It’s okay to feel strong emotions.
In the film, strong emotions ‘release the panda,’ so Meilin tries to stay emotionless. However, you should never repress your feelings. Even if they’re uncomfortable, they deserve to be released into the wild. Remember, you’re allowed to be angry or upset or frustrated. You don’t have to pretend you’re happy all the time. Like the movie says, “Don’t hold back. For anyone.”
You know what’s best for yourself.
Even though your parents want what’s best for you, they aren’t inside your mind, and they can’t predict the future. Instead of bowing down to peer pressure and doing what others expect of you, make choices that make you the happiest. Like Meilin says, “My whole life I’ve been perfect little Mei Mei. But maybe I like this new me.”
It’s impossible to be a perfect, flawless person who does everything right.
You’re going to burn yourself out by trying to be perfect. You can’t hold yourself to unrealistically high standards because that’s not fair to you. You’re allowed to make mistakes. You’re allowed to take it easy some days. The movie says it best: “People have all kinds of sides to them, Mei, and some sides are messy.”
You don’t have to follow in your parent’s footsteps.
You don’t exist to please others. Even though you want to make your parents or your ancestors proud, you can’t follow the path that your family members choose for you. This is your life. Like Meilin says in the film: “Honoring your parents sounds great, but if you take it too far, well, you might forget to honor yourself.”
You’re allowed to let loose and have some fun.
Even though your school work and career aspirations are important, you can’t make your whole life about work. You need to give yourself permission to have fun too. It’s not lazy to take some time off. You don’t have to be productive every moment of every day. You can have fun with your friends, too.
Growing up is scary, but you’re going to get through it.
You might want your world to stay the same, but nothing lasts forever. You’re going to go through changes and so are the people around you. At one point in the film, Meilin tells her mother: “I’m finally figuring out who I am. But I’m scared it will take me away from you.” However, the people who genuinely care about you aren’t going anywhere. Your relationship might change over time, but the love will always remain.
You shouldn’t be embarrassed about going through puberty.
One of the best things about Turning Red is how openly they discuss puberty and pads and periods. Remember, you shouldn’t be embarrassed about your body. What you’re experiencing is perfectly natural, and it’s time that more people talk about it.
Your real friends will love you, no matter what.
Meilin considered herself a monster when she saw herself as a red panda for the first time. But her friends weren’t scared of her or grossed out by her. They thought she was adorable. Even random kids at school were excited to see this side of her and wanted to spend as much time with her as possible. Remember, you should embrace the real you. People are going to love you more than you think!