Throughout your life, when you are having a hard or difficult time in life, your family or friends are always there to give you advice. They tell you about their experiences and how they have been changed, but sometimes it is hard to relate to their stories. I was one of those people. No matter what my friends or family tried to say to make me feel better or to teach me something in life, I never remembered it. However, what I did remember were the movies I watched as a kid, and even as I got older, those movies still spoke to me. Those movies…are the Disney movies. Yes, I do mean the animated movies that we all watched as kids. Don’t judge, those movies taught me the best lessons that not even my friends or family could teach me.

1. Challenge your creativity.

“Alice in Wonderland” was one of my all time favorites as a child because I wanted to live in her world, imaginary or not. However, the lesson I learned from “Alice in Wonderland” was not from the beloved Alice, it was from her father. He tells her to think of six impossible things before breakfast. Imagine if we all just thought of one and the problems we might be able to solve.

2. Follow your own path.

In “Pocahontas,” she must deal with the fact that she doesn’t really get to make her own choices, they are made for her. However, she puts a test on the barriers her culture has set up for her and does what she believes is right in this world. I know that for most of my life, I have had people tell me what to do and what to be, but the moment I stopped listening to them and did what I wanted to do, I began living a happier life.

3. When life gets hard, just keep swimming. 

“Finding Nemo” is one of those movies that once you watch it, you’re hooked. Not only is the storyline captivating, but its characters are too. Dory is one of my favorites, not only because of her humor, but also for the one thing she says: “Just keep swimming.” I’ve faced rough obstacles in my life and I’ve been to the point where I didn’t think I was going to make it. I just keep telling myself, “Just keep swimming, and everything is going to be okay.”

4. Enjoy every single moment.

In “Toy Story,” we start off with little Andy and his best friends, who are his toys Woody, Buzz and many others. Throughout the first movie and the next two, Andy starts to grow up, but he never forgets about his toys. He may try to, but he always comes back to them; even if he only picks them up for five seconds, he still shows his appreciation for them. In the second movie, Woody states that, “I can’t stop Andy from growing up… but I wouldn’t miss it for the world.” In life you’re going to wish time would hurry up, but don’t take it for granted. Enjoy those times, because once they are gone, you can never get them back.

5. Learn from the past, but don’t dwell on it.

No matter how old I get, “The Lion King” will always be my favorite movie. It is the only movie that makes me cry, smile, laugh, and get angry all in an hour and thirty minutes. It is also the one movie that holds the greatest life lessons. In my life, things have happened that I wish I could change. I haven’t always been the person I want to be and that has made me make some poor decisions. One day, as I was watching “The Lion King,” Rafiki (the monkey) tells Simba, “The past can hurt, but the way I see it, you can either run from it, or learn from it.” The moment I heard this, I thought that it was the answer to my problems. I could live out my entire life being angry for all the things in my past, but that isn’t going to help my happiness in my future. Thank you, Rafiki, for being the guidance I needed.