10 Life Lessons From Thelma and Louise

These life lessons from Thelma and Louise movie – staring Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon – include trusting your gut and picking your battles. Thelma and Louise are strong women in history – even though they’re fictional characters – and the movie is bubbling over with ways to “See Jane Soar.” 

“My husband wasn’t sweet to me,” said Thelma to the cop as she put him into the trunk of his own police cruiser. “And look how I turned out.”

Geena Davis played Thelma and Susan Sarandon was Louise – and Brad Pitt made one of his first appearances as the hottie hitchhiker/bad boy J.D. Click on the DVD cover to go to Thelma and Louise, and read on for ten life lessons from these successful women (which is up for debate!)…

10 Life Lessons From Thelma and Louise

1. You get what you settle for. “I still have to ask Darryl if I can go,” Thelma said. “He never lets me do a g-d damned thing. “You get what you settle for,” said Louise. Darryl treated Thelma like crap – but the thing is, she let him. She took everything he dished out without speaking up for herself. To be a successful woman, you need to stop settling!

2. Celebrate your differences. This life lesson from the Thelma and Louise movie involves not just tolerating your friends’ differences, but celebrating them. Thelma was a married stay-at-home housewife with a domineering, annoying husband. She wasn’t as mature or jaded as Louise, who worked as a waitress in a coffee shop and had a lot more life experience (including being raped earlier in her life).

3. Take care of yourself. Always, always watch your back, even when you’re having fun, even when you’re surrounded by people you trust. Thelma drank too much at a roadside bar and ended up in the parking lot with Harlan; Louise stopped him from raping her. “We’re just having a little fun,” Harlan said. “In the future, when a woman’s crying like that, she ain’t having any fun,” Louise said, voice trembling. “I should’ve f-ked her,” said Harlan. “Suck my —.” So Louise shot him. “You watch your mouth, buddy,” she whispered. Louise knew not only how to take care of herself, she knew how to take care of Thelma, too. And Harlan. That makes her a successful woman…I think!

4. Trust your gut. Louise did not want to pick up that hottie hitchhiker (Brad Pitt); her gut instinct told her to stay away. Thelma, who doesn’t seem to have much of a gut instinct to trust, wanted to give him a ride and wouldn’t stop talking about it. So, they ended up giving him a ride, and it was the second biggest mistake they made.

5. Pick your battles. “He is an asshole,” Thelma said about her husband. “Most of the time I just let it slide.” This life lesson from the Thelma and Louise movie isn’t about letting things slide; it’s about knowing where to draw the line. Setting your boundaries is about self-respect. People will treat you the way you let them – in fact, you teach people how to treat you by how you treat yourself and what you’ll take from others. Successful women set boundaries and stick to them.

6. Buckle up for the consequences. This life lesson from the Thelma and Louise movie runs through the whole movie: Whether you’re hooked up with a bad boy or the most decent husband in the world, be prepared for the natural consequences. Like what? The possibility that you’ll get hurt – whether he’s never around when you need him or he’s around too much. Or, he could steal all your money…like J.D. did to Thelma and Louise. Don’t let this stop you from taking risks to be successful, but just be prepared for what happens next. No whining about the bad stuff!

7. Take turns being strong. Louise was the strong woman throughout most of the movie. Until J.D. stole their money; then, Thelma became strong. Sex with J.D. gave her the self-confidence she needed to take control of her life. By the end – when Thelma was putting the crying cop into the trunk of his police cruiser – Louise wasn’t the only strong woman in the movie. The life lesson: be strong sometimes, and be weak sometimes. To be a successful woman, you need to find a healthy balance between giving and taking.

8. Take risks. Thelma, in her new role as the strong woman, robbed the store to get the money that they needed to get to Mexico to start their lives over again. I’m not advocating robbery – I’m saying that the life lesson from the Thelma and Louise movie is about trying new things and taking risks despite your fears.

9. Open up. Keeping secrets creates distance between you and your spouse, friends, and family. Louise waited until the end of the movie to tell Thelma that she was raped in Texas, in her earlier life. Throughout their friendship, Thelma never really knew Louise because she was afraid to open up.

10. Be comfortable with loose ends. The last life lesson from Thelma and Louise has to be about the ending — because we don’t know how it ends! And that’s exactly how life is: we don’t know for sure how it’s gonna end because it’s never really over…until it’s really over.

What’s your take on these life lessons from the Thelma and Louise movie? Actually, I’m more curious to know if you think they’re successful women! I think they died at the end of the movie…did they live life fully?

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