Over the Christmas holidays, our two-year-old granddaughter watched the movie “Frozen” for the first time. She had heard most of the songs dozens of times already, but we did not expect that the movie would be able to hold her attention. We were shocked! This two-year-old was mesmerized and often sang the lyrics along with Elsa (the Idina Menzel character). We had no idea!
I had never really paid much attention to the movie or the songs. I “googled” the lyrics so I could understand what our young granddaughter was memorizing. What I learned alarmed me!
It is almost impossible to escape the movie “Frozen.” And the song “Let It Go” seems to be floating in the air almost everywhere. The orchestration and the voice of Idina Menzel are powerful and the force of the words make us tend to accept what is said without consideration for what it might be teaching us (or our children or grandchildren).
Although the end of the movie does show the consequences that Elsa must experience when she lives by the words to “Let It Go,” many young minds absorb the lyrics of this song without realizing that much of what Elsa endured was because of this perspective.
Let’s take a moment to look at several of the lyrics and apply them to our own lives. The independence and “power” sung by Else might not be as positive as we initially think.
Conceal, Don’t Feel
In the movie, Elsa spent most of her childhood and all of her adolescent and adult life in isolation. She learned to protect herself from others and what they might think of her “gift.”
Don’t let them in, don’t let them see.
Be the good girl you always have to be.
Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know.
These lyrics certainly seem to make sense at first glance.
Principle #1: We are Created for Relationships
What is it that prevents us from being open and honest with others – even our spouse and children? It often seems safer to ignore or to reject our relationships with others. When did we learn this and why?
When we are hurt by others or experience a trauma or emotional event — especially during our childhood and pre-teen years – we need a “go to” person that is safe, accepting, and someone we know has our best interests at heart.
If we receive comfort from this person (hopefully one of our parents), we learn that it “feels better” to talk to someone. We learn that we can expect that this very risky, vulnerable conversation can be positive. So as adults we tend to find someone with whom we can share both our hurts and joys.
When we marry, we want to be able to risk these conversations with our spouse. We hope that our spouse will also be safe, accepting, and want the best for us.
BUT . . . if for many of us, we (or our spouse) found that our parents often did not have time to listen to our worries, hurts, concerns. Or perhaps they listened, but minimized how we felt and simply gave us solutions. We learn that there is no one that values us enough to listen, really listen, and accept our emotions as they are – no matter how childish or “insignificant” they might be to someone in the adult world.
After a while, we decide that it is better to try and think through the problems ourselves or simply to ignore what has happened to us.
The result is that we “Conceal, don’t feel.” This is a formula for unhappiness and prevents us from truly experiencing relationships that God intends – especially with our spouse.
Principle #2: We Often Isolate Ourselves from Others for Our Own Protection
It’s funny how some distance,
makes everything seem small.
And the fears that once controlled me, can’t get to me at all
We create distance (both physical and emotional) from others to protect ourselves from how we feel when they hurt us. None of us like to feel fearful. The fear can sometimes control us. So we learn how to cope with the fear. And the way we cope certainly “works” for a while.
Principle #3: Often shutting off our fears, results in anger.
Let it go, let it go!
Can’t hold it back any more.
Let it go, let it go!
Turn away and slam the door.
I don’t care what they’re going to say.
Let the storm rage on.
The cold never bothered me anyway.
At some point, our frustration, anger, isolation and fears overflow. They can cause us to lash out at others – especially those we love the most.
Anger is almost always a result of some other emotion. Anger is often motivated by the desire to push others away. And we are usually successful.
Anger shows power. We often view fear, betrayal, hurt, sorrow, sadness as “weak.” But in order for us to truly connect with others – especially our spouse – we need to be willing to take the risk.
Principle #4: This “Freedom” that isolation brings is a counterfeit.
No right, no wrong, no rules for me.
Let it go, let it go.
I am one with the wind and sky.
Let it go, let it go.
You’ll never see me cry.
Here I’ll stand, and here I’ll stay.
Let the storm rage on.
Elsa seeks freedom from everything that causes her pain. But just the opposite happens. She becomes her own prisoner.
Although it is a positive trait that Elsa is accepting who she is, she is also telling the world “I do not need you.” She is saying “This is me. I am not independent and can live life with no one.” But she is not willing to accept the fact that she has something missing.
For us, our own circumstances are often not so obvious. We know that our relationship with our spouse is “not what we expected,” but we do not know what to do about it. We only know that we don’t like how it makes us feel when we argue or “agree to disagree.”
What Can Do I Do About It ?
In our marriage relationships, we often become Frozen and reach an impasse. Sometimes after only months, sometimes after years.
We often become prisoners of the patterns we have developed. What is needed is an environment in which we can begin to “test the waters” with our spouse so we can change these patterns. But often we do not know where to start.
By working with a priest, pastor, rabbi, or counselor, you and your spouse can begin to understand what is preventing you from the taking the risks for the type of relationship you long for.
Steve Fox is a National Certified Counselor and Counselor Intern, specializing in helping others to discover how to improve or repair their marriage and other relationships.
After working as a Chemical Engineer for 36 years, Steve took early retirement in order to follow his passion and focus on counseling as his second career. He also helps others begin to “dream” about what will help them become fulfilled in their career and life. Steve earned an MA in Counseling from LSU and is now a Counselor Intern with Crossroads. He has worked with couples on a ministry basis for over 20 years and has a counseling focus with couples, families, career coaching, and addiction counseling with families.
Steve’s complete bio can be found here.