The magical world of Disney is filled with characters and stories that charm and entertain us, but they also contain precious life lessons about dreams, hope, love and being true to yourself. As an adult, I still love watching my favorite Disney movies, and I’m always struck by how timeless and enduring the wisdom they contain really is. So today, I want to share some of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned from Disney with you.
1. When in Doubt, “Just Keep Swimming.”
Dory’s motto may be simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy advice to follow. When we come up against an obstacle, whether it’s a hungry shark having trouble sticking to his vegetarian diet or just a rough day, it’s tempting to believe we aren’t up to the challenge. It takes courage and faith in ourselves to persevere when the going gets tough, but as Finding Nemo’s lovable Blue Tang shows us, persistence and a positive attitude always pay off in the end. So when life gets you down, and you feel like losing hope, remember – just keep swimming!
2. Embrace the Things That Make You Different.
Being different wasn’t easy for Disney’s floppy-eared Dumbo. The other elephants mocked him, the ringmaster demoted him to a clown, and even the crows made fun of his over-sized ears. But as his big-hearted friend Timothy wisely said, “The very things that hold you down are going to lift you up!” And did they ever! We’ve all had times when we felt like we didn’t fit in, or that life would be easier if we were just like everyone else. But Dumbo reminds us to embrace the things that make us different, because it’s those qualities that make us unique and special.
3. …and Embrace the Things That Make Other People Different.
It can be uncomfortable to try something new, because we like doing things our way, but Disney’s Pocahontas teaches us that, “if you walk the footsteps of a stranger, you’ll learn things you never knew.” When we embrace each other’s differences instead of trying to change them, we open ourselves up to new ideas and ways of doing things that we might never have considered. We won’t always see eye to eye, and that’s okay. So long as we keep an open mind, our lives are made so much richer when we fill them with diverse people and ideas!
4. We Can’t Change the Past, But We Can Learn from It.
We all make mistakes and do or say things we wish we hadn’t. We’re only human, after all. But as The Lion King’s Simba teaches us, running from the past won’t change what happened, no matter how hard we try. But we don’t have to be tied down by our past either. Rafiki put it best: “The past can hurt, but from the way I see it, you can either run from it, or learn from it.” These are wise words to keep in mind, as difficult as they may be to follow. This movie reminds us that we are defined by our mistakes, but by our willingness to keep trying to be better than we were yesterday. That’s a lesson we can keep in mind everyday!
5. Believe in Yourself!
Christopher Robin always had something encouraging to share with his friends from the Hundred Acre Wood, but I’ve always found this pearl of wisdom to be particularly uplifting: “You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you know.” When you have a friend who sees your true potential and encourages you to believe in yourself, you feel like you can do anything! Take it from Christopher Robin’s very good friend, Winnie the Pooh himself: “People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.” Point well taken, Pooh bear!
And these are just a few of my favorite Disney life lessons to warm your heart and make you smile. Now it’s your turn to share – what life lessons have the Disney characters taught you? Tell us in the comments! In the meantime, check out our Disney collectibles for your inspiration!5 Life Lessons I Learned from Disney by Ann Kelley