Thoughts on Emotions: An Inside Out Reflection

Yesterday I ran against time to watch Inside Out – the latest Disney Pixar movie about getting to know our emotions. It was a really cool movie and the fought we did against time to be able to watch it was worth it. Even the hefty cinema ticket price (I rarely watch movies in movie houses) was worth it.

It was not a movie for kids though. Kids may love the animation, etc. but the whole impact of the story will be felt by adults. It was a movie for adults – about reflecting on how we handle our emotions.

Psychologists would love the movie. I believe it creates for them the same effect that Osmosis Jones has created for me and for any biologist / medical practitioner familiar with the characters and scenes.

Rational vs Emotions

I have always prided myself at being objective and analytical. Since I was young, I grew up learning never to let my emotions overcome my rational thinking and make decisions for myself. In Inside Out, the movie shows 5 basic emotions that influence our decisions for how to go about the day.

The Emotions in Inside Out

There’s Joy, the happy and positive emotion that influences us to always look at life in a positive way and to react with a smile even when faced with challenges. Joy pushes us to look for solutions and opportunities amidst challenges and trials.

Then there’s Anger, a default reaction when things do not seem to go our way. Anger influences us to pursue certain courses of action just because we are not satisfied with the current situation. There is actually righteous anger which causes us to seek justice when we see injustice and then there’s unrighteous anger which is the one that’s out of control and causes us to break laws just to achieve things. The former is positive and creates positive results while the latter is negative resulting in hurtful situations and thus is best avoided.


There’s Fear who, as the movie says, keeps us safe. Because of Fear, we learn to avoid things that could otherwise be harmful for us. While it’s wrong to live life in fear of everything, the right amount of fear is actually necessary for us in life. I recall an episode in Gotham where the antagonist sought to eliminate fear in his life. Because he did so, he was unable to perceive danger and end up dying. Unhealthy levels of fear meanwhile prevents us from accomplishing anything in life because we end up too afraid to take any form of risk. A healthy balance is always encouraged.

There’s Disgust who, I will relate to indignation. Because of Disgust, we are able to choose things that would make us feel or look good. We are able to form opinions of what we want and what we don’t want.

And then there’s Sadness, whose initial function was not revealed in the film. The film actually revolved around finding out the purpose of Sadness. The character, Riley, has been led by Joy all her life and Sadness has been delegated a role in the background. All the other emotions don’t understand Sadness’ purpose and this pushed Sadness to be sad all the more.

But in reality, as the movie shows, Sadness is important. When we give in to Sadness and acknowledge this emotion, we encounter comfort. And sometimes, when Joy, Fear, Disgust and Anger are out of ideas to identify what is wrong with us we need Sadness to bring in comfort and fix things.

Rationalizing Emotions

If I were to imagine the 5 emotions in my head, I would have to add another one and name her – Rationality. She’s the one who’s always analytical and critical. I’m the type of person who doesn’t let my emotions overcome me. I acknowledge what I feel then quickly analyze why I felt that way and if I can help it, take the next course of action not base on emotions but base on rational decisions.

It’s not always easy but time and time again, with practice, I’ve proven that I can handle it.

In the movie, the person’s personality is dependent on the major emotion player – the one who handles most of the control. In my head, I imagine it’s Rationality who handles most of the controls hence my personality of being analytical. There are drawbacks of course but as I get to know more of my other emotions and become more in touch with them, the drawbacks have minimized.

I have learned to laugh more and let loose and be kalog in my own way. I’ve learned to acknowledge sadness and the depressive outlook it brings in life but also stop it before it gets out of hand. I’ve learned to express anger and stand up for my own needs and rights. I’ve learned to identify danger and not be too reckless. My overriding emotion would be joy out of all the rest. I know I’m a fun person although combined with rationality, I am a “tamed” fun person. I know when to have fun and when to be serious.


Inside Out is a movie that will make you reflect on who you are inside. It shows how we, as humans, adjust to our surroundings depending on our emotions. It makes you see how you make decisions as influenced by what you feel.

It’s a good movie not really for all the colors and fun characters in it (which is a great plus!) but for the underlying message it contains.

It will also make you aware of the emotions you feel and make you realize that emotions can be really complicated – but when you acknowledge them and think them through, life doesn’t really have to be complicated.

When we get older, the basic emotions overlap and lead to more complex emotions.

It’s definitely a movie I’d gladly watch a second time and ranks in my Top 5 Best Movies of All Time.


Author: elleica

Jesus Lover. Writer. Blogger. Biologist turned marketer. Child of Learning. Thrill Seeker. I long for my next adventure.

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