I know I'm not alone when I say that Robin Williams meant a lot to my childhood. There are an innumerable amount of things to be learned from the characters he created, and the time that he gave us while he was here on this earth. Looking back, some of the earliest lessons I learned about love came from the movies that Williams brought to life. Here are the four that have really stuck with me:
1) You can love someone who isn't right for you. - Mrs. Doubtfire
Despite the frustration that Miranda Hillard shows when her house is turned into a zoo (literally), by the end of the movie it's clear that she still cares about her quirky husband -- even though he might not have been the best choice for her as a long-term partner. As a kid, I had a ton of adults try to explain what divorce was to me, and why it happens -- but none of them did it anywhere near as well as Mrs. Doubtfire, who taught us that relationships don't always end because of a lack of love.
2) Be Yourself. - Aladdin
The Genie whispers this into Aladdin's ear while he's pretending to be a prince, in order to impress Princess Jasmine. If you had told the teenage me to just "be myself" and I'd win all the boys over, my response would have been just like Al's -- "Yeah right!" But through lots of trial and error, I've found the Genie's words to be true. Pretending to like a band or enjoy hiking in the great outdoors just to impress some guy never works out in the long run. There's someone out there who is going to love you regardless of your social status (or in my case, fear of bugs).
3) Love takes bravery. - Jumanji
Asking a pretty girl to play a board game with you takes a lot of guts -- especially if you're the shrimpy kid who gets beat up by bullies after school, like Alan Parrish. All relationships start because of a few seconds of bravery -- whether it's starting a conversation with stranger on a subway, or being the first to message a (potentially creepy) match on a dating app. You're here today because one of your parents was bold enough to make a first move. Are you really going to risk missing out on an adventure just because you're scared you'll be turned down?
4) Don't underestimate the power of an apology. - Flubber
In all fairness, Sara had every right to be mad at Professor Phillip Brainard for missing their wedding -- twice. Admitting that you're wrong, when you're wrong in a relationship can be hard to do. If you've messed up, fess up, and make sure you tell your significant other how much he or she means to you. It doesn't hurt to do this in a creative way either, like through your personal robot assistant (or maybe with some flowers).