“I Who Have Nothing” Song Evaluation (Part 2)


“I Who Have Nothing” by Tom Jones (#1)

See Part 1 for the Tom Jones rendition (or in YouTube)



💔  “I Who Have Nothing” 💔
I who have nothing, I who have no one – adore you & want you so
I’m just a no one with nothing to give you, but oh – I love you

He, he buys you diamonds, bright sparkling diamonds
But, believe me, dear, when I say That he can give you the world,
but he’ll never love you the way I love you

He can take you any place he wants, To fancy clubs and restaurants
But I can only watch you with My nose pressed up against the window pane

I, I who have nothing. I, I who have no one
Must watch you go dancing by Wrapped in the arms of somebody else – when, darling, it’s I who loves you.
I love you, I love you, I love you
The SINGER (in this case a man)
💔 “I who have nothing, I who have no one…. I’m just a no one with nothing to give you”
◆ Is he is actually poor, maybe unemployed?  An average person, maybe a middle-class worker….?
◆ Clearly he has deep-seated self-hate (S-H), regardless of what his actual status & ability is in life
◆ He’s comparing himself – negatively – to her. She has all the power to get the best things in life, & he is powerless
💔 “I who have no one
◆ Why is that? Is he an isolate, because of S-H? Is he old, physically ugly or deformed? Or have a mental illness….?
◆ He would rather pine away for something out of his reach, rather than search (& find) a woman who can love him in return! (He’s in the reverse of the Serenity Prayer)
◆ Continuing to watch her with someone else is a way to keep torturing himself – unnecessarily!
◆ That way he doesn’t have to focus on himself, maybe even get the help he needs to improve his self-esteem & find realistic options
💔 “adore you & want you so
◆ He lives in a fantasy world of envy & longing
◆ He’s obsessed with this particular woman – who is obviously unattainable
◆ Even more to the point – he has never actually met her, only seen her at a distance, so he has no idea what she’s really like
◆ Since he’s never met her – he’s totally focused on her externals – she’s likely beautiful, & obviously dressed to the teeth
◆ There’s no way for the singer to find out what kind of person she really is inside – he might be very dissapointed
💔 “but he’ll never love you the way I love you
◆ Ironically – in spite of his S-H, he believes he is capable of loving, AND can love her more than the man she’s with – even though he’s never met that man either!
◆ He may be equating bring rich with being shallow & lavish spending with arrogance / narcissism, OR with insecurity, that the rich man is “love buying“.
From: “Money Madness: The Psychology of Saving, Spending, Loving, and Hating Money”. Goldberg, H., & Lewis, R. T. (1978)
These motives may be true for some, but the singer is projecting his own assumptions onto a stranger (not thinking accurately – see list of some cognitive distortions as in Generalizing)
💔 “He, he buys you diamonds, bright sparkling diamonds…..
◆ We don’t know if there’s a real relationship (love, respect….) between the couple – it may be very new, superficial or…..
◆ She may just be using him for the “good life” – in which case she is not ‘worthy’ of admiration, much less the singer’s passionate love
◆ It’s not likely that she’d ever be interested in this poor, self-deprecating man
◆ She may be shallow, narcissistic & ‘high maintenance’ ….. OR just having a good time, for now
◆ She may come from a rich family & this is how she’s used to being treated …..
WHAT DO YOU THINK?  You can add evaluation, suppositions or conclusions of your own – about all 3 characters in this song.
— Do you identify with any of them?
— Do you know anyone like one of these characters?
— Have you gathered / learned anything useful from the analysis of this song?
Feel free to leave COMMENTS.


2 thoughts on ““I Who Have Nothing” Song Evaluation (Part 2)

  1. Love this exercise! Thank you~
    — Do you identify with any of them?
    Reflecting on my life, I can identify with both characters.
    I have been needy. delusional. have compared myself to others. know self-hate.
    I have had shallow relationships. been jealous of others. been lonely. gotten into relationships for the wrong reasons. have used others and been used by them as well.
    I have come from a family of some means & have learned to be discerning & value & appreciate the benefits of recognizing & choosing life experiences and goods that are of substance & quality though my life is not driven by needing these things.

    — Do you know anyone like one of these characters?
    In my mind I imagine I do but to say with certainty or to surmise would be to project onto attibutes onto others. I cannot know what another truly thinks or believe. I can see all of these characteristics in many others. I can choose to engage or not.

    — Have you gathered / learned anything useful from the analysis of this song?
    Others comments were enlightening. Had not thought about some of the comments prior to reading them in Part 1. So my question to you is what to do with these analysis from your perspective?


    • Thank you for your response. The goal of the exercise is to be more self-aware – and to use the Serenity Prayer correctly – to focus on that is possible & let go of the opposite. Realistically fulfilling our true needs allows us to have a better life than that which was originally bequeathed us from our damaged background.


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