Saturday, February 13, 2016

Understanding The Importance Of Emotions With The Movie "Inside Out"

When all seems to fall apart or you are confused with life, it's always a good idea to watch kids' movies. There is so much to learn from those movies and sometimes all we need is motivation to start back from square one. Today I want to share some of the realizations I made after watching the movie "Inside Out" (Walt Disney Pictures, 2015). My blog indeed focuses on the idea that we need to be positive to lead a happy life. However, it's important to acknowledge that life is made of ups and downs. It is ok to feel negative emotions at times. We learn to appreciate the good in our life because we go through the bad. In the following paragraphs, I will try to explain the importance of the five main emotions used in the movie "Inside Out": Joy, Anger, Fear, Disgust and Sadness.

First, we have joy, which is a feeling that leads to great happiness. Without joy, we would be having a depressing life. Joy is indeed a positive emotion and I believe joy is what triggers the feeling of gratitude in us. Life is meant to be lived one day at a time, so if we are having some better days than others, we must acknowledge that we are blessed with joyful days and it's really up to us to go store those joyful days in our long term memory. If our joyful days are meaningful, there is no doubt that these good memories will replay in our mind in the future to make us feel good and/or grateful.

Second, we have anger, which is some sort of strong feeling that makes us upset or annoyed. I think anger acts like a self-defense emotion, and that's essential because there is no better person than us to defend ourselves. Anger can sometimes engage us into a conflict with someone else, which is healthy for us at times and it can also push us to take action to make things the way we want. However, as it's mostly a negative emotion, we can end up taking the wrong steps and this can lead to bigger problems when in fact we just wanted to make a way for ourselves to be happy. Therefore when we are angry, it's important to be aware of this feeling and remind ourselves that the action plan that the angry emotion is creating for us may not be a suitable/wise plan we'd follow if we'd have a cooler mind.

Third, we have fear, which is the feeling of being afraid and/or worry about something bad or unpleasant. Fear is usually the result of our insecurities. Fear is an emotion that I believe is built from our thoughts and it's a way for our mind to protect us from a disastrous scenario if it were to occur. Nevertheless, once fear is gone from our mind, it's almost like we have made some accomplishment. Simple example: When a kid is afraid of going to school for the first time because of the unknown but eventually, the kid gets familiar with his or her teacher and makes new friends, the feeling of fear gradually vanishes. Fear is a special type of emotion: a negative one which can turn into a positive one if we step out of our comfort zone.

Fourth, there's disgust which is a strong feeling of dislike for something. Maybe, disgust was too much of a strong emotion in the storyline but I'll leave that to the director of the movie "Inside Out". Since we're not robots, it is normal to have dislikes. Being aware of our dislikes protects us from what may cause unhappiness to us. Having preferences is what makes our standards and what makes us humans and therefore we should not be ashamed of our dislikes as they don't make any less of us.

Fifth, there's sadness which is a feeling of grief or unhappiness. Just like Joy in the movie was continuously pushing away Sadness from Riley's memory, I realized that I've also been wondering what the purpose of sadness is in life? I found my answer in the movie. Sadness is to alert others and ourselves when we are overwhelmed and that we may need help. Sadness teaches us to be compassionate towards others and have sympathy for others. Sadness allows us to connect deeply with people; please remember that a person, especially a kind hearted one, will find you more valuable if you are present for her or him when s/he is sad than you being present when s/he is joyful. To understand others who may be going through sad phases, it's crucial for us to be sometimes sad so that we can relate with other people's sadness to eventually help them let go of that sadness.

I hope this post helped you understand that all five emotions mentioned, whether positive or negative, all somehow contribute to help us achieve happiness. Joy does not equal absolute happiness. Each emotion from joy, anger, fear, disgust and sadness, has its purpose. The human mind is more complex than these five emotions actually. Being aware of the emotions that dominate us in a particular situation can help us understand ourselves, make the necessary changes in our thoughts and find a way to better deal with certain difficult situations in life. I believe it's important to embrace our emotions because they are truly what make us unique from others and we're all special people in this world.

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