Making Sense of My Interior World from Inside Out

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“Congratulations San Francisco, you’ve ruined pizza! First the Hawaiians, and now YOU!” … Who says this in which movie?

With which emotion do you most identify? What emotion would you add?

It is Anger in the 2015 Pixar movie Inside Out. I have to disagree with Anger. I like ham and pineapple as pizza toppings And I also enjoy broccoli as a topping. So instead of anger, I would feel joy at eating such a pizza.

But I can relate to Anger’s outbursts.

  • When things don’t go as planned.
  • When a good routine is changed.
  • When there is a sense of personal powerless.
  • When people are disrespectful.

These are events where Anger is the primary emotion. Well, it can be according to your personal bent.

Riley in Inside Out tries very hard to keep Joy as the reigning emotion. As the emotion in the driver’s seat, Joy interprets Riley’s memories in light of her bent (the emotion joy). Until the end of the movie, Joy tends to overlook the necessity and contribution of the other emotions especially sadness.

There are five dominant emotions running the mindset of the people of Inside Out: Anger, Disgust, Fear, Joy and Sadness. 

  • As I already said, Joy is Riley’s primary emotion.
  • Anger is Dad’s primary emotion.
  • Sadness is Mom’s primary emotion.
  • Fear is the boy at the rink’s primary emotion.

And you can see how differently each person behaves in the same event according to their primary emotion. And it is interesting to note how Riley acts when her primary emotion is out-of-commission.

Did you also notice that it wasn’t a BAD thing that Sadness (in mom) and Anger (in dad) were driving their emotional teams?

“Grown-up Sadness is not a blobby, lethargic Sadness, but a comforting, caring, noticing, nurturing, energetic Empathy. …

“Anger notices injustice and protects. Anger can also be a powerful force for good when we understand the energy behind it, without using it as a weapon.” Kay Bruner

Read the whole post, Inside Out: Grown Up Emotions.

For argument’s sake, let’s say each of us has only five basic emotions: Anger, Disgust, Fear, Joy and Sadness. 

  • Which one would be running the show? (For me fear is frequently fighting with JOY over top billing.)
  • Which one would you like to run the show? (I want a grown up anger to be boss. AKA – I’d like to be more assertive.)
  • Which one would you most like to obliterate? (I’d like to dump adolescent sadness. For decades this type of sadness ruled my emotional team. And life was very hard with this type of “leader.”)

Another creative feature of the film is personality islands. Five islands define who Riley is (at the age of 11). These include the following: Family Island, Friendship Island, Goofball Island, Hockey Island, and Honesty Island. For a short time, all five islands stop functioning and Riley is in majour crisis mode. Fortunately Riley is able to restore, improve  and even add islands of personality.

If you could have only five islands, what would you choose? I would name my five islands Relationships, Integrity, God, Creativity, and Health. After watching this movie, I am reminded of how important it is to shore up these islands by investing memories that would make each island stronger.

Your Turn . . . How would you make your islands of personality stronger? . . . Care to answer the other two questions in this post? . . . I want to spend time journaling about these concepts. If you do, please share your insights.

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