Inside Out may speak to your inner adult

Movie audience all wearing 3D glasses

Would you believe I’ve flossed for the past three nights now? And not all were corn flosses. My transformation must have had something to do with my hygienist’s plan to floss on her 4-day backpacking trip. Talk about holier than moi. I couldn’t cope with my feelings of flossing inadequacy, so I got back on the wagon. Let’s see how long it lasts.

But on to more important matters. Have you seen Inside Out yet? Well, get on it. And don’t listen to anyone who tells you it’s a children’s movie. I may be quite childlike, except for my mastery of toilet training, but even my inner child would not have understood this movie.

When we were away last weekend, I fussed through my usual afternoon nap and begged J. to go to Inside Out instead. It was my first 3D movie and, like any inner minor, I was mesmerized. Visual effects aside, this movie made me think. I laughed and, yes, I cried. The movie is animated; I was crying about a cartoon. Yes I was. Sometimes J. has to remind me, when a TV show makes me well up, that what I’m watching isn’t real.

I will not issue a spoiler alert here because, terrible secret keeper that I am, I am a natural-born spoiler. If you’ve read any reviews, you already know that Inside Out is about a 12-year-old girl coping with a move to a new city. The story is told from the perspective of her 5 core feelings, Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust, and Fear. Sadness was my favourite character. Bet you thought it would be Fear, huh?

And Sadness got me thinking about how hard sadness is for people. No one likes to be sad because it’s not a lot of fun. I’ve noticed that when I write a sad post, you guys start to worry about me. Who lacks the instinct to cheer up a sad person? Tolerating anyone’s sadness is hard. You are always welcome to cheer me up, but know that you could also reassure me it’s okay to be sad. Some days I have reason to be, remember? We all do.

In my work as a psychologist, I often reassure my clients that it’s okay to have the feelings they have, whatever they are. “Last week my dad died/my marriage failed/I lost my job/my favourite show was cancelled. Why am I still sad?” My response? “It’s only been an week/a month/a year, and some hard feelings take time to work through.” People run into trouble when they try to push down tough feelings rather than addressing them. I know I do.

I often tell my clients that, not only is it okay to be sad (or scared, or angry), that they can share that sadness (or fear or anger) with me, and they might feel better if they shared those feelings with others too. And too often I catch myself trying to talk my clients out of feeling the way they do. You’d think I’d know better after this many years in the field.

So don’t you worry your pretty little head if Sadness makes an appearance in the odd post. Chances are Joy will be close behind.

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8 thoughts on “Inside Out may speak to your inner adult

  1. Annie, I love this blog and the thoughts of sadness – it’s definitely something to experience and go through, rather than walk around or ignore. I appreciate your idea to honour your sadness (I hope I’m not misinterpreting.) It happens to us all – wise words on your part – and so be it.

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  2. Ok, you hooked me – Inside Out it is – and, you actually made me tear up reading your piece…and don’t try to talk me out of my tears! 🙂 Thank you Annie.

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    • Mary: I’m glad you’re going to see the movie. I hope you like it. You’ll have to let me know if you cry too. I’d be embarrassed if I were the only one. Actually, I wouldn’t. I wear my tears proudly. XO Annie

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  3. I loved “Inside Out” and the message about allowing ourselves to feel sadness. I thought the entire message of the movie required a bit too much analytical thinking for younger kids, but I guess that’s what makes it a good family movie. As an adult, it was thought provoking and emotional. As a 5 year old, my daughter enjoyed it and received the basic message that sadness isn’t bad.

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    • Thanks for your thoughts, Jackie. I imagine we’d share some similar feelings about it because of our similar challenges. It’s neat to hear how your daughter enjoyed the movie too. I’m glad you saw it together. Take care, Annie

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