What I Learned About Love from Jim Carrey's Grinch

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If you are one of the lucky-unlucky participants of Tumblr or even just a participant in the internet community, then there is no doubt that you have noticed the somewhat unsettling fascination the community has taken towards the grinch. Originally published in 1957 by the author Dr. Suess, How the Grinch Stole Christmas has managed to work its way into pop culture’s heart and take on several adaptations of the work. In 1966, the first movie based on the pessimistic green Who took to TV screens in Chuck Jones and Ben Washam’s Dr. Suess’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas captured the hearts of children everywhere. When Jim Carrey’s adaptation graced my view, I was transfixed. This movie has become a staple in my childhood imagination, and still resonates with me to this day. Watching the movie over the past week with my boyfriend, quoting the movie on instinct, and laughing at the same jokes that have stolen a chuckle from me all of these years, I reflected on how the Grinch changed my outlook on love from an early age.

Though used as a humorous, somewhat condescending trope in the movie against those who’d rather spend time with themselves- the idea of prioritizing yourself is one that anyone must practice to have meaningful romantic and platonic relationships. As an introvert, I need HOURS to recharge from a long day at work and school (both of which require me to do some heavy interpersonal communication). My boyfriend, who’s a rather extroverted energized person himself seems to have reserves of social energy to spare and never seems to be tired of humanity in itself. Me however, I relate far more to the Grinch. After a date spent with him, I need several hours just to myself to recharge and restore my social energy. Through practicing prioritizing myself and my own time, I have been able to be more present in my relationships both romantically, and platonically.

Self-care is also important to practice whether you identify more as an extrovert, an introvert, or an ambivert. Learning to love yourself is one of the most precious things as a human beings, and one of the most important. You are stuck with your body for a lifetime, and if you can’t learn to love it- it would be a rather miserable existence. Though we know the Grinch was not one for loving who he was, “7:00, wrestle with self-loathing”, he was on track with his (arguably obsessive) self care routine that included dinner with himself, “jazzercise”, and pondering the solution to world hunger. Just like you or me, the Grinch is definitely not the pinnacle of “self-care” but he’s trying, and the fact that he makes such an effort to spend time with himself, doing what he wants really speaks volumes to the type of commitment we need to give to ourselves before giving it to others.

Arguably one of the biggest themes in the movie, is that the right people don’t try to change you- rather, they try to make you a better version of who you already are. Throughout the movie Cindy Lou Who does not seek to make the Grinch “a better” person, she just wants to learn more about who he is, and why the townspeople don’t like him. Inviting him to the Whobilation, she never wanted to make him a more spirited person, she wanted the town to learn to love him as he is and accept him in spite of his flaws. Though the Whobilation was notably filled with lots of conflict for the Grinch, Cindy’s devotion to getting the town to accept the “outsider” made him into a better person. He never became any less green, he never became any less sarcastic, he still didn’t quite fit into the perfect “Who” mold but the town welcomed him with open arms regardless at the end of the movie, and as he mispronounced the lyrics to their town’s song, he became a part of their giant Who family.

We have a lot to learn from this character arc between the Grinch and Cindy. Being a friend or a romantic partner does not mean you go about changing what you see is “wrong” with your partner. Instead, you embrace their flaws, and through your companionship, support, and guidance you help them become a better version of themselves. Cindy never changed the Grinch, she offered outlets, solutions, and ways to help him- but didn’t necessarily force him to take any. That’s what we all should do. If you see someone you love struggling with an aspect in their life, sure you can offer ways to help, but you should not force your solution on to them, especially when they do not want it.

Finally, the biggest takeaway about love and relationships I learned from the Grinch was that everyone has a shot of redemption, and no one is lost forever. You can always go back and right your wrongs, or practice forgiveness on those who truly deserve it. In all of your exchanges platonic, romantic, or otherwise it does no good to stay bitter over things that aren’t quite that important.

In my own life, I have reconnected with both of my exes (both of which were my best friends prior), and had meaningful conversations on why we had seen the worst of each other out of our breakups. It ended up being petty teen drama, and the sooner we were able to realize, the sooner we are able to forgive and move on with our lives. It is never too late to give redemption to those who deserve it.

It is also never too late to ask for it yourself.

Have an amazing Holiday season and remember to practice love and caring with those in your life today!