10 Things I Learned From Disney’s Maleficent

1. Love hurts and heals.

Those we love hold the key to our heart and, because of this, they are the ones capable of breaking it, too. A stranger cannot hurt us because they have not been granted access to that sacred place in which we are soft and fragile. Inversely, those who love us are also the ones who can help us heal when we lay broken.

Loved ones can cause a pain so great it brings us down mid-flight, leaving us feeling as if we have been stripped of our wings (which is literally what Stefan did to Maleficent), but they can also soothe us in such a manner that they restore our ability to fly and truly lift us up to the place where we belong (Aurora’s role in Maleficent’s life).

Likewise, great is the power we hold over those who love us and who have entrusted us with their hearts. With great power comes great responsibility; we need to use it wisely.

2. Those who act out of spite are capable of anything.

They can even curse what is beautiful and pure, so be wary of how you treat others. We never know how the consequences of our actions will come back at us or who will end up paying for them. Even an innocent third party can wind up suffering: Stefan hurt Maleficent; Maleficent then hurt Aurora.

This also means that even if our emotions cannot be controlled, we always have the ability of keeping them in check and the freedom of choosing to act upon those feelings or not. There is a huge difference between allowing ourselves to feel our pain (a necessary trip that can take us to hell and back, but that constitutes the first step to letting go and healing), talking about and communicating our hurt to others; and acting out emotionally. Pain can make us bitter, which is the easier way to go, or better, which is the high road, a very difficult one for that, and which requires plenty of resilience and courage.

3. Our wrongdoings have an entity of their own.

Once the damage is done, no amount of regret will be able to restore what we have broken. Maleficent was not able to take her curse back because the evil we spread is irreversible.

4. Guilt can drive you crazy.

If you stand back and do nothing when you wrong someone, if you lock yourself up in a cage of your own making and don’t reach out to those you have hurt, then like Stefan you will have thrown yourself into the pits of your own personal hell. Guilt will make you paranoid; like Edgar Allan Poe warned us in “The Tell-Tale Heart,” the perfect crime does not exist, because our conscience eats us up, and because we know, deep down, that our actions always have consequences. Instead of drowning in guilt, we need to let go of our pride and seek forgiveness and redemption.

5. Only love can redeem us.

Even if we can’t undo the havoc we’ve wreaked, even if we can’t go back in time and fix what we have broken, we can, like Maleficent, carry out new and separate acts of love to make up for what we did. Love is the only path to forgiving (and saving) ourselves.

6. There is no such thing as love at first sight.

At long last, Disney is sending out the right message, after years of telling us that you can meet a person and fall totally and completely in love in a matter of mere seconds. You can claim to be attracted to a person you have just met, but this is something that cannot be confused with love, although it can constitute a stepping stone towards it.

The Prince’s kiss did not work because love is never a spur of the moment thing. Love develops with time, and comes from knowing the other person, of gazing into their souls, not just their pretty faces.

7. Sometimes those who love us the most are those who do so from behind the shadows.

Acts of love come in different shapes and sizes, like the people who carry them out. Many times we are loved by someone who is behind the scenes, who isn’t in the spotlight, who doesn’t take credit, but nonetheless guides us and cares for us. As we grow, it is important to learn to recognize these invisible hands, this blessing, and be grateful for it.

8. There is always a backstory.

Don’t believe everything you’re told. Apparently, neither Maleficent, Professor Snape, nor the Wicked Witch of the West were as evil as we originally thought. We never know the true extension of the tales that have been disclosed to us. Even our eyesight isn’t perfect; it is just as flawed and biased as us. We should avoid passing judgment altogether.

9. Like Maleficent, all of us are both villain and hero.

The world is not divided between those who are good and those who are evil. Both forces are residing and fighting constantly inside all of us. In the end, what defines us is not our dark side (something we need to accept and embrace because it is a part of who we are), but our choices.

10. Love is all

Love sheds its light even in the most impenetrable darkness of the wildest moors. It brings down barriers and unites divided kingdoms; it breaks the walls we have built around our hearts and unites us with others. Love is magical; love is miraculous. Love is the only chance we get at happiness. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

featured image – Disney’s Malificent/YouTube

More From Thought Catalog