I’ve seen the movie “Inside Out” several times already, but it still makes me cry each time I watch it. I think it’s one of the most intelligent and insightful animated movies ever made.
Everyone wants to be happy. The pursuit of happiness drives people to do what they do. Much has been said about the subject. That happiness is a choice, a decision, a state of mind or being. That it is independent of circumstances. It seems to be the goal, the motivation, the reason of our actions. We just want to be happy.
I love “Inside Out” because while Joy is the obvious protagonist in the story, it reveals Sadness as the not so obvious hero. Nobody wants to be sad. (Unless one finds happiness in it. In which case, being sad is one’s twisted way of being happy.) Sadness seemed to ruin things in headquarters, whenever she touched core memories, or wanted to assert herself. She didn’t seem to have any place or function; she didn’t seem to belong. Who in one’s right mind would want to be sad? For most of us, it is an emotion we despise, try to avoid, and would rather get rid of altogether.
But what happens when Joy and Sadness disappear, and Fear, Disgust and Anger are left in charge of one’s life?
We have always known the importance of having Joy in our lives, but we realize the part Sadness plays, and what a very important part it is.
For those who have seen the movie, remember that scene when Bing Bong couldn’t be consoled by Joy, and only felt better upon talking with Sadness? How about the part when Joy realized that it was Sadness who reached out to Riley’s parents and friends, after Riley missed the shot in the hockey game? And that part when Riley returns back home, after attempting to run away? It was Sadness who made her open up to her parents, and tell them… “I know you want me to be happy… but I miss home.”
We usually don’t just ignore Sadness, but try to fight it, get it out of our system, not knowing that it has a place in our lives.
I love “Inside Out” because this was one of its most poignant messages that I got. Sadness has its purpose. So instead of treating it like a villain, it might be better to welcome it like a friend. Just like Joy did. It was only when she allowed Sadness to take charge, that things started to get better for Riley. Each emotion has its own place in our lives, and the same holds true for sadness. There’s a happy kind of sad, a sad kind of happy. Our multidimensionality allows us to experience a whole range of emotions at the same time, without necessarily going crazy.
So, the next time you find yourself facing a bit of melancholy, it’s okay. Accept it. Embrace it. Don’t fight it. Don’t invalidate it. Just let it be. Because if you let it, it will eventually lead you where you need to be. And in this world of duality, where Joy and Sadness go together just like in the movie, we can take comfort in the knowledge that where Sadness is, Joy cannot be far behind.