My daughter is four years old, and naturally Disney’s Frozen is a part of our daily existence. In fact, I’m listening to it now playing in the background and it’s inspired me to write about the things that Elsa, the young princess and Queen in the movie, teaches us about our inner emotional world. In fact, this movie is one of the greatest depictions of how our inner world works. So here are three things that Elsa illustrates for us in this brilliant movie.
1. Concealing our emotions is dangerous. Elsa spends years in her childhood trying to ‘stuff’ or conceal her emotions. She literally tried and tried for years to learn how to hide her feelings and emotions from the outside world and her parents reinforced this. This illustration is not far from the way we were raised as children. It’s not often that we were allowed full expression and validation of our feelings as children. Now this is not to fault any parents out there, as you’ll notice in the movie Frozen, Elsa’s parents were only trying to do what they thought was best for her.
However, the result is truly dangerous to not only Elsa, but to those around her. As a young woman, she frightened the people of her kingdom when she was forced to confront her emotions and her icy powers were released in an uncontrolled fashion. With no understanding of her own emotional state and no love to keep her stable, she was a danger to everyone. She had no idea how to handle her own emotions, let alone express them in a compassionate way. This is also something I see a lot. Many of us have trouble expressing our true emotions and when we are “backed into a corner” and fear or anger is driving our behavior, we often say and do things that hurt those we love and ourselves.
2. Hiding who we are isolates us and those we love. In the movie, Elsa is not allowed to just be herself after hurting Anna with her powers. She is forced to hide her gifts from not only the outside world, but from her beloved sister as well. She was afraid to play with Anna as a child because she needed to keep her powers a secret and so she hid away in her room, feeling misunderstood and isolated. She felt she didn’t have a voice since she couldn’t even let Anna know the real reason she was hiding away. Anna was abandoned and felt rejected by Elsa since she hid away instead of playing with her and being open with her like she used to. She didn’t understand why Elsa suddenly did not want to come out of her room and spend time with her.
In our lives, this is vulnerability. So many of us struggle with the roles we play in our lives. We often take on roles of expectation, meaning that we often act how others expect us to act instead of acting with integrity and true authenticity. The sad thing is that this doesn’t only happen when we’re around acquaintances or co-workers, this happens in our own homes with those we love. Like Elsa, we begin to hide who we truly are as we make “sacrifices” for those we love. We want to be there for them and show up as the person they “want” or the person we think we “should be” rather than the person we are. This is a problem over the long run. After a while, we start to become someone that we don’t even know anymore. We have breakdowns in our marriage because we haven’t been honest with ourselves or our spouses about what we truly want. We begin to feel isolated and misunderstood and our lives begin to fall apart.
The good news is that we can reverse this. The solution: well, it’s #3 – Love.
3. Love is the most powerful force on earth. This is the key message that we garner from this Disney tale. When she runs from the palace earlier in the movie (the infamous “Let It Go” scene), Elsa begins to explore who she really is by allowing herself to let go of the expectations of everyone else and let her creative powers take over. She creates an amazing ice palace, a beautiful ice gown and Olaf – who is alive! She didn’t even know what she was capable of until she took that first step within herself – that bold step to accept and love who she was deep down rather than rejecting herself and denying her own power. At the end of the movie, Elsa understands that love is the answer to controlling her powers and using them for good. Through an understanding of the amazing things that she is capable of, as well as the awareness of the dangers of her powers if misused, Elsa is able to balance the two with love. Also, we see how the act of true love by Anna to save Elsa at the end, melts Anna’s frozen heart. The act of love is greater than the protective force of ice that covered Anna’s heart and therefore mended the relationship and healed both Anna and Elsa.
For us, love truly is the most powerful force on the planet. When we are able to love ourselves in all our imperfections, we are also able to love others in all of theirs. We are not afraid to let our true personalities shine through and show the world how wonderful our gifts and talents are. When this is done from a space of genuine self-love and joy, people are attracted to us and want to spend time with us. And when we have so much love inside, we are able to give it freely. My favorite analogy for this is to imagine that we are all cups and we cannot tip. How can we share what’s inside of us with others? We would have to fill to overflowing. That’s what happens with love. Once you fill your cup to overflowing with love, it will pour out in abundance to others and you will find yourself surrounded with people who bring you joy and a life that puts a smile on your face each and every day.
So here’s to shining your light, sharing your gifts and showing up with love for everyone and everything in your life – including yourself. Elsa teaches us so many things about how we react to our emotions in a dangerous way and how we can mend that with a little love.