Day 3 of 40 Day Challenge. I’m blogging about issues around mental wellbeing through lent and would love you to join in with inspiring stories, topics/suggestions for topics etc. Please feel free to follow this blog, comment share etc so we can encourage each other in this area over the coming weeks. You can also contact me privately via the Home page on this Blog site.
The first film I took my daughter to see at the cinema was Inside Out. It’s a lovely film about a young girl’s battle with her emotions as she comes to terms with big life changes. I’m sure most of it went over my daughter’s head, but I have to admit to shedding a tear at the end 😥.
The film shows brilliantly how we generally try to hold onto the emotions we judge as “good” and push away the emotions we judge as “bad”.
So most of us find it easy to accept when we are feeling happy or excited or in love etc. But many, if not most of us, really struggle not to find a way of pushing the more difficult emotions to one side, in a bid not to experience the pain or discomfort they may bring.
Why would we want to experience that pain or discomfort? What could it possibly do for us? Those feelings are bad feelings anyway…
The problem is in our judgement of our emotions, and in the constant messages we receive that we must and should and are entitled to feel great all of the time!
If we stopped judging our emotions and learned to understand them as messages to our self, we may learn more readily to accept them. If I can accept the pain of sadness for example, I may learn more about what it is I actually need in that moment, and find a productive way through the difficulties I may be experiencing.
When I push the feeling away, I need another type of coping strategy which is normally more self destructive, e.g. drowning sorrows in drink, isolating, being irritable with others, self harm, compulsive behaviour etc.
In the film, the character Joy is seen as very much in charge of the little girl. The other emotions less so, and Sadness is very much pushed away and not allowed anywhere near the controls. As a result, a chaotic and unnecessary journey unfolds.
By the end of the film, they all realise that sadness has played a vital role in the wellbeing of the little girl and Sadness’ role is recognised eventually as an important one.
It’s really hard, but the more we learn to listen to and accept even the most difficult feelings, the more we will build emotional resilience and the more successfully we will navigate through the inevitable difficulties of life.