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Unconventional Lessons Learned From Disney Princesses

Disney Princess
Credit: Disney

It’s World Princess Week, and to celebrate, we are thinking about Disney Princesses and what they mean to us. There are incredible life lessons to be learned from all Disney Princesses (yes, even the very early ones). It’s become trendy to hate on the Disney Princess in favor of more modern (and on-the-nose) storylines, but honestly? Everything I need to know, I’ve learned from a Disney Princess.

Snow White

 Disney Princess lessons

Credit: Disney

Be kind. Was there ever a kinder person than Snow White? She taught me the value of being kind, even when you’re going through your own stuff. On the run from a murderous stepmother, homeless, and afraid, Disney’s original princess had every reason to be bitter, selfish, and unkind. Instead, she offered grace and kindness to everyone she encountered. In a world where it’s easy to be cold and self-absorbed, Snow White’s example shows that kindness matters.

Cinderella

Disney Princess Lessons

Credit: Disney

Stay classy. Another Princess who remained calm in the face of injustice, Cinderella, shows us that we don’t have to stoop to others’ level. Taking the high road may seem like a loss at first, but eventually, people get what they deserve. Cinderella’s stepsisters were awful to her. They treated her like a servant, ruined her things, disrespected her, and threw temper tantrums to get their way. Lady Tremaine, Cinderella’s stepmother, sat back and let it happen. Rather than retaliate, Cindy stayed classy and refused to sink to their level. By refusing to stoop to their level, she was elevated beyond her wildest dreams.

Aurora

Disney Princess Lessons

Credit: Disney

Listen to your elders. Sleeping Beauty is a timeless tale that stresses the importance of listening to our elders. It’s easy to dismiss their advice as “old-fashioned,” “paranoid,” or “out of touch,” but often, their advice is sound and a result of knowing more than we do. The adults in her life knew that Aurora was in grave danger, but she refused to listen and ended up fulfilling a curse. Time and experience are the best teachers, and our elders are wise from having lived long, full lives. We would be wise to pay attention.

Ariel

Disney Princess Lessons

Credit: Disney

Follow your own journey. Ariel wanted to be human and live on land, which his father highly disapproved of. She knew in her gut, though, that this was the right path for her. She made mistakes along the way, but eventually she found where she was meant to be. Whether your path is conventional or not, Ariel taught us that pursuing it with all your heart and being courageous while blazing new trails is what’s important.

Belle

Disney Princess Lessons

Credit: Disney

It’s ok to be a “smart girl”. In a world that often makes us feel like girls need to be pretty above all else, Belle said, “Nah.” She was a bookworm, a dreamer, and most of all, incredibly smart. The townsfolk made fun of her for it, but she was unbothered. She also knew that choosing a partner was about more than looks. Gaston was hot but also dumb. Their marriage would have been shallow and ultimately meaningless. Belle knew she was more than a pretty face and deserved the same in a partner.

Jasmine

Disney Princess Lessons

Credit: Disney

Think for yourself. The ultimate girl-power princess! She defiantly stated, “I am not a prize to be won!” Jasmine reminds us that we are not put here to be property or to conform. Be unapologetically you, like Jasmine did. She knew her worth and that she was much more than arm candy for a prince. She even had laws changed so that she could make her own decision about who to marry rather than allowing her life to be dictated to her.

Pocahontas

Lessons from Disney Princesses

Credit: Disney

Everything is connected. Nature and humanity must work together to preserve the delicate circle of life. If you must destroy something, create something in order to bring balance. Pocahontas knew that the land beneath her feet was more than a means to generate profit. She knew that humans and the earth share a symbiotic relationship and depend on one another. Modern life has caused us to forget this, but we can look to the example of Pocahontas and return to a more natural rhythm with the earth.

Mulan

Mulan

Credit: Disney

Your actions make you royalty. Mulan was not born into nor did she marry royalty. Her bravery in the army elevates her to official Disney Princess status. She is an example to us all that it isn’t birthright or marriage that makes a princess. It’s actions. To be a princess, you must behave like a princess. That includes doing what is right, no matter what. Defending your family and fighting no matter the odds are also key takeaways from Mulan. Mulan couldn’t bear to see her father go to war because he was disabled, so she stepped up. That is what makes her Disney’s only “non-princess Princess.

Tiana

Tiana

Credit: Disney

Nothing is more important than family. Yes, Tiana shows us the value of hard work, but I think that’s the wrong message to take away. In fact, I wrote a whole article about it. The real lesson from Tiana is that family is everything. Mama Odie knew it and told her so:

“Your daddy was a loving man

Family through and through

You your daddy’s daughter

What he had in him, you got in you

You got to dig a little deeper.”

Tiana needed to see that hard work was important, but family was most important. It’s easy to get wrapped up in to-do lists and “doing it all,” and when I do, I remember Tiana’s lesson and slow down.

Rapunzel

Rapunzel

Credit: Disney

Question everything. Rapunzel was stolen as a baby and kept prisoner in a tower deep in the woods. Though she was given perfectly good explanations for things, something still nagged at her—the lights. Every year, she saw the lanterns float in the sky on her birthday, and she felt in her gut that there was something to it. She wasn’t content to accept that it was nothing…she needed to investigate on her own. Her example shows us that it’s important to remember not only to ask questions but seek out our own answers.

Merida

Merida

Credit: Disney

Pride can be your downfall if you let it consume you. Merida was a stubborn and willful girl. Her mother was a stubborn and willful mother. It almost destroyed not only their relationship but their lives. Both wanted the other to change so badly that they acted foolishly. Queen Elinor threw Merida’s bow, her prized possession, into the fire, and Merida made a deal with a witch that turned her mother into a bear. Ultimately, the witch had wise words to undo the spell that both Merida and Queen Elinor needed to heed: “Fate be changed, look inside. Mend the bond torn by pride.” Once they both put their pride aside, they finally understood each other.

Moana

Credit: Disney

Don’t let fear stop you! Moana’s island was dying, and to save it, she needed to cross the ocean to restore the heart of Te Feiti. She didn’t let her parents’ fear of the ocean, a scary crab, a mischievous demi-god, or an angry lava monster stop her. It would have been easy for her to let fear get in the way or cause her to turn back, but she fearlessly did what needed to be done. Fear is a liar. It will tell you things are impossible when they aren’t. Only by fighting through fear can we achieve great things.

Raya

Raya

Credit: Disney

Forgiveness isn’t just important, it’s vital. Raya struggled with bitterness and a lack of trust. Dark energy and greed were destroying her land, and after suffering massive betrayal, all seemed lost. It was only through forgiveness that she was able to save everyone. That’s a lesson I need to remind myself of constantly. Sometimes forgiveness isn’t about the other person; sometimes, it’s about choosing peace for your own heart.

There are so many lessons to learn from Disney Princesses that no single list could ever be comprehensive. Some lessons are obvious. Some require a closer look. I tried to discuss lessons that aren’t always the first thing that jumps out at you because sometimes those are the most important lessons of all. What’s a lesson you’ve learned from a Disney Princess? Head over to our Facebook page and let us know!

 

 

 

 

 

About Jill Bivins

Jill Bivins has been visiting Disney Parks since she was 2 years old and loves sharing her Disney adventures with the world. She likes to say Disney is in her blood and writing is in her bones — so any time she has the opportunity to combine these loves she is one happy camper! She has a deep abiding love for Epcot and as a die hard Star Wars fan has a serious love for Hollywood Studios as well. When she isn't exploring or writing about Disney Parks, Jill is homeschooling her 8 year old son, playing with her brand new baby son, or pretending to be a farmer on her family homestead (despite being unable to keep even a cactus alive). Find Jill on Instagram @minnieonmain.