Admit it, girls. No matter how old you get, there will always be that one Disney movie you never hesitated to pop in the DVD player and curl up to with a tub of ice cream. If you’re anything like me, you may actually fangirl when you see your favorite Disney movie playing on ABC Family’s special on a Friday night. Sometimes, it’s for no other reason than to ravish in some childhood nostalgia and remember when life was simpler. But so many times, I have found myself getting the greatest advice I ever could from my favorite Disney movies when I really sit back and watch them. I mean, hey, Walt Disney was no dense guy after all. His films always incorporated a greater meaning that we were all too naïve to understand at a young age, but now that we’re looking for some solid motivation in our messy lives, we could go back and learn a thing or two from Walt himself. Here’s the top 6 things I’ve learned about life from being a Disney-fanatic.
1) Cinderella: “A dream is a wish your heart makes” — Seems like the age-old Disney saying, right? Of course it is! And of course, we hear it in one form or another every day. But the phrase “follow your dreams” is much too overlooked, even in all its cliché-ness. In this chaotic world, we’re constantly beaten down by expectations–whether they’re others, or our own. They load on a weight that makes us feel like what we want is some crazy, impossible achievement, and in the end, we settle. Stop settling! It’s as simple as that. Go out and strive for what you want. You never know what can happen if you never try.
2) Beauty and the Beast: Belle was the oddball of the town: misunderstood, underappreciated, and judged. And her love story came about from learning that there is always more than meets the eye. Of course it’s always easier said than done, but how wonderful would this world be if we could all learn to be like Belle and look for beauty in another’s personality and soul instead of their outward appearances or initial impressions?
3) The Little Mermaid: At heart, we’re all still that ambitious little girl that fantasizes of some fantastical love story for ourselves. Ariel taught us that, sometimes, we need to do a little changing and self-realization before we can have that romance, though. Don’t jump the gun on a relationship you’re not ready for. Learn who you are and who you want to become first, because if you can’t make yourself happy, you can’t make someone else happy.
4) Tangled: The timeless story of Rapunzel may not be a Disney classic, but this latest princess still counts in my eyes. Rapunzel, in one word, is curious. She wanted to escape her tower and learn about the world she had been missing out on. So do the same! Ignorance can come with a big price tag, but so can a closed mind. So, get out and explore all different types of cultures, opinions and people. How can we be confident in our own lifestyles if we are unwilling to understand those of others?
5) The Lion King: Okay, I know there’s no technical princess here, but Simba deserves some recognition for teaching us one of the hardest lessons ever: how to move on. Like Rafiki the Baboon said, “Ah, the past can hurt. But you can either run from it, or learn from it!” How true is that? So, take it from the Lion’s Pride and don’t run from your problems. Face them head on, accept what is unchangeable, learn from your mistakes, and work toward becoming a better version of yourself each day.
6) Mulan: Mulan is headstrong and not afraid to do what is right, even when the world was telling her it was wrong. She became that firey-souled independent girl that stood up when needed, even if no one stood behind her. Take charge and remain confident in every decision you make, and (maybe after a little hell) it will always pay off.
Whatever Disney movies you hold closest, it’s high time we start taking ole’ Walt’s advice and live up to acting like the princesses he has been inspiring us to become since the 1930’s.
What have Disney movies taught YOU? Comment below!