I know what you tell yourself, you tell yourself.
I know what you tell yourself, you tell youself.
I know what you tell yourself, you tell yourself.
Look in the mirror, look in the mirror what does it show?
I hear you counting.
I know you're adding up the score.
I know, oh yes I know what you tell yourself, you tell yourself.
I know what you tell yourself, you tell youself.
I know what you tell yourself, you tell yourself.

Ever since Eden we're built for pleasing everyone knows
And ever since Adam cracked his ribs and let us go I know
Oh yes I know what you tell yourself, you tell yourself.
I know what you tell yourself, you tell youself.
I know what you tell yourself, you tell yourself.

Who taught you how to lie so well and to believe in each and every word you say?
Who told you that nothing about you is alright
It's just no use, it's just no good you'll never be O.K.?

Well I know, I know that wrong's been done to you
"It's such a tough world," that's what you say.
Well I know, I know it's easier said than done
But that's enough girl, give it away give it, give it all away.

Tell yourself that you're not pretty, look at you, you're beautiful.
Tell yourself that no one sees Plain Jane invisible to me, just tell yourself.
Tell yourself you'll never be like the anorexic beauties in the magazines.
Just a bargain basement Barbie doll, no belle du jour, no femme fatale
Just tell yourself.
Tell yourself there's nothing worse than the pain inside and the way it hurts
But tell yourself it's nothing new cause everybody feels it too, they feel it too.
And there's just no getting 'round the fact that you're thirteen right now.

Lyrics submitted by mixedtape

Tell Yourself song meanings
Add your thoughts


sort form View by:
  • +2
    General CommentHaving a fourteen year old daughter, this song makes so much sence
    megacleaneron August 10, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'm convinced that this song is about the same child that she sings about in "Eat For Two", and "How You've Grown". Perhaps a niece? If you think about the dates and ages mentioned, you'll see that she's 13 when this song is written, probably around 2002, was perhaps born in 1989 when "Blind Man's Zoo" came out, and was a child of 3 or so when "How You've Grown" was written. Thanks for getting this song up, MixedTape. I was unsuccessful in 2 attempts of it.
    HibbidyJibbidyon April 27, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti think this is a song about someone with an eating disorder... on the outside they can look like they are just about food and people dont understand them, but there are so many underlying issues.
    the lasy verse just sums that up and says she'll never be like the "anorexic beauties in the magazine" "but nothing is worth the pain"

    this is a long shot but thirteen may not be age... it might be a measurement maybe... stone/inches?
    xrach1807xon September 06, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFirst Part

    To me it’s an adolescent girl blossoming in the midst of societies obsession with beauty, and what it means in general to be a woman.

    “Look in the mirror”
    “I hear you counting, I know your adding up the score up the score”
    The narrator being once at that age can relate.
    Score= calories or it can be her own worth.

    Second Part.

    “Ever since Eden”
    Adam blamed Eve for his decision to consume of the “forbidden fruit” an event that later was to be known as “the fall of man”

    “Built for pleasing”
    Since this time she’s been making up for this “indiscretion”.

    Pretty = pleasing by delicacy or grace

    “Belle dujour” in 1967 where a married woman is bored with being marriage, so she begins to have dreams of being raped, spanked, and humiliated. She then eagerly seeks to become a prostitute. I rented the film and there are morew than some inappropriate relationships that are hinted to when the main character was young. The film goes back and forth between reality and subconscience.
    luminous1on December 15, 2007   Link
  • 0
    My Interpretation"Ever since Eden we're built for pleasing everyone knows"

    She's saying that women are seen as existing to please men, that this is why there's so much pressure on women to meet some standard of physical beauty, and she's laying the blame for this at the feet of the Bible. This book that our culture warships as the word of God says women were created to make men happy, and not the other way around.

    Natalie Merchant has often shown that she knows the Bible and thinks about it, but doesn't accept it as true or even something that reflects the right values. In the song "Cherry Tree" she condemns the view that eating from the tree of knowledge is a bad thing and that ignorance = innocence.
    BeautyUntamedon September 14, 2012   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top