If you haven’t seen Inside Out, check it out. In typical Disney Pixar fashion, it’s a smart, engaging tearjerker for kids and adults alike.
Inside Out may also be one of the best movies depicting the actual Stories We Tell Ourselves. With characters portraying Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust living within the mind of the movie’s heroine, Riley, Inside Out gives real voices to our internal chatter.
Spoiler alert: if you have yet to see the film, don’t read any further.
The ultimate plot conflict occurs when Riley runs away from home. Because Joy has been accidentally removed from her role as central command leader, Riley’s other emotions have taken control. Anger, Fear, and Disgust try to make the best decisions they can for Riley, but those decisions are always based in anger, fear, and disgust. Consequently, Riley interprets everything she hears and experiences through those internal voices.
In other words, she begins to believe the story she’s telling herself about her parents, her friends, and her world. Her made-up story says: “Your life was better where you once lived. If you can just get there, all will be better.” So she leaves. But she soon realizes what a mistake she’s made.
Today, consider the stories you’ve been telling yourself. Ask yourself what internal emotion may be driving that narrative.
Is Anger making you frustrated with others?
Is Sadness turning you inward?
Does fake Joy help you bury emotions you don’t want to feel?
Is Disgust causing rifts in your relationships?
Is Fear preventing you from attaining your goals?
Certainly, we all succumb to many more emotions than these, but we don’t have to allow them so much control over the stories we tell ourselves about our lives and our relationships.
Instead of relating to those characters in your mind, choose to live outside in: be present in your relationships and allow others to tell you their stories.