Throughout Encanto, Isabela’s family chooses to call her the “perfect” one. Isabela has one of my favorite gifts in the Madrigal family. She can grow flowers, trees, plants and so much more. She’s constantly creating these beautiful, perfect flowers that she hasn’t realized that she can make so many other beautiful things.
The Madrigal family, especially the Abuela, hold Isabela to incredibly high standards and expectations because she’s so perfect. She feels like she has to be perfect all the time because that’s what her family expects of her. She chooses to put on a brave face but she’s tired of being someone she’s not.
Honestly, we’ve all been in her shoes at some point. We’ve all pushed who we really are to the back of our minds because of the expectations set by those around us. Honestly, we aren’t going to be perfect but that’s the reality of the world we live in. I mean, I can definitely admit I’ve been there.
Growing up, I used to think that because I was a girl that I had to do girly things. You know things like doing my hair, wearing makeup, stupid stereotypical girl stuff. I felt like that’s what was expected of me. Eventually, I was over it. I just wanted to be who I wanted to be. No matter how anyone else felt about it.
I didn’t want to wear makeup or do my hair all the time. Honestly, I just wanted to read, learn and express myself. Unfortunately, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to do that if I continued trying to live up to everyone’s expectations of me. You can’t please everyone. In fact, the only person who’s opinion matters is yours.
At one point in the movie, Mirabel goes to apologize to her sister for ruining her special night. This apology is what she and Bruno believe will save their family’s miracle. Instead, they get into an argument because Mirabel doesn’t really know how Isabela is really feeling. She admits that she was only doing the things that she did because it would benefit the family. While expressing her feelings to her sister, Isabela creates a cactus. This is something she’s never done before. She begins to wonder what more she can do with her gift.
Isabela and Mirabel go off on an exciting, eye-opening musical montage where she creates these beautiful, multicolored cactuses and so much more. She begins to realize that she doesn’t want to be pretty and perfect, she just wants to be true to who she really wants to be. She wants to have fun and be able to express herself the way that she wants. There’s so much more to her than just beautiful flowers.
Before the end of the song, Isabela realizes who she really needs to thank. As a proud, big sister Isabela tells Mirabel that she owes all of it to her. Mirabel taught Isabela that it was okay to be imperfect as long as that’s what felt true. A truly beautiful moment that does in fact fix the cracks in their home and makes the candle’s flame burn brighter. Both Isabela and her relationship with Mirabel truly teach us an important lesson.
Isabela teaches us that being perfect comes with its own consequences. Everything Isabela was doing was not for herself but because that’s what her family was expecting of her. Eventually, she got sick of trying to fit into a box she clearly didn’t fit in anymore. There is much more authenticity in being imperfect than being perfect. Be who you want to be, not what they expect you to be.
Her relationship with her sister on the other hand, now that’s definitely a bigger picture lesson. Isabela and Mirabel do not have the best relationship as sisters. Isabela is constantly telling her sister that she’s only getting in the way and not being helpful when she does things that nobody has asked her to. Despite their rocky relationship, Mirabel still cares about her sister and wants her to be able to express herself. Mirabel was the one who reminded Isabela that it was okay not to be perfect all the time.
Sometimes, we just need someone to remind us that it’s okay not to be perfect. Or that it’s okay to not meet everyone’s expectations of you. But sometimes, that someone has to be you. Never force yourself to fit in a box, you will never have the chance to grow. You deserve to be wholeheartedly yourself and nobody should every make you feel otherwise. There is so much more to who we are than what people expect of us. We are made to grow free and blossom, we should not be let anyone or anything keep us from doing that.
What else can YOU do?
Check out Looper’s article about Why Abuela is hardest on Isabela here!
You can also read Kailey’s post Things I Wish People Knew About Mental Health here on TurningPointCT.org!