Inside Out: Discovering Your Feelings' Feelings

By: Devin Riggs, Regular ContributorJuly 2, 2015

There is a post going around Tumblr comically highlighting the evolution of Pixar films. In 1995 Pixar asked, “what if toys had feelings?” This question sparked a new era of storytelling, a new way to look at adolescence and coming of age. Twenty years later Inside Out is asking, “what if feelings had feelings?”

While that question is a bit simplistic in comparison to the film’s overarching theme, it’s a great place to start.

Our emotions are a vital part of what makes us human.

We all have them. We are all influenced by them at some point. Emotions are at the core of the human experience.

Which is why Inside Out is so important.


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In the movie we meet Riley, a young girl who loves to play hockey, has great friends and loving parents. We also meet her emotions, Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Anger, and Fear. Riley and her emotions find themselves facing their first big life struggle when Riley’s family moves to San Francisco.

The beauty of this story is that there is no obvious villain. There is no inherent bad guy. The conflict is much more internal as each emotion grapples with external events like when the moving van doesn’t arrive on time or Riley’s first day at a new school. Most of us aren’t fighting dragons and superhero villains trying to take over Earth. We’re fighting for a place in this world. We’re fighting the constant ebb and flow of life’s wild twists and turns. We’re fighting the daily struggles of growing up.

Everyone is just trying to figure life out.

We must remember that, “not all victories are about saving the universe.” (Doctor Who, “The God Complex”). Some victories are about being honest with yourself and with the people you love. Some victories are about making the best of a crappy situation. Some victories are about admitting you were wrong or you made a mistake.

This film is important because it shows young people, especially girls, that you don’t always have to be happy and enthusiastic about everything. It’s okay to be angry. It’s okay to be afraid. It’s okay to be disgusted. And sadness is just as vital as joy.

It’s okay to feel however you are feeling.

It’s okay to feel a lot of different emotions all at once. There is a whole spectrum of emotions and each and every one of them is important to who you are. Your feelings are valid and worthy of attention. They make you, you, and you are pretty freaking awesome.

Let's chat!

Have you seen Inside Out? What did you think? How can we begin to embrace ALL our emotions better? Tell us below!


About Devin

DEVIN_RIGGS_writer_bio.jpgDevin has a degree in education with a focus in English. She is working to publish her first collection of poetry while also learning the art of patience. Her passions include Doctor Who, penguins, hats and scarves, potatoes, dancing, photography, and making people happy. She believes in the healing powers of music, spending time in the great outdoors, and a good night sleep.

Every girl is a work in progress. If you need more help, click here.


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