving challenges can lead to personal growth and increased self-confidence.

16. “Somewhere I Belong” By Linkin Park

Diving into the heart of Linkin Park‘s discography, we have “Somewhere I Belong.” This anthem is for those who have faced trauma and are seeking solace and healing.

The song speaks volumes about the feeling of alienation. It expresses a longing to find a place where one truly belongs. The lyrics depict a struggle with inner demons, symbolizing the trauma that the songwriter has been through.

However, it isn’t just about the pain. It’s about the hope for change and the desire to break free from the chains of past afflictions.

A poignant line, “I will break away, I’ll find myself today,” emphasizes this theme of overcoming trauma. It’s a powerful declaration of a promise to oneself to rise above the past and forge a new path toward healing and self-acceptance.

17. “Everybody Hurts” By R.E.M.

Among the many soulful creations of American rock band R.E.M., the song “Everybody Hurts” stands out as an anthem for those grappling with pain and despair.

At its core, “Everybody Hurts” is about empathy and shared human experience. It acknowledges the universal truth that everyone goes through tough times and assures listeners that they are not alone in their struggles.

The lyrics “When you’re sure you’ve had enough / of this life, well hang on” offer a powerful message of perseverance and resilience. The song, overall, is a guidepost for those navigating the tumultuous journey of overcoming trauma.

18. “Trauma” By Meek Mill

Up next is “Trauma,” a song by Meek Mill that dives deep into the rapper’s personal experiences and struggles. It’s an unfiltered exploration of the hardships he faced growing up in Philadelphia.

The song recounts the traumas Meek Mill has experienced. These include his time in jail, the death of a friend or “brother” on the streets, and drugs, among many others. The lyrics provide insight into his emotional and psychological state.

He confronts and acknowledges his past, understanding its impact on him. He uses this understanding to fuel his journey toward healing and overcoming adversity. Overall, “Trauma” is a powerful testament to Meek Mill’s strength and resilience. This is also a beacon of hope for others who may be going through similar experiences.

19. “Recovering” By Céline Dion

The deeply emotional song “Recovering” by Céline Dion is a remarkable testament to her strength and resilience. Penned by Pink, it was created as a tribute to Dion’s late husband, René Angélil, and other close family members she lost to cancer.

However, “Recovering” is not just about the trauma of loss. It also encapsulates the process of grieving, accepting, and, ultimately, healing. Hence, it’s a beacon of hope for those going through similar experiences.

With Dion’s powerful and emotive vocals, the song is a poignant reminder that it’s okay to feel vulnerable and broken in the face of loss. It also reminds us that healing is not a linear process. It takes time, patience, and self-compassion.

20. “In Repair” By John Mayer

Penultimate on the list is John Mayer‘s “In Repair.” The song delves into the emotional journey of healing and recovery, making it a compelling narrative of overcoming personal trauma.

“In Repair” offers a glimpse into Mayer’s restless mind, filled with shadows and corners that have prevented him from being his usual self. He struggles to set things right within his heart and mind.

The chorus, “I’m in repair / I’m not together but I’m getting there,” further emphasizes this theme of healing. It suggests that while Mayer acknowledges he’s not yet “whole,” he’s actively working toward that goal. It emphasizes that overcoming trauma isn’t a destination but rather a continuous journey.

21. “Doin’ Fine” By Lauren Alaina

Closing this list is “Doin’ Fine” by Lauren Alaina. This beautifully crafted ballad showcases the singer’s journey through personal hardships and emotional turmoil.

The lyrics reveal Alaina’s family struggles. This is embodied in the lines “Daddy got sober, mama got his best friend / I’ve cut down crying to every other weekend.” It continues to describe her past, hinting at issues such as substance abuse and broken relationships within her family.

But what makes “Doin’ Fine” truly remarkable is its message of resilience and hope. Despite the trials and tribulations she has faced, Alaina tells us that she’s not just surviving but thriving. She has managed to turn her pain into strength, using it as fuel to move forward and grow as an individual.

Summing Up Our List Of Trauma Recovery Songs

In the symphony of life, music serves as a comforting balm. Songs that delve into overcoming trauma, like the ones we’ve discussed, remind us that we’re not alone in our struggles.

They amplify the human spirit’s resilience, painting vivid pictures of strength, healing, and hope. So let these songs be your anthem, your beacon when times are tough.

Remember, the melody of resilience is one we all can play. And no matter how dark the night is, there is always a song to guide us toward dawn.

Photo of author

Dan Farrant, the founder of Hello Music Theory, has been teaching music for over 15 years, helping hundreds of thousands of students unlock the joy of music. He graduated from The Royal Academy of Music in 2012 and then launched Hello Music Theory in 2014. He plays the guitar, piano, bass guitar and double bass and loves teaching music theory.