I don’t know about you, but when I watched “Jingle Jangle” for the first time, I thought to myself “I see you Netflix! It’s about time we got an American Christmas musical fantasy film starring all these beautiful Black actors.”
The second thing I thought was, “Woah, this movie is packed with life lessons,” and many of them can be applied to the way we practice mental health.
Here’s what I saw. Digest it as a little food for thought. Take another look at the movie someday and let us know if you see some of the same things:
At this point, if you have not seen the movie, stop what you’re doing, download Netflix and go watch. Otherwise, none of the following will make a lick of sense! K, thanks!
After Gustafson robs Jeronicus of the final component needed to complete his latest invention, Jeronicus spirals into a long spell of grief and depression. Further intensifying his grief, Jeronicus’ wife dies, causing him to grow distant from his daughter who matures and moves away.
Reflect: Can you relate to Jeronicus? Has there ever been a time in your life where you felt like falling into a 30-year hibernation? It’s okay, we’ve all been there. Make sure you’re embodying healthy self-talk and maintaining a healthy perspective of your life and where you should be.
Equipped with Jeronicus’ secret ingredient, Gustafon goes on to start his own toy factory and enjoys all the fruits of his teacher’s labor. Jeronicus is left alone watching Gustafon receive all the glory.
Reflect: Have you ever looked at someone and felt like the roles should be reversed? Maybe you feel like they’re receiving the fruits of labor you’ve also put in. That’s perfectly normal. A helpful way to combat these feelings is through gratitude. Practicing gratitude helps put all of life’s ills into perspective. Are you really losing while everyone else is winning, or are there plenty of things happening all around you? Try a gratitude practice and let us know how you feel.
Jeronicus’ grief pushes him further into a pattern of isolation. As helpful characters come in, Jeronicus pushes them out as if he is unworthy and ashamed.
Reflect: When we think things are bad, we sometimes shut out people who are there to help us. Make sure the boundaries you’ve set are healthy and accretive to your mental health. Evaluate the positive reinforcers in your life and make sure you do your best to nurture them.
30 years have gone by and Jeronicus has seemingly given up on his dreams of being an inventor and becomes a struggling pawnbroker. He often scolds anyone who calls him an inventor.
Reflect: Failure can be a beast, but you can’t let it trick you into thinking you’re undeserving of your dreams. Like Jeronicus, you might not be where you want to be based on outside factors out of your control. Focus on what you can control: being a better person each day. That is your superpower.
As the deceit behind Gustason’s betrayal is revealed at the end of the film, Jeronicus reminds his former apprentice that if he had only waited, he would not have had to steal his precious invention guidelines. Here, Jeronicus implies that he would have shared it with him when he was ready and if he had only been more patient.
Reflect: You might be reading all this thinking; all of these tips are already things you work to employ in your every day life. First; kudos to you and second; maybe you’re still not seeing positive results and it’s impacting your mental health and that’s frustrating.
Stop. Breathe and don’t let impatience rob you of all the life out there that’s still to be lived. Focus on what the universe is trying to tell you in this moment. Do your best to learn from it.