Took the boys to see the movie 'Inside Out' and it was FANTASTIC! We all loved it.
I've just read this article called "Four Lessons from 'Inside Out' to Discuss with Kids" which highlights the deep things the film has to say about how our emotions work. It's pretty heavy reading (the film is not heavy!) but is a really good piece for articulating the deeper lessons the film carries. And it's actually bloody good from a sobriety perspective.
Through cute cartoon characters and cool animation what the film tells us is that happiness is not just about experiencing joy. Joy is only one element of happiness. Only when we experience all sorts of emotions - both positive and negative - do we find true happiness.
Only by fully experiencing all emotions do we achieve a deep sense that life is good, meaningful and worthwhile.
If we try to be happy all the time we actually end up miserable (sometimes subtly, without realising it) because the more we expect and strive for constant happiness, the more disappointed (and less happy) we are likely to be when we can't achieve this goal.
This makes good sense to me. When I was boozing I wanted to be 'fun' and 'upbeat' Mrs D all the time. I didn't want to be sad - no way! Nor did I want to be angry. Now that I am much more at peace with the sad and angry versions of myself, overall I feel much happier with myself.
Yes we have to prioritise positivity (by doing things that make us feel good), but not at the expense of avoiding or denying negative feelings or the situations that cause them.
Sadness is important. It makes us empathetic. It helps us connect deeply with people, and that connection is a crucial component of happiness. Seems crazy to acknowledge that sadness is a part of happiness but that's what this movie is all about!! The blue cartoon character 'Sadness' actually emerges as much as the hero as the perky 'Joy' character does.
This quote is from the article; "With great sensitivity, Inside Out shows how tough emotions like sadness, fear, and anger, can be extremely uncomfortable for people to experience - which is why many of us go to great lengths to avoid them. But in the film, as in real life, all of these emotions serve an important purpose by providing insight into our inner and outer environments in ways that can help us connect with others, avoid danger, or recover from loss."
I went to great lengths (glug glug) to avoid tough emotions for most of my adult life, until I was nearly 40 and took alcohol away. Since then I have been learning how to accept and deal with them.
It's been a rough process (sometimes not fun at all) but overall - without a shadow of a doubt - I am happier now than I have ever been.
Think about that. I feel sadness and anger and stress and frustration and disappointment much more keenly now than I ever have. Yet overall I am a much happier and more content person now than I have ever been.
I might still very occasionally get a sad thought about not-drinking (see my last post) but that is just a tiny blip in my mind's horizon.
No way do I miss booze. I'm enjoying getting to know myself far too much to want that shit back in my life.
Love, Mrs D xxx