You know that moment when you realize that something (or someone) truly isn’t right for you or helping you grow in any way? Yeah, that’s what this song always reminds me of. Most times when I play it, a certain person or situation comes to mind and that lets me know everything that I need to know when deciding if I want to continue dealing with it or continue a relationship with someone.
Keeping up with the theme of relationships, Destiny’s Child takes “If” to reconsider the position of someone in their life and ultimately deciding that they deserve much better. While it took a lot of time and a long thought process, the trio decides that this person isn’t worth the drama and stress and they’d much rather be alone. I’ve felt this feeling before and while it’s not an easy thing to feel, it sure is a relieving feeling. According to Genius annotator lilturnip, “If” is about “opening your eyes to that which you do not deserve, the strength it takes to leave, and the fulfillment of knowing you will be appreciated after all” and I (obviously) 100% agree.
“If I don’t pick up the phone like I used to (for you)
Don’t you take it personal
If I don’t do all the things that I used to do (to you)
I ain’t mad at you
If you get to feeling stressed up in your chest thinking that you about to lose (baby it’s true)
And If you’re losing out on sleep
Home worrying about me
That’s how it be”
The song starts with letting this person know that the first change in their relationship will come with a change in communication. However, there’s a reminder to them to not take it personal because this is more about bettering their own lives than wanting to hurt the person on the other end. Lowering communication is the first hint given that something within a relationship is going to change. Someone suddenly doesn’t want to keep you updated on what’s going on in their life or requires a little more space than usual doesn’t always equal that they are attempting to lower your presence in their life. Remember that the world does not revolve around you. Never has, never will. However, it could be a indication that it could be happening and I know that because I’ve done it before. Not my proudest moment because as a grown ass woman, I should’ve opened my mouth and stated how I felt but I was still working through all of my emotions about the whole situation. A learning experience at the end of the day.
“If you don’t know now you know
You’re gonna miss (my love)
And I ain’t stressing ’bout a dog gone thing
Cause I was true when I gave you (my love)
If you search you will never find another love like (my love)
You’re gonna miss me
I ain’t got time while you sit around and play with my (my love)
I just needed time just to clear my mind and ask myself
(Why I didn’t handle him)
If you woulda taken care of home instead of leaving me alone (I)
Still would be right there with you
Taking care of you
Steady loving you like I used to do”
The chorus and second verse come in and provides a sense of fulfillment because knowing that you tried your best will always feel good, no matter what the outcome might be. For example, when applying for a position and eventually getting rejected, knowing that you put your best foot forward can ease your mind and your feeling of failure. Cue SZA’s mom saying “We take things, and my influence so far, and then it’s out of my hands. And, y’know, while as I said it can be scary, it can also be a little bit comforting. Because I’ve learned that when I get to that point, and I can acknowledge, ‘Okay, Audrey, that’s as much as you can do,’ I can actually let it go…”
The trio again acknowledges that they refuse to have their feelings played with and that is something I relate to on so many levels. Sometimes you can give your all to a person and they will continue to treat things as if it’s a game. That type of behavior is not okay. My feelings are not to be ignored, played with, or tossed to the side. My emotions and feelings are valid, worthy of acknowledgement, and meant to be handled with care. Anyone who does not agree to this is not deserving of any of my time or my love. It takes a lot for me to open to someone so if there is an instance of feeling like I am emotionally too much for someone then I know that it is time to move on. Now, if someone is willing to take in all that I am and is responsible with my heart then I will be right there with them, taking care of them, steady loving them. No questions asked. I have a lot of love to give and am willing to give it when I feel comfortable and like my energy is being reciprocated.
“There’ll be no more stressing, no more crying, no more trying
I would rather be alone (I’d rather be all by myself, yeah)
Because this valuable heart of mine was yours until I realized
Finally opened my eyes
You see ladies?
I know I knew better
What was I thinking?
He gon’ miss me when I’m gone”
The end of the bridge and the spoken portion of this song speaks to peace being made with the decision to leave this person in the dust. The realization that you would much rather be alone than dealing with someone who you constantly have to work with to feel loved is a powerful moment and a huge moment of self-care. That is the time that you put yourself before them and their feelings (just as they have clearly done) and move forward with the hopes of providing yourself with the love that you once longed for from someone else. While this song is sung about a relationship between two people, the most important relationship mentioned in this song is the one you have with yourself.