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What Inside Out Taught Me: Is Happiness Always The Answer?

Because happiness can only do so much...

“Happiness depends on ourselves.” -Aristotle

Disney is never absent in the list of being one of the best and most influential media and entertainment companies in the world. The movies they produce are rife with life lessons that young audiences can learn from and adult audiences can reflect on.

So that made me think about the particular lesson that Inside Out is trying to tell their audience. A lot of people say that being happy is always the answer to their problems. But is being happy always really good? That question floated in my head the moment I finished watching Disney’s Inside Out.

How Our Emotions Should Play A Part:

Joy: Makes Us Happy, Optimistic And Energetic

Joy is the feeling of selflessness that connects you spiritually to people or to a god. It is the feeling of deep satisfaction and pleasure when making peace with who you are, why you are and how you are.

It is also an emotion that makes us glean the importance
of having a positive mental attitude, positive energy that fuels us through our daily tasks. Being joyful increases the chances of favorable outcomes when facing challenges.

Fear: Protects Us From Potential Danger And Harm

Fear has been deemed “bad” and is often blamed to be the reason why people couldn’t come to their full potential. However, fear is our emotion that signals us when we feel like we’re in a dangerous situation or we come to potential harm.

Overcoming a certain fear that interferes with your goals in life is good. But overcoming fear, in general, is not. A great example of the importance of fear can be seen in this short video by Nata Metlukh entitled “Fears”.

Disgust: Saves Us From Being Poisoned Physically And Socially

Disgust plays a bigger role in our lives than just making us squirm and wince at every disgusting thing. It is the emotion that triggers our avoidance behavior on things that we dislike or that can potentially harm us.

Because of disgust, we won’t be able to eat or interact with rotten foods and wastes, thus saving us from potential physical harm such as infection or diseases. The same goes with interacting with toxic people that can cause harm to our social life in connection to our well-being.

Anger: Promotes Sense Of Justice And Motivation

Many complain about their anger to make them do something rash and regret it after their anger subsided. But when done right, anger can be turned into a positive energy by fueling your motivation in reaching for your success.

It is also a natural reaction when we are wronged by someone and a way to show that we are not pleased with something. Moreover, it motivates self-change, letting us glean into our own faults and learn from it.

Sadness: Helps Us Manage Troubles Better

Sadness doesn’t need to be avoided at all cost just to pretend that you are happy. Sadness is an important emotion in our lives. And more importantly, sadness is not depression.

It is a social signal that we either need some time alone to think about things by ourselves or when we need someone to talk to. Because of that, social interactions will improve that prompts other people’s feelings of empathy which can lead to closure and amicable social interaction.

Why Happiness Isn’t Always The Answer

From the movie, Joy made Riley experience happiness one too many times. So when the time came when Joy disappeared(or happiness doesn’t seem to be found in that situation), Riley couldn’t find the perfect emotion to express herself.

One of the things that makes happiness dangerous is that people can have the tendency to make rash decisions and judgments as well as take hasty risks.

Each and every emotion has a corresponding function that can be applied in every situation that we get to experience within the duration of our lives. There is a time and place to be happy. Anger gives us bursts of strong energy, motivating us to overcome obstacles, fear alerts us to threats, disgust activates our avoidance behavior to things that might harm and sadness promotes empathy.

Conclusion

I consider myself as a very cheerful person. But I noticed that one way or another, my body is balancing itself by making me cry excessively when I am just watching a simple sad movie. And sometimes, when I feel like I am stressed so much, a good cry or a short burst of anger is what I’ll need to bounce back up.

The key to a happy and well-managed life is balance. Achieving happiness doesn’t always mean for you to feel joy. Forcing yourself to feel happy doesn’t make you happy.

All of our emotions are in a balance. In a circle of interconnecting channels that answers to one another. Without sadness, we cannot identify or know what happiness is. Just like moments when there is no trouble, we cannot know what peace is.

Feeling other emotions is what makes us human. If we embrace all of our feelings good and bad alike, only then we can find true happiness and peace with ourselves.

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