Dealing with emotions: 4 lessons from the movie "Inside Out"
Dealing with emotions, especially after a pet loss, is a really difficult challenge both mentally and physically.
More than once you have wanted to hold them back or silence them. Yet they are part of you: you cannot eliminate them but you can learn to manage them.
What to do when the person most affected by the loss of your pet is your son or daughter? How to help him or her deal with his or her emotions?
A Pixar film dear to my heart can come to your aid here: INSIDE OUT
It was recommended to me some time ago by a friend who had seen INSIDE OUT with her daughter after the death of her dog Palu.
My friend was struggling to find a way to talk openly with her daughter about the loss of Palu without making her burst into tears and scaring her.
That film gave her the strength to broach the subject with her daughter, better understanding the emotions and figuring out how to handle them.
Is there a way for emotions such as Anger, Joy, Sadness, Fear and Disgust to coexist?
Let's see it together in the next chapters.
A brief summary of the movie Inside Out
The entire film revolves around Riley, an almost teenage girl forced by her family to move from Minnesota to San Francisco, leaving behind her friends.
Her five key emotions, Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust, must learn to coexist to guide Riley through a fundamental life change.
Will they succeed? How?
Below you will find 4 of the lessons the film offered me that helped me toward managing emotions.
I recommend you to watch it together with your son/daughter. So that you can help them understand how to deal with the emotions due to the loss of your pet.
4 lessons from the movie Inside Out
What are the lessons I learned from seeing Inside Out?
They are as many as four life lessons: I'll explain them for you.
1 - Happiness is not only about Joy
At the beginning of the film the emotion Joy, personified by a manic pixie type, controls the mind of teenage Riley. His main goal is to make sure that Riley is always happy.
But we know very well that it is impossible to feel joy all the time; the human mind is made up of so many emotions, combined with each other. To be truly happy, you don't just need the joy sprite.
In fact, at the end of the film, Riley learns that there is much, much more to being happy... but I don't want to spoil anything else.
2 - Forcing happiness is useless
What happens if we strive to be happy? Simple, we become sad and angry instead of happy. So it should come as no surprise that trying to strive to be happy doesn't actually help Riley cope with the stress and changes in her new life.
This strategy not only fails to bring her happiness, but also seems to make her feel lonely and angry with her parents, causing her to make bad decisions...
Before you focus on happiness, you need to try to be postive, to see the glass half full and not always empty.
I know when you lose your beloved animal it is not easy, especially when memories come flooding back. In fact, to nurture positivity, you should carve out spaces to have experiences or things that you enjoy and are passionate about.
And you know what? You'd be amazed at how much more positive children can be than us. Have you ever noticed that? Children really appreciate the present moment, savoring every moment of their lives.
That's why playing a game or painting together could help both of them find that long-set aside positivity.
For Riley, these experiences are ice hockey, spending time with friends and joking with his parents.
3 - To feel good you must first move from sadness
At the beginning of the film, Joy admits that she doesn't understand what Sadness is for or why it is in Riley's head. She is not alone; I've been thinking about it too...
Why does sadness exist?
Sadness connects you deeply with yourself and helps you understand what is wrong and how to get through a difficult time, such as the loss of your pet.
Sadness is a key component of happiness for both us and Riley.
4 - Accepting negative emotions instead of repressing them
At one point in the film, Joy attempts to prevent Sadness from having any influence on Riley's mind by drawing a small "sadness circle" with chalk and ordering Sadness to remain inside it, as if imprisoned.
But you know very well that trying to "imprison Sadness" and pretending that everything is fine is not the correct action to take.
At some point you have to accept the sadness within you and consciously embrace it, letting it take its course.
And that is exactly what happens within the film: Joy accepts Sadness for what it is, realizing that it is an important part of Riley's emotional life.
A tip before saying goodbye
I suggest you to Watch the movie Inside Out with your son or daughter. Help him/her fully understand how Joy, Anger, Sadness, Disgust and Fear can coexist together.
It will certainly help both of you.
Inside Out teaches you not to avoid unpleasant emotions, but rather to deal with them.
This is the only way we can learn to handle the turmoil of emotions caused by an unpleasant event, such as the loss of your sweet pet.
As it helped me, the film can help you.
Enjoy your viewing