If you grew up on Disney movies, then you grew up with some incredible characters, stories, and life lessons in animated form. From loyalty to friendship to self confidence, Disney has gifted generations with some wonderful values and lessons without being super obvious about it. But the love lessons from Disney are some of the ones I'm most grateful for.
I have always been Team Disney and will fight anyone who dares to tell me how terrible the movies are for children, but having a daughter has made that love grow more. With the variety of princesses Disney has created, my little girl will have some great stories of friendship, empowerment, and, above all else, love. But the love she'll see isn't always between a princess and her prince. In fact, when anyone argues that all Disney princesses do is wait around for their prince, I find myself getting furious.
So many of the characters in Disney find love in their family, friends, and themselves. And these 13 love lessons from Disney are perfect for not only children, but adults as well. Sometimes I have to be reminded of things like loving someone means not giving up and that sometimes, love means sacrifice. In a world where screen time is considered the devil by many sanctimonious parents, this list will give you a great excuse to have a Disney marathon and soak in all of the lessons.
1. Everyone Is Capable Of Love
Beauty and the Beast proves that everyone deserves to be loved — and that loving a person can change them for the better. Let's be honest, Beast was not always great at showing love. He was aggressive, hateful, and locked Belle in his. But in being loved by Belle, he was able to change his ways.
2. Sometimes Love Means Sacrifice
If you tell me you didn't sob your eyes out when Sully had to take Boo back home, I won't believe you. Monsters Inc. is such an incredible example of giving up something you want more than anything in the world because it's what's best for the one your heart belongs to.
3. Love Gives You Courage
Merida's love for her mother in Brave is the force that propels her to be courageous and brave when all hope seems lost. She's desperate to find the witch so that she can reverse the spell on her mother, and will do anything to find her, regardless of the differences she and her mother have had.
4. Love Someone For What's On The Inside
Despite his efforts to convince her she was a prince, Aladdin learned a valuable lesson — love is blind. What mattered to Princess Jasmine wasn't Prince Ali's wealth and royalty status. She fell in love with Aladdin's personality and sense of adventure.
5. Don't Change Yourself For Love
She wanted to be part of his world, but you know what? Prince Eric would've loved her anyway. Ariel gave up her voice for legs, hoping to woo the prince, and ended up causing more problems. Disney gave us a huge lesson here — keep the mermaid tail.
6. Love Means Bringing Out the Best In Each Other
When Tiana meets Naveen in The Princess and the Frog, he is a selfish prince with no sense of responsibility. But Tiana, while fiercely independent and hardworking, thinks that to love someone, she has to give up all she's ever wanted and dreamed about. The two of them are able to bring out the best in each other and become better people with their love. And isn't that the most important thing in a relationship? Someone who makes you better and someone whom you have a positive impact on?
7. Love Finds You When You're Not Looking For It
When Disney haters mention Cinderella, I love to remind them that the shoe-famous princess didn't ask for true love. All she wanted was a night off from scrubbing those damn floors and a pretty dress to wear. Her story is one of true love and how it shows up when you're not even looking for it, one of the best surprises life has to offer.
8. You Will Always Need Love
One of the most heartbreaking moments in Disney history is also one of the greatest lessons of love. When Andy no longer plays with his toys in Toy Story 3, Woody is distraught and teaches all of us that, without love, we are nothing. Whether it's love of family, friends, or an SO, it's necessary for a happy, fulfilling life.
9. Love Means Never Giving Up
In Finding Nemo, Marlin has to search an entire ocean for his son and, last I heard, that's a pretty big place. But the love he has for his son is worth more than his fears, the adversity he faces, or the harsh reality that he may never see Nemo again.
10. True Love Isn't Always Romantic
Frozen is a groundbreaking film, and not just because five-year-olds who have never even seen it know the song "Let it Go." Frozen proved that an act of true love isn't always romantic and that family is everything. True love comes in so many forms and I'm so glad Disney picked two sisters to showcase it.
11. Love Can Open Your Mind
Love can do that to you. It can open your minds to new possibilities and give you a new perspective, just like it did to Pocahontas and John Smith.
12. It's Not Always Love At First Sight
While I love a good "love at first sight" story, I also adore a good old-fashioned "it took us a minute" relationship saga. Tangled brings us this valuable lesson. I mean, who whacks a person they've instantly fallen in love with in the head with a frying pan? Spoiler: no one.
13. Self-Love Is The Most Important
My 15-month-old is obsessed with Mulan and I couldn't be happier. Sure, you may think that the love lesson in this film is that you're willing to risk your life to protect your loved ones, but there's a bigger lesson to pay attention to. Mulan was loved by those around her, but couldn't find her place in life and had little to no self-worth. By defeating the Huns and earning the honor of China, she was able to see herself for who she really was — a total badass. And she proves that self-love is more important than anything else in the world.