The hundreds of hours we’ve spent watching Disney movies have given us more than just joy and a deep reverence for Alan Menken. We’ve been secretly learning the entire time, too, and it was Disney ladies who imparted all those lessons. Here are the ones that hit closest to home:
Esmeralda, The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Use your voice to stand up for what’s right. Get in the habit of making Esmeralda’s battle cry of “Justice!” your own. If you don’t, who will?
It’s important to know yourself and what you want, but it’s also important to learn to see things from others’ perspectives. That’s how you grow (and how you avoid turning your mom into a bear).
Belle, Beauty and the Beast
Don’t let other people’s expectations for you color the way you see yourself. They don’t know what sort of incredible things you’re capable of, and you were born for so much more than a provincial life.
Aurora, Sleeping Beauty
Surround yourself with good people, and all the best things in life will follow, because you’ll always have someone looking out for you. After all, we’re pretty sure friends are just fairies in disguise.
Nala, The Lion King
Hold yourself and the ones you love to high standards. You might be surprised how powerful of a motivating force your example can be, whether or not you’re specifically motivating someone to come back to the kingdom and challenge his uncle.
Tiana, The Princess and the Frog
Don’t become so singlemindedly dedicated to one specific goal that you forget what’s most important in your life. Channel Tiana, dig a little deeper, and remain balanced in all things.
You don’t have to do things a certain way just because that’s how they’ve always been done. Be fearless like Jasmine; challenge tradition and keep moving forward.
Ariel, The Little Mermaid
Your voice is priceless; don’t give it up to any sea witches or because of any external pressure to fit in. The things that make you unique—your thoughts, opinions, and values—are the things about yourself you should cherish most, and the things other people will love the most about you.
You can be motivated by fear, or you can be motivated by love. Almost every decision you make comes down to one of those two things, and you should always, always choose love over fear. It’s never too late to start, either; Elsa unlearned years of fear, and you can too.
Tinker Bell, Peter Pan
Jealousy is a waste of energy that never gets you anywhere. It won’t get you what you feel like you’re missing, and it might isolate you from other people. Learn from Tink’s mistakes here and focus your energy on doing something that builds you up.
Elizabeth Swann, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
Embrace the opportunity to lead others, like Elizabeth does. Don’t get hung up on the possibility of making mistakes. You’re just as competent as anyone else, and you have skills and smarts that are uniquely yours. Just go for it.
You’re capable of more than you might realize. Just because you’ve never done something before, that doesn’t mean you can’t do it now. The only way you’ll know is by trying, so leave your tower and find out what you’re made of.
Kida, Atlantis: The Lost Empire
Protect your people. Your family, whether they’re related to you or not, loves you most. You should send all that love back to them as fiercely as you can.
Snow White, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Don’t underestimate the value of simply being kind to everyone around you. It’s extremely powerful, and remember: you’re the one who can fill the world with sunshine.
Be bold, be brave, and never, ever give up. You won’t know if the next time you try something challenging will be the time you finally succeed unless you go for it. Look at problems from different perspectives, like Mulan, and you’ll get to the top eventually.
Keep an open mind and explore new worlds. You have no idea what’s out there waiting to be discovered. With a curious mind and a gentle heart, you can find the beauty in anything.
Be kind to everyone, even the smallest of creatures, and even those who aren’t kind back to you. That kindness is the most beautiful thing you can send out into the world, and it will eventually make its way back to you.
Trust yourself. Facing the unknown is scary, but if you want something bigger than what you’ve already dreamed, the unknown is your only option. Venture around the river bend and find out what’s waiting for you.
Sally, The Nightmare Before Christmas
You can’t stop the people you love from making mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes, and it’s good that they do, because mistakes help you grow. All you can do is keep loving them through it.
Trusting other people and loving everyone you meet are beautiful qualities; there’s no doubt about that. But don’t be naive, either. It takes time to learn if someone’s a Kristoff or a Hans. Let that time pass. If someone’s a Kristoff, they’ll still be around after it does.
Alice, Alice in Wonderland
Being odd is much more fun than being ordinary, so let your imagination run wild and think as many impossible things as you can. That’s how you create a world of your own that you love.
What’s your favorite life lesson from a Disney lady? Tell us below!