It was in the summer of 2001 when I first heard Roger Sanchez’s song “Another Chance,” featuring the vocals of Steve Lukather from the band Toto. Per one source, the track became a “number 1 hit in the United Kingdom and a Pan-European club success.”
Done with raving and clubbing by that point, and from my military barracks room, I spun mix CDs for fellow Marines and included Sanchez’s song in a mix series. Though the lyrics weren’t profound, the track seemed to resonate with me on a deep level.
Throughout the years, one recurring criticism I’ve heard about electronic dance music (EDM) is that the beats repeat in a virtually endless and predictable pattern, many songs sound like other tracks, and verses in these tunes apparently aren’t particularly complex or interesting.
Where “Another Chance” is concerned, I think of what was mentioned about house music from the song “House Music,” by Eddie Amador, “Not everyone understands house music. It’s a spiritual thing, a body thing, a soul thing.”
Sampled from Toto’s “I Won’t Hold You Back,” lyrics in Sanchez’s “Another Chance” repeat throughout the track, “If I had another chance tonight, I’d try to tell you that the things we had were right.”
The entrancing vocals paired with the fluctuating beat have held my interest for many years. Now, I use a psychotherapeutic lens through which to view the song and associated music video.
Uncommonly, I appreciated the video just as much as the song. In my opinion, it’s a work of art. Here’s my synopsis of the music video:
A woman who is presumably in her 20s and in what appears to be New York City is shown with hopeful-looking eyes at the beginning of the video. She’s stabilizing a plastic or inflatable heart that is almost as tall as she is.
Perhaps this is symbolic of her openness to love. She greets passersby with a smile, though people simply ignore her. Some even scoff at her presence.
Wandering the city while being rejected or disregarded, the heart she carries becomes noticeably smaller in each scene. Shot using a candid camera style, one is given the impression that the woman isn’t inauthentic in her search for love, because onlookers appear to genuinely scorn her.
She encounters a police officer who admonishes her and a bouncer who dismisses her, because her “heart’s too big.” Ultimately, the woman finds herself alone and under neon lights, as her heart drastically shrinks before the eyes of the audience.
At this point, that heart is around half the size it originally was when she passes a man wearing a sign that says, “If.” One surmises this pivotal moment represents a lapse from hope to despair.
Noteworthy, the woman’s face is visibly downcast. She no longer smiles or has widened eyes by the time she finds herself alone in an alley with a heart about an eighth of its original size.
A man stops in front of the woman and greets her, as she despondently replies to him. He asks, “You need help,” and she responds in a subdued manner, “Who doesn’t?”
When the man comments on how “big” her heart appears to be, she states, “It’s small now.” Perceivably, the woman has transitioned from hope and is now in a state of despair. She explains that her heart was “bigger before” and the man states, “Scary!’
To this, the discouraged woman says, “Yeah, that’s my problem.” The woman’s somber tone leads the viewer to conclude that her perception of hope for love she once carried was in fact frightening.
The man invites her for a cup of coffee and the look on the woman’s face melts. She moves from being morose to being uplifted at the prospect of somebody, anybody who will take the time to acknowledge her without repudiation.
The pair walks in silence and appear to remain silent while staring at one another when drinking coffee. When walking the woman to her home, the man expresses, “See you again,” as she emerges the next day with her heart at its original size.
Unwittingly rounding a corner and seeing the size the woman’s heart, the man is taken aback and immediately appears disenchanted. He slowly heads in the opposite direction before she can see him.
All the while, the woman optimistically looks around her neighborhood, presumably searching for the man. Undeterred by not having found him, the woman ventures back into the city with her huge heart and a beaming smile.
In Dante Alighieri’s Inferno, when passing through the gate of Hell, the phrase “Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate” was said to have been displayed and which is frequently translated as “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.” Hope lies on one side of the gate and despair on the other.
Regarding the video for “Another Chance,” the woman carrying her heart around the city ventures to the brink of despair. Her hope appears to be predicated on whether or not others receive her well—or at all.
From the perspective of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), I assist people with understanding the ABC Model. The underlying principle of this model is the Greek Stoic philosopher Epictetus’ notion, “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.”
For instance, the woman carrying a heart and while being rejected by others constitutes an Action. It’s not unusual for people to think in Action-Consequence (A-C) terms, maintaining that because an Action occurs, a Consequence of that circumstance results.
However, REBT recognizes the Belief-Consequence (B-C) connection. An Action happens and because of a self-disturbingBelief, Consequences result from a person’s unhelpful, unhealthy, or unproductive assumption. Here’s how it works:
Action – The woman in the video has an open heart with a hopeful mindset and continually faces rejection.
Belief – She believes, “I must be worthy of love, as evidenced by my acceptance by others. However, because I’m clearly being rejected, I’m unworthy of love. In fact, as a person, I have no worth and I can’t stand a life of rejection!”
Consequence – As a result of her rigid belief, the woman in the video has a shrunken heart and she experiences despair. This includes sorrow, a recessed posture, and distancing herself from others—emotional, bodily, and behavioral aftereffects of her belief.
In a blogpost entitled Luc(sic), I highlighted how an helpful versus unhelpful belief operates, using an approach from the originator of REBT, Albert Ellis:
If disappointment results when telling myself, “I’d prefer to love and be loved,” this is a reasonable outcome. I can carry on throughout my activities of daily living and function at a relatively typical level of productiveness when disappointed.
However, what happens when telling myself, “I should be with someone, or else I’m unworthy of existing?” This is the depression-inducing narrative Ellis addresses.
Moreover, it is the consequence of what I tell myself—not simply that I have no significant love interest in my life—that causes this sort of situational depression. Unlike organic or chronic depression, self-disturbed situational suffering can be resolved relatively quickly.
Disputation of unhealthy beliefs is a core feature of the REBT ABC Model. The goal of this intervention is to achieve an Effective new or healthier belief. I prefer to think of this process as a formula: Action + Belief = Consequence ÷ Disputation = Effective new belief.
For instance, it is healthy for the woman in the video to use an Effective new belief by saying, “I hope to share love with another person though if this never occurs, I’m still a worthy human being who is equally worthy of love. Nevertheless, I’m not entitled to the affection of others.”
True, she may be disappointed, frustrated, or even annoyed by not receiving what she sincerely desires. However, these outcomes are rational; whereas, situational depression from utter despair—associated with irrational demands (i.e., should, must, or ought)—is unhealthy.
Steve Lukather’s lyrics in Roger Sanchez’s “Another Chance” are an expression of hope, as the artist states, “If I had another chance tonight, I’d try to tell you that the things we had were right.” “If” implies hopefulness.
In the music video, perhaps a turning point for the woman, she observes a man wearing a sign with the word “If” written on it. “If” is not the same as a self-disturbing “must” statement.
Hopefulness for love is a natural and understandable Action. Crossing through the proverbial gate of hell, transitioning from hope to despair, can occur with a self-disturbing Belief attached to one’s circumstance.
Although it may be convenient to blame the A-C connection for our woes, when we take personal ownership for our unhelpful, unhealthy, or unproductive reactions to events—manifested by the B-C connection—we can then back out of hell’s domain and into hopefulness once again.
Even if the product of our squandered hope is disappointment, frustration, or annoyance, we can tolerate and accept the outcome, arguably with less suffering than when maintaining irrational, unrealistic, or unhealthy demands on ourselves, others, or life as a whole. In so doing, we grant ourselves another chance at love and other desirable experiences.
Have you ever disturbed yourself into a miserable state of affairs in regards to love? Are you currently wandering through an archetypal hell with the gate of hope far behind you? If so, I may be able to help.
If you’re looking for a provider who works to help you understand how thinking impacts physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral elements of your life, I invite you to reach out today by using the contact widget on my website.
As the world’s original EDM-influenced REBT psychotherapist—promoting content related to EDM, I’m pleased to help people with an assortment of issues from anger (hostility, rage, and aggression) to relational issues, adjustment matters, trauma experience, justice involvement, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression, and other mood or personality-related matters.
At Hollings Therapy, LLC, serving all of Texas, I aim to treat clients with dignity and respect while offering a multi-lensed approach to the practice of psychotherapy and life coaching. My mission includes: Prioritizing the cognitive and emotive needs of clients, an overall reduction in client suffering, and supporting sustainable growth for the clients I serve. Rather than simply helping you to feel better, I want to help you get better!
Deric Hollings, LPC, LCSW
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