Savannah Martin
Updated Mar 12, 2015 @ 10:14 am

It’s safe to assume that everyone has seen Disney’s classic animated Cinderella. Who doesn’t love this beautiful fairytale? It’s a love story between a total underdog and a charming prince (see what I did there?). It has humorous shenanigans, courtesy of two “ugly” stepsisters. And, of course, there are all the adorable and oh-so-helpful little animals? Let’s not forget those catchy tunes, either — it’s not a Disney movie without songs about magic and love!

But what some people fail to see is the true greatness of the animated feature, and the lessons that everyone, from ages four to 84, can apply to their daily lives to make the whole world a better place. Skeptical? I get it. Disney princess movies have a bad rep when it comes to setting an example for how we should really live our real lives, but here are five lessons I think everyone can learn from Cinderella.

1. Pure kindness and love triumph over evil.

Remind me again, who won in Cinderella? Was it the terribly rude stepmother and her hateful daughters, or was it the kind-to-a-fault heroine? Cinderella might have been a little meek, but she conquered all at the end of the day because she believed in kindness. She remembered to stay good while everyone around her was bad. Remember when the stepsisters tore apart her beautiful pink dress, the one that originally belonged to her deceased mother? I don’t know about you, but I would have had a cow. Cinderella, though? She just stayed strong until she was alone, then she let out all the feels with a good cry. She didn’t let them win that battle! Her optimism and loving heart eventually overthrew the wickedness of her stepfamily.

2. The love you’re not looking for is perhaps the best love.

Cinderella is associated with romance and love, but she didn’t actually go to the ball to find herself some good lookin’ prince; she went so she could have fun and escape her personal prison. The whole love at first sight thing with the prince? That was just a coincidence. Sure, he’s handsome and charming and all, but Cinderella just wanted to go to the ball. While she certainly didn’t complain when she got a gorgeous new dress and makeover, a sweet ride, and the love of Prince Charming, she didn’t go searching for any of those, especially the prince. Now Cinderella and Prince Charming are arguably the most well known lovers in the world. It just goes to show the old saying is true and you really do find love when you least expect it.

3. Never stop dreaming.

“If you keep on believing, the dream that you wish will come true.” Cinderella HERSELF says this! Well, technically she sings it, but, in a Disney movie, doesn’t that just make it more true and important? Cinderella holds onto her dream of escaping the wrath of her despicable stepmother and stepsisters. She dreams that she’ll never have to do the chores they tell her to again; she dreams that she will be able to go to the ball; she dreams that she’ll just be able to leave the home she’s in. And she never loses faith — in the end, all of her dreams come true.

4. You have to work for those dreams!

This point and number 3 go hand in hand. I love fairytales just as much as the next girl, but you can’t sit around and wait forever, right? Cinderella didn’t get to the ball by chance. She got the opportunity to go because she deserved it. She worked hard and was kind and kept love in her heart. When her stepmother told her that she had to do a ridiculous amount of chores before she could even get ready for the ball, Cinderella didn’t fuss and whine about it. She quickly did it, even if it wasn’t fair. And even when she thought she was going to be allowed to go to the ball with her stepsisters, Cinderella realized she didn’t have anything to wear.

Most people would have simply thrown in the towel and decided not to go, but not Cinderella. She worked hard to make her own dress, and do all of those chores, too. In the end, it took a bit of magic to get Cinderella to the ball, but she really earned a little magic. She did everything she could on her own first to make her dreams come true.

5. Always have mice and birds make your clothing.

Okay, this one is hard for real teens to live by, but come on! That pink dress of hers? It’s a masterpiece! If mice and birds did this kind of stuff in real life, no one would ever call an exterminator again. They even help Cinderella get ready and wake up in the morning — what a way to live!

Cinderella really is more than just a pretty face. While she is gorgeous, she’s also a kindhearted, gentle, calm woman with more grace than both of her stepsisters combined. She works hard, whether she’s doing something she wants to do or something she’s forced to do. She’s optimistic, even in her darkest hours, but that doesn’t mean that she’s not afraid to cry. As the movie so dearly states; “Cinderella, you’re as lovely as your name.” I, for one, think there’s a lot to learn from this classic.

(Images via here, here, here, here, and here.)