Recently, I went to see the animated movie Inside Out. For those of you who haven’t seen the movie, Inside Out personifies 5 emotions (joy, fear, sadness, anger and disgust) in the life of an 11-year-old girl named Riley as she goes on an emotional rollercoaster after her family moves from Minnesota to San Francisco.
What struck me the most about this movie was the scene where Riley came back to her parents after “changing her mind” about running away from home, how her parents just held her close and empathized her feelings of sadness and frustration about the move, instead of punishing her for running away. This scene encapsulates our intrinsic need to feel understood, accepted and loved in spite of life’s challenges and the life choices we make along the way.
Life may not always a bed of roses, there are moments of sadness, anger, fear, disgust, and joy (just like the characters in the movie!) associated with each life stage/transition. As much as we want to be cheery even in the face of challenges, sometimes, it is allowing ourselves to experience the other emotions and having others experience them with us and stay present for us that helps us anchor and cultivate resilience and strength when times are tough.
Moving away from cherished childhood friends or familiar surroundings can be daunting for children, as can negotiating break-ups or major life decisions be for adults. Knowing that we need not face these challenges alone and knowing that there are people (including our team of caring and trained counsellors) who we can reach out to for support can be helpful.
Counselling Intern, The Counselling Group