‘Inside Out’: Why We Need Sadness


Inside-Out-Why-We-Need-Sadness-RM-722x406In The Prophet, Kahlil Gibran writes:

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.

And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.

And how else can it be?

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.

I thought of his words yesterday as I watched Disney’s new movie, Inside Out, which I believe is as beneficial as a month of psychotherapy sessions. Watching it with your kids is even better: cheap family therapy. We could all use a reminder of the various characters—Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust, and Sadness–that live within us, and how our temperament is colored by the guy who is hogging the control pad of our brain.

As a person who has struggled with depression for most of her life, I was especially intrigued by the relationship between Joy and Sadness. I laughed when Joy draws a small circle toward the back of Headquarters and tells Sadness her job is to stay within that space. How many times have I given the same order to my depression? “WHY CAN’T YOU JUST LEAVE ME ALONE??!! FOR THE LAST TIME . . . GET OUT OF MY LIFE!!” For most of the movie, all Joy wants to do is get rid of the blue-ness that messes everything up. However, a few key moments in the pair’s odyssey back to Headquarters teach Joy the critical role of Sadness to the wellbeing of Riley, the girl whom they are inside, and how Joy and Sadness are more connected than she ever suspected.

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Therese Borchard
I am a writer and chaplain trying to live a simple life in Annapolis, Maryland.

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1 Response
  1. DM

    I so want to see “Inside Out” now. After I read your post, Therese, I looked up the movie and actually got a bit teary-eyed and felt bad for Sadness. Then I found a picture online showing Joy holding a Memory (I believe) with Sadness looking on in amazing curiosity. It was almost like Sadness had a little hope in her. And I thought it was interesting that Joy had blue hair…the same color blue of Sadness. I can’t wait to see the movie.

    Thank you.