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Inside Out finally made me understand the one thing my therapist has been trying to teach me: It's okay to feel sad. ~Caroline Moss

Stashed in: #happiness, Emotion, Sadness, Fear, Brain, Pixar, Awesome, Meaning of Life, life, The Internet is my religion., The Feels!, The Feels, Lessons are repeated until they are learned.

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It is okay to feel sad.

Pixar's new movie, "Inside Out," helped me to understand something my therapist has been trying to convince me of since I was a teenager: It is okay to feel sad.

For those who haven't seen it or read much about it, here's a basic premise: A little girl named Riley moves from Minnesota to San Francisco with her parents and has a hard time internalizing how she's supposed to feel about it. But the movie isn't about the move, or even about Riley herself. It's about her feelings — each of them assigned its own quirky character.

The feelings belong to an 11-year-old, so they're simple and easy to comprehend: joy, sadness, anger, fear, and disgust. We meet them; we recognize them, and we watch them interact with each other and with Riley's memories — tangible orbs, each assigned with an overwhelming feeling (happy memories, sad memories, angry memories.) Some of these memories are "core memories," and they're the ones that contribute to Riley's core: An honest, hockey-loving, goofy girl who loves her family and friends.

Therapy would have been much easier had "Inside Out" been produced when I was Riley's age.

I just watched Inside Out and it is now may favorite movie! It really has some deep meanings in it along with it's awesome dialogue!

Wow, your favorite movie! What was you previous favorite movie before you saw Inside Out?

Here's some basic feelings math: If you don't feel happy and you don't feel sad, you don't feel very much.

In "Inside Out," the emotion 'Joy' (voiced by Amy Poehler) is so obsessed with keeping Riley happy (and the rest of the feelings calm and collected) during the big move, that she all-too-quickly pushes the emotion 'Sadness' (voiced by Phyllis Smith) out of the way. It's clear that if Sadness is let loose inside Riley's head, Riley won't have a chance at making the best of her move to San Francisco. So Joy works overtime, making sure every one of Riley's memory orbs glows with a golden happiness. 

After all, who wants to be sad?

When Joy comically puts Sadness in the "circle of Sadness" (a chalk circle that Sadness must not step out of under any circumstance), I was reminded of the years I spent taking medication in an attempt to rid myself of my own sadness.

For a while, my efforts worked. Antidepressants and antianxiety medications take bodies and brains on differently than most meds — you have to build up a routine of taking them every day and then — boom! All of a sudden it's a month later and you realize you're having an easier time getting up in the morning. And if you don't get invited to a party your world doesn't seem like it's crashing down around you. 

I felt like things were getting better! I was getting rid of my sadness, the ultimate enemy. It was my understanding that to always be happy was the best possible way to live. Now I had a way to find that oasis; I had magic pills to kick my sadness to the curb.

Yet ... the pills weren't happy pills, and I noticed almost immediately that medication wasn't replacing being sad with being happy. It was just providing me with a cast I could plaster over any overwhelming emotion. 

For months, even years, my doctor encouraged me to wean myself off the pills, but I refused.

You don't want to be in the position where you feel neutral about everything, he'd say. That's not good.

But I don't want to feel sad again, I'd say. 

Though at the time I couldn't tell you the last time I felt super happy, I was pleased to report I also couldn't tell you the last time I felt super sad. We'd have the same conversation every few months for years. I continued to take the medication, and he'd continue to write me prescriptions. 

Here's some basic feelings math: If you don't feel happy and you don't feel sad, you don't feel very much.

Thanks so much for your honesty here...and the doctor was onto something about feeling 'neutral' I used to think that staying in a narrow band of emotions was better than feeling huge joy or much pain, but now I want to live a more expansive life and that will include deeper sadness. I'm ok w that...

And, the movie does a great job showing why 

Rachel, you are very welcome.

It took me a long time to learn not to run from sadness. Sadness has its place.

The movie Inside Out does a good job of illustrating this when Joy runs around energetically trying to fix everything, whereas Sadness is more willing to just sit and listen (and learn!).

It took several years to develop a story where sadness is crucial:

An early version of the film focused on Joy and Fear getting lost together, as it seemed to be the most humorous choice. By July 2012, the project was set for an evaluation screening with other Pixar filmmakers. Docter gradually began to feel that the story was not working, which led to fears that he might be fired. He took a long walk at his home one Sunday, in which he began to consider himself a failure, his previous successes "flukes", and a general sense that he should resign from the film.[18] While pondering what he would miss about Pixar, he concluded that he would miss his coworkers and friends most of all. He soon reached a breakthrough: that emotions are meant to connect people together, and that relationships are the most important things in life.[19] He decided to replace Fear with Sadness, which he felt is crucial to renewal.

More comments via Justin Rosenstein of Asana:

Inside Out was rewritten 7 times:

Docter estimated it took four years of development for the film to achieve success in marrying the architecture of Riley's mind and her personal troubles.[23] The concept of "personality islands" helped develop the film's emotional stakes, as they directly affect events inside her mind and in her life.[22]

Read more at Wikipedia.

It's ok to feel EVERYTHING.  

Just don't get stuck feeling one thing all the time... unless you want to.

Even if you want to it's not good to get stuck feeling one thing at a time. 

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