What can the hit movie Trolls teach us about kindness and happiness and how is that like yoga? If you have kids or spend any amount of time around them, then you know the movie has been the “it” thing for the last few months. And why shouldn’t it be? The colors, the music, and the nostalgia for us oldies is too good to pass up!
In the movie, the princess Poppy, just like the other trolls, likes to sing, dance, and sing and dance. That is the culture of troll life. They spend their days being happy, spending time together, and they even have “hug time”. Trolls are the epitome of all that is cute, happy, and right with the world. Poppy and crew make it pretty clear that friendship and compassion make for healthy and happy hearts. Yoga is all about learning how to be a friend to ourselves, each other, and our planet.
When the story gets going, we see why kindness is important and how it contributes to our individual and collective happiness. After Poppy goes to save her friends, she encounters the creatures whose sole purpose in life is to be negative and unhappy – The Bergens. They take happiness through violence and not-so-nice dinner plates of trolls.The Bergens have long been told, and have long believed, that they cannot be happy unless they eat trolls! The only way, ever, without a doubt, is to eat trolls! Yikes! Since the village of Bergens, including the king (who has not ever eaten a troll), have been troll-less, they have been miserable. But throughout the movie, we see that their fixation is unhealthy for a number of reasons, not least of all that we cannot be truly happy at the expense of another’s. They were never happy-not even when they ate trolls. They live in a village of dull grey with no music, art, yoga, or love. One of the Bergens, Bridget (aka Lady GlitterSparkles), sees through this with a little help from her colorful and hairful friends! She loves the king and she loves her newfound friends who are “supposed” to be her enemies. She realizes how much fun she has roller skating, eating pizza, and having an awesome rainbow mane that is actually comprised of some pretty rad Trolls on her head! She smiles and laughs and is grateful to Poppy and crew.
Eventually, the end of the movie shows us that happiness cannot be given to us. No. We have to create our happiness and one of the only ways to do that is through loving people, showing them compassion when they differ from us and when they are like us, creating meaningful friendships, practicing kindness as often as possible, and being open to new things. Violence will never grant us happiness. We can’t have preconceived notions or prejudices that inhibit us from befriending people. We can’t have rigid ideas of happiness and think that there is one magic way to be happy. Happiness, like love, is an action.
Does it mean that we will always be “happy”? No. We will always have moments of sadness, some of us might struggle with it even more and we might need help-and that is okay! It doesn’t mean we are Bergens though. We choose to be mindful and honor what we need to do to stay healthfully happy. We choose happiness when we show compassion to ourselves (just as we would others) and get the care we need, whether that be professional help, a great song, or a yoga practice.