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Beyonce's "Lemonade": Thoughts About Art, Love, Betrayal And Forgiveness

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The release of "Lemonade" is fascinating for a number of reasons: an enormously popular musician is using her art to detail all the stages of confronting her husband's cheating. She shares her process with her listeners, revealing inner turmoil, deep insights, and a powerful emotional arc.

Beyonce begins the album singing about grief and loneliness, feelings of abandonment and betrayal, and then moves into anger, defiance and then empowerment. She sings about rebuilding her shaken confidence and the experience of vulnerability, when she questions what she might have done wrong.

She sings about her decision to forgive, and to move forward. She affirms this as a conscious choice, and she ends the album with a celebration of the love she shares with Jay-Z.

For the average woman who's experiencing her own marital crisis, this album brings the unique perspective of a fully-realized artist at the top of her game who's choosing to share as intimately as one can about one of the most painful moments in a relationship.

This album brought up a lot of thoughts about art, love, betrayal and forgiveness.

Here are a few of my reflections on "Lemonade":

It's not unusual for powerful men to stray. These men are used to having whatever they want, and it's hard to resist the constant temptation they face. For this reason, it's not easy to be married to a powerful man.

A woman can forgive her husband for cheating if she understands that powerful or ordinary, he's human and fallible. Perhaps that's what Beyonce did.

Perhaps Beyonce forgave Jay-Z because he did what all husbands must do in order to be forgiven: he understood that what he did was wrong, recognized how badly he hurt his wife, demonstrated remorse, made sincere amends, promised never to do it again and treated his wife with great respect, moving forward.

Many women feel ashamed when their man does something hurtful, and they keep the affair a secret, but in this album, Beyonce refuses to keep this a secret or carry any shame.

Beyonce is letting herself be vulnerable in front of the entire world. She's confronting her husband's actions, being assertive by expressing her feelings and needs, and saying that "No," she's not going to put up with his bad behaviour, anymore.

Some strong, successful women have a harder time with relationships, because their confidence and success can be intimidating to a man, even a successful one. Sometimes, a woman will try to make herself smaller, in order to maintain a relationship.

In this album, Beyonce is saying that she isn't going to diminish herself for any man. She's not afraid to show the extent of her anger. She's devastated, but she's still strong.

For a couple to recover from an affair, they need to work together to find forgiveness and healing. As angry and hurt as she is, the wife needs to be compassionate toward her husband; otherwise, her bitterness will make it impossible for them to reconcile.

And as Beyonce says in her song, "All Night," she needs to "give you some time to prove that I can trust you again." Together, they need to grieve the lost trust and broken innocence of the relationship, and try to create a new, improved marriage out of the rubble of the old one.

After an affair, both people in the relationship have inner work to do. The husband has to face his guilt, shame, self-blame, anger at himself and fears of losing his wife. He has to forgive himself and not beat himself up, because his self-hatred will spoil things for both of them.

She mined her life for her art, exposing her deepest secrets in service of her creativity, while also using her music to say, "This is my life! I dare you to judge!

The wife needs to take responsibility for her own actions, but with compassion, forgiving herself for anything she might have done to contribute to the problems between them.

For ordinary people, publicity can make things more awkward. The embarrassment and pain someone feels over marital problems is amplified when others know all about it.

With a couple like Beyonce and Jay-Z, it's nearly impossible to keep their personal life private. It can be that much more humiliating to have the media probe into the darkest corners of one's marriage.

What's wonderful with "Lemonade" is that Beyonce did what all true artists do -- she mined her life for her art, exposing her deepest secrets in service of her creativity, while also using her music to say, "This is my life! I dare you to judge!"

By speaking out about the affair through her music, Beyonce transformed a personal tragedy into an artistic triumph; she showed the world that she can be wounded like any other woman, but because she's an artist, her choice was to throw herself into her work and use her art to rise above her pain.

With "Lemonade", Beyonce demonstrates an enormous generosity of spirit, sharing her most heart-wrenching experiences and showing women everywhere how to become more empowered, resilient and creative.

Beyonce turned her celebrity upside-down by using the vulnerability of her public persona to reveal to all of us her personal anguish and her journey toward empowerment.

She shared with the whole world her excruciating but ultimately magnificent process of emerging from the depths of her pain, healing her heart and salvaging her relationship.

She showed that she could transform lemons into "Lemonade", modeling to all women how we can use our creativity to work through our own grief and loss and transcend our personal crises.

With "Lemonade", Beyonce demonstrates an enormous generosity of spirit, sharing her most heart-wrenching experiences and showing women everywhere how to become more empowered, resilient and creative.

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