At the end of each chapter in my book, The Next Happy: Let Go of The Life You Planned and Find a New Way Forward, I have a section called Movie Rx. I prescribe films to illustrate the key concepts of each chapter, e.g. "Watch Silver Linings Playbook and call me in the morning." The movie Frozen didn't make the cut, but there is a whole lot of "next happy" in this blockbuster film. Here are some elements (yes, that is a weather pun) that Frozen has to teach us about letting go and moving on:
1. Not feeling your feelings and locking yourself up out of shame is no good
Are you an Elsa? Do you feel like your sadness, anger or shame cause you to isolate? People who love you don't want you to lock yourself up and cut yourself off just because you are hurting, and if they do, then it is time to find some new friends. Elsa could have benefited from some therapy to help her deal with her feelings of sadness, shame, isolation, anger and destructiveness. If you feel like your feelings are too much and are making you isolate then it may be time to get some professional help.
2. Anna was sure that guy #1 was going to be the one; he wasn't
There were clues that Anna may have been ignoring about Hans, her true love, in order to make her dreams come true. She missed X, she looked right past Y, she completely ignored Z. We too can be wrong about what is going to make us happy. We want so much for the answer to be now, easy and immediate that we stop paying attention to the big red-flags that are flying at full staff. What obvious truth might you be ignoring about what will bring you happiness?
3. We might not fully understand the reasons we are not getting what we want
Anna was sure she knew exactly why Elsa was giving her the cold shoulder. In cognitive psychology we call this "mind reading" -- and it's not a good thing The truth is that Anna was wrong about her sister; Elsa's reasons for withdrawing wasn't what Anna imagined. You too may have a fully developed narrative why you aren't getting something you very much want, but like Anna, you may not be seeing the whole story.
4. Going through hard stuff is made easier by having people (or snowmen) you can turn to
As hard as it is to be vulnerable and share our pain, it helps to have people (or snowmen) to turn to. Isolation and withdrawing are common reactions in loss, but it can be incredibly healing and comforting to have someone we can share our pain with. The next time you feel the impulse to turn inward, try letting someone in.
5. Some dreams are simply self-destructive
Are your dreams as destructive as a snowman wishing for a tropical vacation? Olaf needs to let that dream go and he needs to do it fast. He needs to accept the reality, grieve the dream, look at why he wants that dream so darn much, and discover that what he really wants is the warmth of friendship. In time, I believe, if Olaf lets go of this destructive dream, he will find his next happy and it won't be in a tropical time zone.
6. Adele Mazim may be the best thing that ever happened to Idina Manzel
I am sure, in the moment, when John Travolta made the infamous introduction blunder at the Academy Awards and called Idina by a totally unrecognizable name, her publicist was not delighted. But there was a silver lining to this snafu: Idina Manzel became a household name. Yes, I am sure she would have anyway because of her glorious voice, but everyone instantaneously knew her name, even people who had never seen Wicked or Frozen. Some good things can come from what at first seemed like a loss. On this point, let me warn you that in real life, the turn-around time between disappointment and finding your silver lining may not be as fast. Be patient. Your silver lining is coming.
7. Letting go sounds better than giving up or quitting
If the song was called "Quit," it wouldn't have been such a hit.However, when we are letting go of something, it is likely that we are singing another song than Idina's Disney hit, perhaps something by Beck? Stop singing the Loser song and reframe it like this: if you are quitting something, you are letting go of something that isn't working for you. Sing it, sister!
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