If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know I find valuable messages in movies. If you are looking for a film with a helpful message and lots of fun, the Pixar film Inside Out will not disappoint. It is the story of Riley, a young girl from
the Midwest who has her life turned upside down when her father started a new job in San Francisco.
Riley is guided by her emotions: Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness. These emotions live in the control center inside Riley’s mind, where they help navigate her through everyday life. As Riley and her emotions struggle to adjust to a new life in San Francisco, conflict begins in the Headquarters.
In other words, Inside Out is the screen adaptation of the message behind one of my earlier blog posts, “Feeling Substitution: Tit for Tat”.
As a reminder, feeling substitution is the process where we replace the unacceptable emotions we are feeling with an acceptable feeling. This is exactly what you see in Inside Out. Riley is trying to force Joy to take the place of all
of her emotions she is feeling about moving to San Francisco from Minnesota.
In the control room of Riley’s brain, Joy is in control, directing all the other emotions, telling them what to do for her. Joy is running the show because Riley has unconsciously gotten the message that she is supposed to be happy.
Joy thinks that the only way to have a happy life is to not have any sadness in it, so in the beginning, Sadness is not allowed to touch anything because she will ruin it by making it sad. Then, Joy and Sadness go on an unexpected journey through Riley’s memories, and discover many memories have more than one emotion attached to them. They realized that it was through feeling her sadness that Riley was able to adjust to her new life.
Sadness to the Rescue
In the end, Sadness saves the day with the help of Anger, Fear, and Disgust.
The moral of the story translates directly to our daily lives: one feeling is not to be prized over the others; all are needed, along with time, support, and a feeling of being loved in all situations.
Just like in the movie there is no magical way to be happy or deal with the pain in our lives. It is only as we allow all of our feelings to be present and have the support of our friends that we have a full and satisfying life.
This movie has a valuable lesson to teach all of us during this difficult and frighting time. All our feelings are important and helpful. I hope you enjoy the movie and it brings you a reminder of what is important in your life.