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The 16 Most Inspirational Songs from Animated Movies

The 16 Most Inspirational Songs from Animated Movies

I love movies. I love music. But I especially love both when I am moved by them. When they force me to feel something. Those are the ones we remember. The ones we hold onto when we don’t have anything else. The ones that give us comfort, help us remember, and connect us in ways we couldn’t otherwise describe. We can all pick the latest Disney and Pixar movies to grab with the songs that make the charts or just become something so iconic that we will either love it or hate it forever. (Think “Let it Go” from Frozen or “Happy” from Despicable Me.)

However, some of the best songs have either been long forgotten or dismissed because they didn’t sell millions of downloads on iTunes. My playlist is a wide array of songs — I don’t stick to a particular genre. I pick what I am feeling or needing at that particular time. If I am getting ready to run, I need something different than when I am out for a casual stroll in my neighborhood. If I need something to just sing to (not very well, I might add), then who knows what I might find.

Being an adult doesn’t mean we should miss out on the “G” rated movies. Most often, even the animated films reflect real life through portraying struggles, guilt, and uncertainty. Often the characters in these movies are faced with decisions they only wish they could undo after the outcome is known, just like we often experience. Just as in life, there are times when we fail miserably and we achieve greatness too. Maybe that is why I never miss a new animated film — there just might be a hidden treasure buried somewhere in the soundtrack that I might fall in love with and need.

Songs capture those moments for us and attach a melody to it so that we can sing along. These songs are not in any particular order, but life just kind of works that way sometimes, too.

“Somewhere out There” – from “American Tail” (by Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram)

Sometimes, our lives takes us on journeys that keep us apart from the people we love the most and the best way to get through the days until we see them again is knowing that someone misses you. We feel them and the embrace of their love even though we are separated by miles. This song just comforts me when I am feeling a little lonely and even though our lives are busy and chaotic, I know I am loved. We can’t be everywhere, but our love can.

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“The Trail We Blaze” – from “The Road to El Dorado” (by Elton John)

Life is an adventure and this song reminds us to travel the road less traveled. To seek what is on the other side. To be excited and not held back by fear. To be discoverers of life. We might not always know what is at the end of the road and it may not lead us to the lost City of Gold, but that is not what really matters in the end.

Being a trailblazer means stepping way from the crowd and chasing a dream only we can see…it means starting the conversation…it means standing up when everyone else is sitting down. Every great change in the world was made possible because of someone who wasn’t confined by conformity and we should follow their lead and maybe cause a little ruckus ourselves!

“Here comes the Sun” – from “The Bee Movie” (by Sheryl Crow)

This song just makes us sing. It fills out hearts with happiness and we smile. On a cloudy day, we yearn for that great big orange glow in the sky and we rely on it to not only warm the planet, but it gives us hope. Things in life don’t always go the way we would like and disappointment might be waiting just around the corner, but this song makes me believe, hold on and stay strong. It reminds us that life is always full of change.

“Someone’s Waiting for You” – from “The Rescuers (by Lea Salonga)

https://youtu.be/McWN59YwIn4

Through our travels, life and our wanderings, we sometimes find ourselves lost, unable to find our way back home. It’s easy to believe that we can be so easily forgotten — but who’s to say that no matter how long it takes, no matter the reason why you left, that you wouldn’t be greeted with open arms and loved even more? At times, we feel the need to see what else is out there and without realizing what we are doing, we walk away from the one thing we took for granted. In our lifetime, we meet very few people who will do anything and everything to be there for you…never take them for granted.

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“Here I Am” – from “Spirit, the Stallion of the Cimarron” (by Bryan Adams)

There is no greater song about being true to ourselves and what we want than this ballad. In it, I find comfort in knowing that being vulnerable, chasing what seems just out of reach, and knowing who I am is more valuable than anything. We can lose possessions and fall on our faces, but if we don’t know who we are or what we believe in, then nothing else matters. If we don’t know who we are, what’s the point of being alive? This song reminds me to stop hiding behind everything that scares me and to trust in the freedom that comes with the truth found in our essence and soul.

“Hakuna Matata” – from “The Lion King (by Nathan Lane, Ernie Sabella, Jason Weaver, & Joseph Williams)

With life full of chaotic and busy moments, sometimes the best thing we can do is to just stop worrying about everything. We exert a lot of energy and time holding onto scenarios that may never come to be. It doesn’t mean the craziness goes away, it just means we need to step away from it for a while. It’s our little mini vacation. Our escape. Sure, we know the “real” world is still out there, but sometimes our philosophy has to be “one day at a time” and that whatever we don’t know now we will figure out when we need to later. Make it your motto and get through each day.

“Around the Riverbend” – from “Pocahontas” (by Arielle Jacobs)

We have this sense of adventure that excites us and even if we don’t know what happens next, fear won’t keep us from doing what thrills us and what moves us. Staying in the same place is not an option and pushing the envelope is always where our agenda lies. Our endless curiosity to see what’s out there and how we can interact with it is how we cheat the staleness of an otherwise boring existence. We break a few rules along the way and see things from a different perspective, allowing our minds to grow in ways we might have missed otherwise. Go ahead…take a peak. It just might be everything you have ever desired.

“You’ve Got a Friend in Me” – from “Toy Story” (by Randy Newman)

No matter who we are, we all need friends. Not just the kind of friends who show up when they need something or when it’s convenient, but the ones who will do anything and everything for us. They are committed to your friendship and need you as much as you need them. You may not always see eye to eye and you may say things you might regret later, but when it comes down to it, you’ve got each other’s backs. No matter what. Through thick and thin. When it is all said and done, a man is no better than the friends he has and the friendship he gives.

“Why Should I Worry?” – from “Oliver & Company” (by Billy Joel)

No matter where we come from or how much we know, we cannot always plan out life. We will need to adapt to the ever changing landscape, the pitfalls and roadblocks that come our way and improvise when needed. No one has a “blueprint” of life and no book will teach us “what to expect”, but we somehow know that carrying worry and uncertainty is not how living our best life should be. Walking tall and confident through life will teach us to be strong and courageous when things don’t go our way. Even if we don’t have every answer for every question, we can still act like we do.

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“You’ll be in My Heart” – from “Tarzan (by Phil Collins)

Having three sons of my own and sending the last one off to college last year, this song was one of many that made me happy and sad at the same time. A mother’s love never leaves and it is love that cannot be forgotten or misplaced — no matter how far a child travels. Sometimes, our family is not the one we were born into, but the people we connect with and love without boundaries. Our loved ones never go a day without feeling our love and when the moments you have together are short or never seem to be enough, let them know this…you are always in my heart, closer than you could ever imagine.

“Reflection” – from “Mulan (by Lea Salonga)

Who didn’t have parents direct us towards a career or college choice? Who thought they had to be someone they really weren’t, but followed the path that had been paved for them because it was easier? If our main goal in life is to be happy, then the ones who love us most should want that most for us too. Sometimes, we don’t know who we are yet and only in traveling through life do we truly find ourselves. Never be afraid to look yourself in the mirror and see what is within your heart and soul. Letting people see the “real” you may be a little scary, but it is something we never forget — in that moment, we can’t hold back any longer. We just are who we were born to be.

“When You Believe” – from “The Prince of Egypt (by Mariah Carey)

https://youtu.be/shtvXvpKicc

I didn’t know the power behind a single belief until it happened to me. I didn’t understand how one thought could change everything…how it convinces you that everything you cannot see or touch still matters. You may be pulled in a direction you almost cannot share, but being afraid isn’t an option. Miracles happen and show us all that no matter where we come from, what has happened to us, that sometimes, life gives us moments that change us forever. It is not about what we know or how far we went in school, but real power comes when you believe — because anything is possible. 

“Little Wonders” – from “Meet the Robinsons” (by Rob Thomas)

As we look back on life, we can pick out the really bad parts that we wish we’d never lived. Every day, we are exposed to tiny, seemingly insignificant moments that keep us grounded in ways the large ones won’t. Most of us are too busy to pay attention to anything other than what is directly in front of us. Every once in a while, what seems like a wrong turn actually leads us to exactly where we were meant to be all along. Never be so busy in life that you miss the little wonders that become really big memories.

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“Feel the Light” – from “Home” (by Jennifer Lopez)

Sometimes, life grabs our hand and shoves us into circumstances we don’t want and falling down into a crumpled mess serves its purpose well. Every emotion we try so desperately to hide comes rushing to the surface and we stop caring about what matters most. We stumble. We lose our way. We give up. This song gives me hope in the places I never think to look and it confirms that love is the greatest of all things. We all make choices and then feel like we have to live with them forever. But that’s not true…we can make changes, even if it isn’t what others would do. A true friendship will make its rounds through the life, but in the end, it always finds itself back “home.” Sometimes, you just have to fight for it again.

“God help the Outcasts” – from “The Hunchback from Notre Dame” (by Bette Midler)

None of us really fit in. We are all different, yet we strive to confirm to the crowd and the norms that society has created for us. Some days, we don’t know where to go, we have no answers, and we feel alone. Maybe we believe that no one else will really understand what we are feeling or we are afraid to really be that vulnerable with someone. Honestly, we don’t even know what we need, but we seem to lose that sense of selfishness when we give unconditionally to others, knowing that the fight is a good one. We strive to be more passionate and generous to those who have less. We want to ease the suffering of those who are bullied, made fun of, and dismissed as insignificant. From time to time, we all need to be reminded of our differences and celebrate them together instead.

“The Rainbow Connection” – from “The Muppet Movie” (by Kermit the Frog)

OK, you caught me. This isn’t really an animated movie, but I grew up watching “The Muppets” every Sunday night at 7pm and needed to remind us all that rainbows only come after the rain. Life can bring its storms and although we don’t know how long it will last, we know that the sun will come out tomorrow (that might be from another movie..) and we can once again, see light. Not because we believe there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but because there is a little bit of magic held in the way the light reflects off those drops of water. This song reminds me to believe in the power of a dream and why each one means something to its owner. We still wish on stars, we still search the skies for answers, and we still love to sing this song.

Conclusion:

The best soundtracks come with a great score and receive many awards, but as much as achieving those accolades matter, sometimes, the best melodies and words strung together are hidden behind something a little less “human.” The basic principle of cartoons succeeding in expressing human emotion can be difficult to achieve without music. Some of these songs will collect dust and be forgotten and just be listed as a track on a CD. Just because a high profile actor or actress isn’t providing the voice for a main character doesn’t mean the film is worthless. Most often, the hidden gems are the ones we have to find for ourselves.

Life is about living and every challenge and opportunity that comes with it. Some days are easier than others. Some come with questions while others provide answers. We also find hope, curiosity, and love in the moments we capture in life as we chase our dreams and find great friends along the way, too. Let these songs become your new favorite playlist and when you get a chance, maybe watch the movie too.

Featured photo credit: Oscar Keys via unsplash.com

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Michelle A. Homme

Author, Speaker, Quote Writer, Empowerment Coach

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Last Updated on October 22, 2020

8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

How would you feel if you were sharing a personal story and noticed that the person to whom you were speaking wasn’t really listening? You probably wouldn’t be too thrilled.

Unfortunately, that is the case for many people. Most individuals are not good listeners. They are good pretenders. The thing is, true listening requires work—more work than people are willing to invest. Quality conversation is about “give and take.” Most people, however, want to just give—their words, that is. Being on the receiving end as the listener may seem boring, but it’s essential.

When you are attending to someone and paying attention to what they’re saying, it’s a sign of caring and respect. The hitch is that attending requires an act of will, which sometimes goes against what our minds naturally do—roaming around aimlessly and thinking about whatnot, instead of listening—the greatest act of thoughtfulness.

Without active listening, people often feel unheard and unacknowledged. That’s why it’s important for everyone to learn how to be a better listener.

What Makes People Poor Listeners?

Good listening skills can be learned, but first, let’s take a look at some of the things that you might be doing that makes you a poor listener.

1. You Want to Talk to Yourself

Well, who doesn’t? We all have something to say, right? But when you are looking at someone pretending to be listening while, all along, they’re mentally planning all the amazing things they’re going to say, it is a disservice to the speaker.

Yes, maybe what the other person is saying is not the most exciting thing in the world. Still, they deserve to be heard. You always have the ability to steer the conversation in another direction by asking questions.

It’s okay to want to talk. It’s normal, even. Keep in mind, however, that when your turn does come around, you’ll want someone to listen to you.

2. You Disagree With What Is Being Said

This is another thing that makes you an inadequate listener—hearing something with which you disagree with and immediately tuning out. Then, you lie in wait so you can tell the speaker how wrong they are. You’re eager to make your point and prove the speaker wrong. You think that once you speak your “truth,” others will know how mistaken the speaker is, thank you for setting them straight, and encourage you to elaborate on what you have to say. Dream on.

Disagreeing with your speaker, however frustrating that might be, is no reason to tune them out and ready yourself to spew your staggering rebuttal. By listening, you might actually glean an interesting nugget of information that you were previously unaware of.

3. You Are Doing Five Other Things While You’re “Listening”

It is impossible to listen to someone while you’re texting, reading, playing Sudoku, etc. But people do it all the time—I know I have.

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I’ve actually tried to balance my checkbook while pretending to listen to the person on the other line. It didn’t work. I had to keep asking, “what did you say?” I can only admit this now because I rarely do it anymore. With work, I’ve succeeded in becoming a better listener. It takes a great deal of concentration, but it’s certainly worth it.

If you’re truly going to listen, then you must: listen! M. Scott Peck, M.D., in his book The Road Less Travel, says, “you cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.” If you are too busy to actually listen, let the speaker know, and arrange for another time to talk. It’s simple as that!

4. You Appoint Yourself as Judge

While you’re “listening,” you decide that the speaker doesn’t know what they’re talking about. As the “expert,” you know more. So, what’s the point of even listening?

To you, the only sound you hear once you decide they’re wrong is, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!” But before you bang that gavel, just know you may not have all the necessary information. To do that, you’d have to really listen, wouldn’t you? Also, make sure you don’t judge someone by their accent, the way they sound, or the structure of their sentences.

My dad is nearly 91. His English is sometimes a little broken and hard to understand. People wrongly assume that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about—they’re quite mistaken. My dad is a highly intelligent man who has English as his second language. He knows what he’s saying and understands the language perfectly.

Keep that in mind when listening to a foreigner, or someone who perhaps has a difficult time putting their thoughts into words.

Now, you know some of the things that make for an inferior listener. If none of the items above resonate with you, great! You’re a better listener than most.

How To Be a Better Listener

For conversation’s sake, though, let’s just say that maybe you need some work in the listening department, and after reading this article, you make the decision to improve. What, then, are some of the things you need to do to make that happen? How can you be a better listener?

1. Pay Attention

A good listener is attentive. They’re not looking at their watch, phone, or thinking about their dinner plans. They’re focused and paying attention to what the other person is saying. This is called active listening.

According to Skills You Need, “active listening involves listening with all senses. As well as giving full attention to the speaker, it is important that the ‘active listener’ is also ‘seen’ to be listening—otherwise, the speaker may conclude that what they are talking about is uninteresting to the listener.”[1]

As I mentioned, it’s normal for the mind to wander. We’re human, after all. But a good listener will rein those thoughts back in as soon as they notice their attention waning.

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I want to note here that you can also “listen” to bodily cues. You can assume that if someone keeps looking at their watch or over their shoulder, their focus isn’t on the conversation. The key is to just pay attention.

2. Use Positive Body Language

You can infer a lot from a person’s body language. Are they interested, bored, or anxious?

A good listener’s body language is open. They lean forward and express curiosity in what is being said. Their facial expression is either smiling, showing concern, conveying empathy, etc. They’re letting the speaker know that they’re being heard.

People say things for a reason—they want some type of feedback. For example, you tell your spouse, “I had a really rough day!” and your husband continues to check his newsfeed while nodding his head. Not a good response.

But what if your husband were to look up with questioning eyes, put his phone down, and say, “Oh, no. What happened?” How would feel, then? The answer is obvious.

According to Alan Gurney,[2]

“An active listener pays full attention to the speaker and ensures they understand the information being delivered. You can’t be distracted by an incoming call or a Facebook status update. You have to be present and in the moment.

Body language is an important tool to ensure you do this. The correct body language makes you a better active listener and therefore more ‘open’ and receptive to what the speaker is saying. At the same time, it indicates that you are listening to them.”

3. Avoid Interrupting the Speaker

I am certain you wouldn’t want to be in the middle of a sentence only to see the other person holding up a finger or their mouth open, ready to step into your unfinished verbiage. It’s rude and causes anxiety. You would, more than likely, feel a need to rush what you’re saying just to finish your sentence.

Interrupting is a sign of disrespect. It is essentially saying, “what I have to say is much more important than what you’re saying.” When you interrupt the speaker, they feel frustrated, hurried, and unimportant.

Interrupting a speaker to agree, disagree, argue, etc., causes the speaker to lose track of what they are saying. It’s extremely frustrating. Whatever you have to say can wait until the other person is done.

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Be polite and wait your turn!

4. Ask Questions

Asking questions is one of the best ways to show you’re interested. If someone is telling you about their ski trip to Mammoth, don’t respond with, “that’s nice.” That would show a lack of interest and disrespect. Instead, you can ask, “how long have you been skiing?” “Did you find it difficult to learn?” “What was your favorite part of the trip?” etc. The person will think highly of you and consider you a great conversationalist just by you asking a few questions.

5. Just Listen

This may seem counterintuitive. When you’re conversing with someone, it’s usually back and forth. On occasion, all that is required of you is to listen, smile, or nod your head, and your speaker will feel like they’re really being heard and understood.

I once sat with a client for 45 minutes without saying a word. She came into my office in distress. I had her sit down, and then she started crying softly. I sat with her—that’s all I did. At the end of the session, she stood, told me she felt much better, and then left.

I have to admit that 45 minutes without saying a word was tough. But she didn’t need me to say anything. She needed a safe space in which she could emote without interruption, judgment, or me trying to “fix” something.

6. Remember and Follow Up

Part of being a great listener is remembering what the speaker has said to you, then following up with them.

For example, in a recent conversation you had with your co-worker Jacob, he told you that his wife had gotten a promotion and that they were contemplating moving to New York. The next time you run into Jacob, you may want to say, “Hey, Jacob! Whatever happened with your wife’s promotion?” At this point, Jacob will know you really heard what he said and that you’re interested to see how things turned out. What a gift!

According to new research, “people who ask questions, particularly follow-up questions, may become better managers, land better jobs, and even win second dates.”[3]

It’s so simple to show you care. Just remember a few facts and follow up on them. If you do this regularly, you will make more friends.

7. Keep Confidential Information Confidential

If you really want to be a better listener, listen with care. If what you’re hearing is confidential, keep it that way, no matter how tempting it might be to tell someone else, especially if you have friends in common. Being a good listener means being trustworthy and sensitive with shared information.

Whatever is told to you in confidence is not to be revealed. Assure your speaker that their information is safe with you. They will feel relieved that they have someone with whom they can share their burden without fear of it getting out.

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Keeping someone’s confidence helps to deepen your relationship. Also, “one of the most important elements of confidentiality is that it helps to build and develop trust. It potentially allows for the free flow of information between the client and worker and acknowledges that a client’s personal life and all the issues and problems that they have belong to them.”[4]

Be like a therapist: listen and withhold judgment.

NOTE: I must add here that while therapists keep everything in a session confidential, there are exceptions:

  1. If the client may be an immediate danger to himself or others.
  2. If the client is endangering a population that cannot protect itself, such as in the case of a child or elder abuse.

8. Maintain Eye Contact

When someone is talking, they are usually saying something they consider meaningful. They don’t want their listener reading a text, looking at their fingernails, or bending down to pet a pooch on the street. A speaker wants all eyes on them. It lets them know that what they’re saying has value.

Eye contact is very powerful. It can relay many things without anything being said. Currently, it’s more important than ever with the Covid-19 Pandemic. People can’t see your whole face, but they can definitely read your eyes.

By eye contact, I don’t mean a hard, creepy stare—just a gaze in the speaker’s direction will do. Make it a point the next time you’re in a conversation to maintain eye contact with your speaker. Avoid the temptation to look anywhere but at their face. I know it’s not easy, especially if you’re not interested in what they’re talking about. But as I said, you can redirect the conversation in a different direction or just let the person know you’ve got to get going.

Final Thoughts

Listening attentively will add to your connection with anyone in your life. Now, more than ever, when people are so disconnected due to smartphones and social media, listening skills are critical.

You can build better, more honest, and deeper relationships by simply being there, paying attention, and asking questions that make the speaker feel like what they have to say matters.

And isn’t that a great goal? To make people feel as if they matter? So, go out and start honing those listening skills. You’ve got two great ears. Now use them!

More Tips on How to Be a Better Listener

Featured photo credit: Joshua Rodriguez via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Skills You Need: Active Listening
[2] Filtered: Body language for active listening
[3] Forbes: People Will Like You More If You Start Asking Follow-up Questions
[4] TAFE NSW Sydney eLearning Moodle: Confidentiality

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