I don’t have to be Happy all the time

A couple days ago I watched Inside Out for the first time. It was a pretty solid movie, although I can’t imagine how it can be a kids movie. I’m genuinely curious how kids react to the movie…the plot seems a bit nuanced for the young child’s mind, so I wonder how they would embrace the story and the intricacies.

Unfortunately, I’m old enough to not solely be attracted by the bright colors and fun animation. After watching, I took a walk and let the movie sink in. Suddenly, out of the blue (ha), I realized I didn’t always have to be Happy.

When the movie started, I loved Joy. I love how cheerful she always was, and how she can always save the day and make anything work. I related to her — I strove to be like her in real life. I really try to be the eternally bubbly and happy friend who can always provide a good laugh and bring up the energy level in the room. I restrict my negative emotions, only letting them show when I’m alone, and occasionally, when I’m with close friends.

And yes, Sadness annoyed the hell out of me. Let your life together! I thought, why are you rolling on the ground?? I wanted to whip Sadness into shape and get rid of all the negativity, and it really bothered me when sadness was in despair or whenever she touched a happy memory.

But somewhere in the middle, Joy had an epiphany. It was only when Riley showed sadness that her teammates and parents were able to comfort her and turn a sad memory into a happy one. Joy realized she couldn’t just ditch Sadness — Sadness was an integral part of Riley.

I don’t know why it took Inside Out for me to realize this, but I don’t have to be Happy all the time. Why did I feel the need to? I didn’t want people to feel bad for me; I wanted to always present my best self to others. But when I see people showing concern for people who are visibly not okay, I get jealous and think I’m in a worse place than he/she is, I’m just not showing it or complaining about it! I’m not saying I’m going to be outwardly emotional and sad all the time now. But at least now I can allow myself to be sad sometimes, and not beat myself up for it. It’s human and it’s a part of all of us. And maybe if I let it slip one day, someone will comfort me too.

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