Lady Gaga stopped by Yale University's campus on Saturday for the Emotion Revolution Summit, organized by the Born This Way Foundation in collaboration with the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. The event aims to "ignite important conversations about making schools a place where all students can thrive."
Check out highlights from the conversation or watch it below (Gaga's part starts at 59:00)...
On what made her start the Born This Way foundation:
I started writing Born This Way and the experience was extremely therapeutic for me to reveal to myself things that I didn't always want to admit. I think a lot of what we're doing here today and what I'm hoping that you all take away from this today is that you should not need feel like a victim in this situation. In fact, nobody can help you more than you can help yourself. And when I was writing Born This Way I was asking myself how I really felt, and what I discovered that there was a lot of repressed anger, and rage, and sadness that I had not dealt with for years. I looked out into the sea of my amazing fans every night and I saw tiny mirrors in a disco ball reflecting back at me. I saw lots of different versions of myself. And the truth is that we share in our stress, we share in our anxiety, and we're here today because it is the parts of our brain that handle stress, that also handle our physical pain, our emotional pain, it comes from the same place. We want to put it out there that there is a strategy for everyone to feel better. But how can we stop telling kids how to do things, and what they should do and start listening to what it is that we can do for you.
On what Emotion Revolution is about:
What I wanna know is, how can we impress to people that this really isn't as complicated as they think it is? I know that we're not holding sick children and saying "Your check goes here." What we're saying is that this is an important issue, emotional intelligence affects your future, and your opportunities, and your ability to live a happy life. It affected my ability to live a happy life, it still does. And these kids that are doing it best, they are the ones that are inhaling this philosophy with all of them. It's not just about being nice one day. This is about every day of your life as a student and as a teacher revealing yourself, revealing your emotions to you and to the people around you that you're actually listening when they're talking.
On the importance of being able to say 'no':
I have some sort of anxiety, depression, something... that's changed my whole live. I take an antidepressant medication for it. I have tried to get off of it, my doctor always tells me not to. That it's not safe for me to, whenever I've tried to I've gotten very neurotic, manic, sick. So, I have had to study all different types of ways. I started looking into ayurvedic medicine, I started looking into mindfulness and meditation, I started looking into a mantra, I do acupuncture, I do cupping, I pray sometimes, I make music, I write poetry, I'm an actress now (that's helped me a lot!). These are the things I started to do but what helped me the most that I want to impress upon all of you is that realized that part of my identity is saying 'no' to things I don't want to do. And you're all in school and you all a lot of teach and a lot of people around you that tell you all day that you have to do but it is your right to choose what you do and don't do. It's your right to choose what you believe in and don't believe in. It's your right to curate your life and your own life and your own perspective.
I have had to make decisions like, "Why am I unhappy? Okay, Stefani, Gaga, Hybrid person, why are you unhappy? Why is it that you want to quit music?" Well, I really don't like selling these fragrances, perfumes. I don't like wasting my time spending days just shaking people's hands and smiling, taking selfies. It feels shallow to my existence. I hae a lot more to offer than my image. I don't like being used to make people money. I feel sad when I'm overworked and that I've just become a moneymaking machine and that my passion and my creativity take a back seat. That makes me unhappy. So what did I do? I started to say 'no.' I'm not doing that. I don't wanna do that. I'm not taking that picture. I'm not going to that event. I'm not standing by that, because that's not what I stand for. And slowly but surely I remembered who I am. And then you go home, and you look in the mirror and you're like, 'Yes! I can go to bed with you every night, because I know that person.' That person has balls, that person has integrity, that person has an opinion. That person doesn't get a text from somebody and say 'Oh my god, they wrote this, and they sent this emoji, should I write this back, what do you think, is that okay?' This is the age that we live in. We're not actually communicating with each other, we're unconsciously communicating lies.
On the power of words on the Internet:
What if we told all just told Twitter that they had to have a standard of morality? From an artist's mouth, I am telling you that freedom of speech is overrated. What you choose to do with your voice in this world is extremely powerful. We have seen throughout history how dangerous it can be to use your voice for evil. Now we all have a platform. But what really scares me is these massive corporations that just have no standarts for values at all. "It's not my problem, it's your problem. But I'll take your money and we'll go public." Is that what we're gonna do? Is that what we stand for as a generation? Oh, it's fine, because I still get to post my pictures? Nobody is going to remember what you tweeted, but you will never forget all that hateful s--t that you read every single day that made you sick at school.
Visit bornthisway.foundation for more information about Emotion Revolution.