14 Life & Love Lessons From Madonna (In GIFs!)

Before Beyonce, before Britney, before Mariah and all the others, there was Madonna Louise Ciccone. She’s done a lot through the years, some questionable, some awesome, but all unique and great. Without Madonna, we wouldn’t know about La Isla Bonita or the empowering effect latex has on your sex life. Without Madonna, we wouldn’t have “All The Way” Mae Mordabito from “A League Of Their Own” or everyone’s karaoke standby “Like A Prayer.” In honor of Madge’s 55th birthday, we’re taking a look at the gems of wisdom she’s given us through song. Here are Madonna’s lessons in life and love — in GIFs!

1. Express yourself, don’t repress yourself! [“Human Nature”]

2. Never ever settle for second best. Be honest about what you want and expect nothing less. Don’t censor yourself, dammit! [“Express Yourself”]

3. Women can make their own decisions and they don’t need any man — not their boyfriend, their father, or their preacher — to tell them what to do! [“Papa Don’t Preach”]

4. At the end of the day, the only person you can rely on is yourself. Life is a mystery, everyone must stand alone, or whatever. [“Like A Prayer”]

5. Embrace your sexuality, explore your kinks, deep throat. [“Justify My Love,” “Erotica”]

6. It doesn’t matter who you are, it’s what you do that takes you far. [“Over And Over”]

7. Set your goals high and go far. Don’t put off tomorrow what you can do today. [“Spotlight”]

8. Beauty’s where you find it. [“Vogue”]

9. “Let me remind you, in case you don’t already know, dining out can happen down below.” Get cunnilingus, ladies. [“Where Life Begins”]

10. You’re broken when your heart’s not open. [“Frozen”]

11. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to be dripping in diamonds and pearls, okay? [“Material Girl”]

12. Girl, if you need a vacation, take one. [“Holiday”]

13. Freedom comes when you learn to let go. [“The Power Of Goodbye”]

14. If you’re in a relationship but it feels like both of you are just playing roles and not being yourselves, maybe it’s time to walk away. [“Take A Bow”]

And if you’re aching for more ways to celebrate Madonna’s birthday, revisit her 10 best TV performances and and listen to 14 of her best album tracks, both over at Idolator.