I just watched “Beauty and The Beast” for the first time this past week. (*gasp*)

I was pleasantly surprised to see it on Netflix- mostly surprised because I thought it had just come out, like a couple weeks ago. That’s how behind on world trends I am, guys. After I excitedly yelled out to my husband that, “‘Beauty and the Beast’ is ALREADY on Netflix,” he updated me and let me know it actually came out a while ago.

So, anyways…I made him sit down and watch it with me & realized that all the hype (ya know, “these past couple weeks”) about it was actually pretty well deserved. It also had a lot of great (somewhat hidden) lessons in it that made me think.

I’m the type that pulls meaning out of everything. I mean, seriously, I’ll be washing the dishes and I’ll think about how much I hate that there are so many dirty dishes but that I need to appreciate that I even have dishes. I know, that’s not even deep in any way, but it’s just the way my brain works. I just like to think (and overthink) and make everything a sappy life lesson.

So, as I sat & watched this magical Disney film, my brain was filled with lessons on life, love, and family. It didn’t occur to me until this morning that those little lessons I found in the film would actually make a great blog post (or, at least, I hope somebody will find some inspiration in it), so here you have it- a blog post on what I learned while being ten years late to watching “Beauty and the Beast”

1. It’s okay to be odd- stop caring what people think of you.

Belle doesn’t give a flying hoot about what her ignorant & shallow town thinks of her.

I mean, really, just listen to how much they criticize Belle as she continues to stride along in confidence, reading her books, and remaining kind & friendly to everyone, despite their disapproval of her.

Look, there she goes, that girl is strange, no question.

Never part of any crowd, cause her heads up on some cloud.

No denying, she’s a funny girl, that Belle.

Look, there she goes, that girl is so peculiar. 

I wonder if she’s feeling well.

With a dreamy, far-off look, and her nose stuck in a book, what a puzzle to the rest of us is Belle.

But behind that fair facade, I’m afraid she’s rather odd.

2. Simply saying, “no,” is a suitable explanation and should not make you feel guilty.

Gaston– “Shall I join you this evening?”

Belle– “Sorry, not this evening.”

Gaston– “Busy?”

Belle– “No…”

& then she walks off without feeling an ounce of guilt!

Oh, Belle. You’re my hero.

For someone who can be a real pushover, this is something I desperately need to learn. Learning how to do this (and learning that it’s more than okay to do) would have done me a world of good when I was dating, but it can be applied to so many other aspects of life as well.

Belle’s ability to simply say, “no,” without feeling bad about it should be a reminder to all of us that it’s okay to say, “no,” and that it’s okay to do so without giving an explanation. I mean, yes, sometimes it’s kind to at-least explain to someone why you’re saying rejecting them (or their suggestion, idea, proposal, etc.), but there are times when you don’t owe anyone an explanation- like when they’re guilting you or trying to get you to do something you don’t feel comfortable with (or something you simply don’t want to do.)

3. Being popular among “the ladies” (or with “the men”) doesn’t mean you’re a good guy (or girl).

Gaston is the ultimate manipulative self-centered pig that could easily be mistaken as “the good guy.”

He brings Belle flowers (so he’s a gentleman, right?) (Oh, I could write a gazillion page article on how doing “gentlemanly” things DOES NOT make someone a good person.)

He’s good at seeming thoughtful: “Good morning, Belle! Wonderful book you’ve got there.”

He’s well-liked by the townspeople: “There’s no man in town as admired as you. You’re everyones favorite guy. Everyone’s awed and inspired by you and it’s not very hard to see why.”

And…he paints himself as a helpful and caring hero: “It’s hero time.” 

We know his real character from the beginning of the movie because we see his side commentary with LeFou (and with himself), and he’s clearly displayed as the charming yet manipulative villain, but my question is…why do we so often get deceived (just as the townspeople are) and end up thinking so highly of these real-life characters in our lives?

You know, the popular girl that gives the best compliments and is admired by every girl (and guy) but who, in reality, is self-centered, shallow, and cares more about her Instagram following and her image than her family or anyone else in the world?

Or that guy back in the day who was a charmer and was admired by everyone, even parents and adults, but who could care less about hurting a girls feelings?

Why do we so easily mistake charm and a friendly outgoing nature with genuine character?

It seems that Belle (the one in town who, on the other hand, is looked down upon by the town) is the only one who can see through his manipulative nature. Oh Belle, you’re my hero.

4. Our world needs more kindness.

With all the hoopla about there being a “gay scene” in the movie, I thought there was literally going to be a gay scene…like a scene…with gay people or a gay moment or a gay couple or something.

After the movie, my husband and I looked at each other and were like, “Wait, where was the gay scene?”

Okay, yes. I know there was a moment when LeFou longingly looks at Gaston (I think there was? It was so quick, I couldn’t even tell…) and there were a few song lyrics that may have hinted towards feelings of same-sex attraction, but seriously!?

After the movie ended, I felt so saddened by the fact that people actually got upset by a Disney movie depicting the real-life emotions of millions of people on our earth. They actually thought it was inconvenient or unnecessary to include scenes that didn’t depict a world in which everyone had the same (widely accepted and understood) feelings of “opposite-sex” attraction as them.

Instead of thinking, “Wow, I’m glad they included some scenes in here that might make the millions of people who have same-sex attractions feel more included and understood,” they thought it was inconvenient and unnecessary and, perhaps, even immoral.

Refraining from this kind of judgement doesn’t even have to be your way of expressing your approval of gay marriage or of gay relationships. It simply means you aknowledge that there are people who are different from you and they’re valuable people with feelings, who have every right to be included in Disney movies (and in life) as you do.

I could go on (and on and on) about this topic, but instead I’ll just leave this point on kindness with a simple video that I think might help some people who have trouble with mistaking judgement as a good quality, instead of kindness.

Instead of contributing to a culture that leads people to feeling so alone that many of them even consider suicide (or even commit suicide- think of the extremely high numbers of suicides in Utah), contribute to changing the culture with love and understanding, like Jessyca’s aunt did.

“The greatest help that I received was from my aunt. She talked to me almost daily and every single day she would just listen and she would never give me any advice. She would never do anything like that. All she would say to me is, ‘I love you.’ She said, “I love you no matter what you choose to do.” She was trying the best she could to understand. She would ask me deep questions. She would ask me what it was like to have these attractions and I felt that she cared and I knew that she cared.”

This whole “gay scene” debacle with “Beauty and the Beast” has taught me that it’s easier for people to judge. It’s easier for people to conform to the people around them who place more importance on their supossed moral superiority and differences with others than on loving people.

I urge you to step outside of your comfort zone and truly think about the feelings of others. Think about what other people are going through- be a truly kind person with true moral standards.

5. Don’t settle for a beast.

This point, again, wasn’t something I learned from the movie, but was an insight I got while watching the movie.

Beauty and the Beast ROCKS, but some parts utterly confused me.

How could Belle, being the strong and wise women she is, fall so easily for someone with such a giant temper?

Yes, breaking and entering is not really acceptable behavior, Maurice (I’m talking to Belle’s dad in case you didn’t catch that), but the beast didn’t even try to understand his situation…

And he yells about any minor inconvenience! I know, I know. He’s been locked up as a beast all of those years and that would drive anybody bat shnaz crazy, but shouldn’t he have at least changed a little since he days of being a prideful jerk? Shouldn’t he have at least learned to be less selfish and more understanding of the less fortunate?

Don’t get me wrong, I think the lesson of loving people for who they are on the inside is soooo important, but he’s ugly on the inside and the outside! Should we really be teaching young girls and boys to love people who are jerks (but only if they’re ugly jerks)?

Belle isn’t perfect (okay, well she does appear to be perfect, but I’m sure she isn’t- I mean, if this were real life…) but I didn’t see her punching doors and throwing people around and stampeding around angrily when she didn’t get her way.

Maybe I’m just crazy. I mean, the tea cups defended him and said he has his good moments. I just didn’t really see them (until he was smitten with infatuation for Belle.) But please, by all means, let me know if I’m totally off!

But in my opinion, don’t ever (ever ever) settle for someone controlling who has a temper and doesn’t know how to control his actions (and then excuses himself because he’s ugly- jk). Don’t even settle for someone who treats you well but seems to treat everyone else poorly (because eventually he’ll end up treating you poorly as well). And especially don’t settle for someone who you’re scared of, even if he only scares you some of the time. Just don’t ever settle! Okay? Disney is great but they needs a little help with their messages sometimes.

Other than that, “Beauty and the Beast” was truly a delight to watch and was full ofwise lessons to be learned.

I would love to hear what you learned from the movie! Please leave your insights in the comments below.