Sadness is Important

Inside Out

I watched Inside Out and adored it. The movie is about a young girl named Riley and her five emotional manifestations: Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, and Disgust. All of the emotions are located at Headquarters, Riley’s conscious mind, where they influence her actions and memories via a control console. Her new memories are housed in colored orbs and are sent to storage after every waking period. Essential or “core” memories are housed in a hub that power five “islands” that reflect Riley’s personality. Joy is the leader of the emotions and keeps Riley in a happy state, but she and the other feelings are unsure of Sadness’s purpose.

Hating Being Sad

Growing up, I hated being sad. When my childhood best friend, Miss Torts won first place in competitions we were in together, I felt upset, but I didn’t want to be honest about how I felt. If I told her I felt disappointed, then that would put me in a bad light. When someone hurt my feelings, especially someone I was dating, I didn’t like to open up. If I cried, I’d hide in another room. My mom quipped Hilary and Bill Clinton taught Chelsea not to complain if something went wrong. I went to believe that feeling sad was terrible.

Why Sadness touched Riley’s Happy Memories

In the film, Riley’s life is uprooted when she moves from Minnesota to San Francisco as a result of her father’s job. This move causes Sadness to touch Riley’s happy memories, which makes them sad. This makes Joy concerned, and she goes out of her way to isolate Sadness so that she doesn’t touch any more happy memories. This doesn’t go as planned and results in Joy and Sadness sucked out of Headquarters and in the labyrinthine storage area of Riley’s long-term memories. Since Joy is gone, the other emotions, Disgust, Fear, and Anger struggle to take over her role, which inadvertently causes Riley to distance herself from her parents.

This scene is important to me because it shows the consequences of pushing down uncomfortable emotions. Riley is unhappy about the move, but she doesn’t want to disappoint her parents, so she feigns happiness.

Why Feeling Sad is Important

I don’t like feeling sad, angry, resentful, and frustrated. I don’t think anyone does, but those uncomfortable emotions point out that something is wrong.

At the end of the film, Joy accepts that Sadness is part of growing up. It’s okay not always to feel content at life’s whims. Feeling sad helps people empathize with each others’ pain, and have compassion. I learned that sadness is okay. Grief is not bad. Sadness is as vital as any other emotion.

Photo Courtesy: Bagogames via Flickr. 

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