A couple of days ago I watched Beauty and the Beast for the first time in years - and I was gobsmacked. I couldn't believe how much I related to the film, and how my experiences growing up were very similar to some of the scenarios in the movie. "Wow," I thought, "the answers have been here all this time."
As a child you don't realize what's in store for you, no matter how many times you are told or warned about what could happen to you. You have to learn for yourself. But when watching Beauty and the Beast when I was younger, I had no idea that it was actually preparing me for a lot of things that I think everyone experiences at some point in their life. This movie is filled with life lessons that everyone should be taught, and accurate predictions of what will happen to you growing up. We all have to go through unfortunate experiences at some point in our lives - and a lot of what you'll go through has been predicted by Beauty and the Beast! This film already knew what was going to happen to me before it even happened! We can seriously learn a lot from Disney.
Here are 10 valuable lessons from Beauty and the Beast that could prepare you for the future:
1. People will have stupid opinions of you
At the beginning of the film, we see Belle walking through the streets singing about wanting more, and as she makes her way through the little French town there are other locals singing about her. They're calling her strange, and her father Maurice has a reputation for being an oddball too. But for those who have watched Beauty and the Beast, we know that Belle is kind and clever and we should aspire to be like her. There's nothing wrong with being "different." People thought I was weird for liking books and wanting to be a writer. People who were struggling with their work would copy mine. I was a "nerd" and "geek" and I should have listened to that beginning scene of Beauty and the Beast, because I would have realized that being geeky or weird was actually a compliment. Just remember to be like Belle with her head buried in a book - ignore what people think and be you.
2. You will be affected by people's opinions of you
When Belle returns home to her father, she asks him if he thinks she's odd. I think every one will believe the mean things others say at some point, even if they have a thick skin like I did. Belle talks to her father about it and this is what you should do too if you ever experience this. Talk to someone about it, someone who cares and who knows you well because they will be honest with you and tell you not to listen to people's taunts or negative opinions. Personally I think I'm weird and I'm very proud of that!
3. You will have an existential crisis
You might not quite do it like Belle and go waltzing all over town singing about it, but you will wonder at some point "there must be more to this provincial life." That's OK, and there is - don't worry. Things get better and you will understand who you are and what you want to do with your life. I've often had moments, usually late at night lying awake in bed, where I am wondering what the hell I'm doing with my life and not knowing what I want but just knowing that there must be more to life than my daily routine and feeling like I'm getting no where. Belle's life is turned completely upside down when she meets Beast, which shows us that things have a way of working out, no matter how strange, and they happen when you least expect it.
4. You will probably meet someone like Gaston (and I'm sorry if you do)
We all know that person who thinks they're handsome and wonderful and is full of themselves. They come across as very charming and believe that you're lucky to be with them. They also think that it's a privileged for you to know them and that you should be honored that they choose you. Yes, they are ridiculous human beings and only they don't know this. They are under the delusion that they are God's gift. Gaston is the perfect example of this type of person. I met someone like this and I was in shock when I watched Beauty and the Beast recently because I was reminded instantly of that person. If I had remembered this film better, I'd have maybe remembered to avoid people like Gaston.
5. You will date at least one A-hole
I've dated a few unfortunately, and one of them was like Gaston. I never realized because love is blind. Gaston reminds me a little of Gilderoy Lockheart from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - a man who basks in and seeks attention, thinks he has dazzling good looks and is the bees knees. Lockheart also comes across as charming and we don't know until the end of the film that he's really a fraud, like how we discover just how evil Gaston can be at the end of Beauty and the Beast. If only I had remembered more about Gaston! I would have learned that men like that are jerks and are very good at concealing who they really are with charm. Surprisingly, even though he is a giant a-hole, he could have saved me from making a few mistakes!
6. You will have relationship problems, and it doesn't mean you should give up
The scene where the Beast is getting advice from Mrs. Potts and the gang makes me laugh. He is knocking on Belle's door insisting that she come down to eat and she is refusing. I think this can teach us a lot and prepare us for relationships. You will need to compromise. You will need to be patient. And you will row. You will be frustrated by the other and you will irritate them too. However, despite the film's portrayal of relationship struggles, it also shows us how powerful and beautiful love can be. It also shows us that there are good and bad days - it's hard, and relationships can take a lot of time and effort. There's something else that can make your relationship difficult too...
7. You will have someone try and get involved in your relationship, or give you bad advice
People gossip and you hear many things from different people. We all have experiences that differ from one another and sometimes the things you are told have to be taken with a pinch of salt. Sometimes, the best thing to do is to wait and find out for yourself instead of listening to other people. However, sometimes there are a few people in your life who are wise and you ought to listen to them, leading us to...
8. You will have someone who tells you the right thing to do and gives good advice (probably your parents, and you'll probably ignore them!)
Don't ignore them. They are trying to protect you because they have been where you are and don't want you to get hurt. In Beauty and the Beast, the Beast was lucky when he was taking the advice of Mrs. Potts and co. They are all good people (or objects, in this case) who give Beast the right advice and genuinely want to help him. In my life, those people were my parents and they gave me lots of advice, especially about bullies and boys, and I discovered years after that they were right. At the time, we don't think to listen and sometimes we don't want to listen. "But Mom, I really want to go to that party!" sound familiar? Maybe you sneaked out to that party and got into loads of trouble when you got home? Or you got stupidly drunk and regretted it the next day? Save the embarrassment of knowing your parents are thinking "I told you so," and do as you're told. Listen and take the advice of those wiser than you who are trying to help.
9. People will make you feel embarrassed of your parents
When Maurice emerges from his home and tells the villagers that he saw a Beast, they laugh and mock him. There are people out there who are going to mock you. They'll laugh at you, and possibly not believe something you say, like the people who don't believe Maurice. I think Belle handles this well - I know we don't all have a magic mirror to prove things to other people - but what I mean is Belle always stuck by and defended her father, a man who works hard, is honest and is kind. She also defends him at the beginning of the film when Gaston and LeFou are laughing at Maurice - and this is what you should do too! If you have someone who loves you and treats you well, don't be embarrassed by them - be proud of them! Parents can be embarrassing, I know, but they don't mean it and sometimes they are just trying to make you smile.
10. You will meet "The One"
He/she might be less hairy than Beast, but you will meet The One and it'll probably happen when you least expect it. I'm sure Belle didn't expect to fall in love with Beast after he kept her prisoner. If you're boyfriend/girlfriend keeps you prisoner then I don't think they're the one because that's weird - but hopefully you know what I mean! My point is, Belle and Beast are the perfect couple because they would do anything for one another and love each other for who they are - and that's what you need to take from this: don't judge someone on their appearance, and love someone for their personality.
Some of these predictions may seem obvious to you, but imagine being a child watching this film, before life got complicated and you had responsibilities and had to learn to act like an adult... How helpful would this film have been? But, as a child you don't fully understand what's going on around you sometimes, and maybe the only reason I spotted these predictions now and not earlier was because I hadn't experienced them yet. A Disney movie, no matter how brilliant, can't stop you from getting your heart broken and making mistakes - but it can help you with life and teach you something incredibly valuable. I think that even if I did remember this movie well from childhood, I wouldn't have connected the dots and realized that I should listen to Belle, and Mrs. Potts, and even Gaston! But I hope it can help you, whether you have or haven't been through these experiences yet.
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