This year is the 80th Anniversary of the first fully animated story and the first Disney Princess who enchanted the world; Snow White. It’s hard to believe that it has been about 80 years since Walt Disney mortgaged his home to fund an opportunity that would forever change the course of animation and family entertainment. Sometimes we forget when we get caught up in the marketing and the merchandise for Disney movies, that there are deeper messages that those Disney movies intended to bring us.
This got me thinking about what the messages in Disney movies really mean to inspire. Put aside the stunning visual effects and technological animation advances we have become accustomed to, and take a step back to explore some of the most relevant life lessons from quotes out of the 1937 classic based on a Grimm’s fairy tale.
“You’re never too old to be young” – Happy
Loveable Happy, whose name was completely fitting. Walt Disney always believed this very statement, which is why he created Disney parks, a place where everyone could feel like a kid again. This quote doesn’t just resonate to justifying a Disney vacation, it applies to so much more. When you are young you have this wild wonder of the world and everything seems possible. As we get older, sometimes we let the experiences we’ve been through color our perspective and we often forget that possibilities exist. When you find yourself having a tough time, ask yourself, “what would the young me do?”. Hopefully young you wasn’t reckless or senseless, but filled with wonder and imagination. On a separate tangent, the message of this quote also inspires fun, and invokes the elation of youth. Seek boundless joy and opportunities for careless laughter, make it a point to rejoice in the little things, much like a child does when they get a new toy or book. Sometimes the most important thing is to feed your inner child with the things that bring you the most enjoyment, and just be happy.
“Remember, you’re the one who can fill the world with sunshine” – Snow White
I want to say that sunshine is a metaphor for warmth. It’s also a reminder to tap into your personality and find that personal warmth to share with others, thus promoting kindness on a global scale. Science has proven that humans are capable of deep rooted emotional intelligence, and we experience this connection to how others are feeling without even knowing it. Think about your job, let’s say you have to deal with a coworker who is constantly complaining about something and they are aggravated with everyone. What kind of vibe are they manifesting in the workplace? Clearly a negative one, and perhaps the only warmth they are giving off isn’t of the friendly variety. If that is your interaction on a daily basis that takes an emotional toll on you and can make you feel unproductive and drained. In situations like this example, remember this message and bring a different warmth to environment. It may not be an immediate change, but it is a start by creating a shift, almost like when sunshine breaks through clouds.
“Give them an inch and they’ll walk all over you” – Grumpy
Oh, Grumpy. Although this quote can be perceived as somewhat closed off and negative, it is a really important life lesson about not overextending yourself. I think in life we have all at one point or another gone out of our way to go the extra mile. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it is actually a really beautiful thing to help others, and bring that sunshine I just talked about forward. What isn’t great is when you do something out of the kindness of your heart and find that someone takes advantage of that over and over again. In the long run this will only end up affecting you personally, while someone else reaps the benefits of your nature. Grumpy had the right idea in recognizing that this is, unfortunately, a fact of life. It doesn’t mean you can’t be aware of these behaviors exhibited by people, it’s all about setting up personal boundaries, establishing how far you are willing to extend yourself, and in the process not become a doormat that sits outside of the Seven Dwarfs cottage.
“I’m sure I’ll get along somehow. Everything is going to be alright” – Snow White
Preach it Snow, Preach. The only inescapable things in life are death and taxes. Even then, you can evade your taxes, but I wouldn’t recommend it. I think we can all agree that Snow White had a rough time being chased from her home, having a huntsman try to murder her, and then she was poisoned. Talk about being resilient. Did she lose hope? Heck no. She kept on moving forward. She put aside her fear and ventured deeper into the forest where she came across the cottage. She believed, even before the twists and turns of her fate that no matter what, she would get along somehow and that everything was going to be alright. What an inspiring life lesson to take from this quote. If you’re going through something terrible just remember that although things may seem rough now, and there is no guarantee that they can’t get far worse, everything is going to be alright.
“Say Please and Thank You, even if you’re feeling Grumpy” – Snow White
A classic and timeless piece of life advice. Manners will never go out of style. No matter how someone else treats you, no matter how you feel, always remember that saying please and thank you are powerful words. I know it’s easy to get frustrated when you hold the door for someone at Disney while ten other people walk in, and maybe one person of the ten says “thank you”. I get irritated just thinking about that scenario. Instead of focusing on the nine rude people, I try to think about how that one person just made me feel. I also try to think that maybe those nine people were tourists who don’t speak fluent English and could be shy about communicating. It’s all about perspective, and things like a small token of recognition such as a nod or words of gratitude can also bring sunshine into the world.
We can all learn a little something from the classics, and apply the lessons and the messages to our day to day lives. After all, it’s been 80 years since Snow White made her debut and we are still celebrating her story today.
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