6 Lessons From Pixar’s Inside Out


I don’t usually blog about movies, but this is not ordinary movie. Whether you come from an Internal Family Systems approach or a Parts Perspective or are just a living breathing human being; this movie is worth the investment. I was excited to see this movie since the first preview was released. This is one of those movies I will own. While Inside Out is advertised as a children’s movie, it is so much more than that. I watched this movie with my husband and my 18-year-old bonus daughter. My entire family is used to me crying through just about any movie, but my bonus daughter was crying as well. I was surprised to say the least. This movie has a phenomenal message. Allow me to share with you the main things I got out of this movie.

  1. Emotions are complex creatures: In this movie there were a few different emotions. They included joy, anger, fear, disgust, and sadness. At times through out the movie it would appear as if there was a hierarchy of which feeling was in charge. And in the exact next moment it would become clear that there was no such hierarchy, it was almost an every feeling for itself kind of world.
  2. Emotions and feelings don’t always co-exist very well: At one point during the movie, joy becomes frustrated with sadness. Joy basically tells sadness to get lost and the fall out is detrimental. Is that not similar to how it happens for most people? I’m a firm believer that every feeling and emotion has a job and a responsibility. I also struggle with the concept of certain feelings being positive while others are negative. In my mind every feeling is what it is, the problem lies in our response to the feelings.
  3. Everyone has emotions: I really loved how the feeling parts were not just limited to the daughter, but the mom and the dad had them as well.   I have encountered countless people who attempt to explain that they don’t have feelings or emotions. In my experience, nothing could be farther from the truth. I suspect this movie was accurate in their depiction of the feelings, in that everyone has them, but frequently people are not aware of them. I have become somewhat of an observer of people. In that process I have noticed that people who claim to not have feelings, are just not as in touch with them as others are.
  4. All feelings are necessary: If we all lived in the world according to me, I would never ever experience anger. It’s not my go to feeling or emotion. It doesn’t leave the safe and satisfying feeling in my soul. But I have come to believe that each and every feeling is necessary and valid. Let me just play this out for you. If you never experienced any sadness do you think the joy you feel would be as strong or as powerful? If you never experienced fear do you think the love you feel would be as strong?
  5. Everyone has core memories: This was an important revelation for me. Through out the movie, something happens to the core memories. Prior to this, I had not given much thought to the core memory concept. I suspect that all people have positive core memories and some less than positive core memories. It is those very memories that shape and mold who we are as a person. For me, the memory of walking up and down the road looking for my favorite pet rock stays with me.
  6. People still don’t understand the subconscious mind: As someone who specializes in the subconscious mind this saddened me. In the movie the subconscious mind was described as a dark and scary place. This saddened me (while I understand that it’s most people’s perceptions) because I absolutely love the subconscious mind. I also suspect that once you understand how your subconscious mind works and how to change it’s programming; your perception and relationship to it changes as well.


Jenn Bovee, LCSW is a spiritual life coach and psychotherapist. Learn more about her here: www.JennBoveeLCSW.com