Why I am thankful to “Sadness”

I was brainstorming on what to write this time. Maybe I should write about scientific facts like how to better understand the way your body reacts to the Covid-19 vaccine? Or how to deal with ongoing uncertainties? Maybe I should share about any K-dramas or movies that are worth watching after work?🤔 Then it suddenly hit me, ah I remember about one movie, an animated one actually. The one which I did not expect to cry while watching it. You’ve probably heard of it too. It’s the ‘Inside Out’! Yeap, that is right, you’re reading it right. You must be wondering, “Why would a 21 year old young adult (the age when I first watched it) cry watching this?”. Well, it’s because of “Sadness”.

Growing up, I always thought that I was weird because sometimes I get sad over the smallest things. The stupidest one would be when someone replies to my text message more than 5 minutes after I sent it because it made me feel insignificant (luckily that was more than 9 years ago). I would also cry for so many reasons, mostly when I am alone. Some of the reasons would be feeling homesick (because I went to a boarding school for 5 years and went studying abroad for 4 years), feeling demotivated, feeling helpless when I cannot deal with my problems like an adult, feeling devastated when I cannot do anything when my family is sick, feeling insecure and the worst kind, is when I feel like I didn’t do well in something. Sometimes out of nowhere, I would feel like I am being an ungrateful person and would only cause a burden to those around me. Yeap, I had a lot of things going on in my head, and eventually all that will make me feel gloomy. I don’t know about others but for years, I have always felt like I am weird for feeling all these and being sad for the smallest matter. Then, I met “Sadness”!

For those who did not watch the movie Inside Out, it was about the relationship between one’s cognition and emotions. In this movie, there were 5 emotions being personified, which are Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Anger, and Fear. Each of these emotions serves different functions for Riley (the main child character).

Okay, so when I started watching ‘Inside Out’, I was so annoyed at how controlling Joy was. I felt that she was being a bit annoying by not giving a chance to Sadness to play her role. At the time, I get that it is important to stay happy at all times but sometimes you just can’t help it. It is very crucial to grow up as a happy child, hence the need for Joy to have little to no Sadness. And then, the incident happened. The sadness-touched-the-memory-ball situation happened, which caused some of Riley’s core memories to almost become blue (because Sadness is blue in color and any memory ball will become blue if she touched it), and causes Riley to be reminded of her not-so-happy memories and made her sad. Then Joy started to save the day and another accident happen when they were both accidentally thrown out from the Headquarters (controls Riley’s emotions and actions), leaving the 3 emotions to take charge. Imagine having only these 3 emotions to go by each day. It was already tough for Riley because she just moved to a new place and for an 11-year-old child, it can be very overwhelming and challenging to adapt to a new environment.

To cut things short, while Joy and Sadness were trying to save the day by bringing back the core memories to the Headquarter, they met Bing Bong, Riley’s childhood imaginary friend. He also wanted to help Joy and Sadness. Then, they fell into the Memory Dump spot where all the forgotten memories are. He was also beginning to fade, as a sign that he is being forgotten by Riley. He became really sad and their rescue mission came to a halt. Desperate to continue the mission, Joy tried to make him happy again by making silly faces and doing funny things, which obviously didn’t work. Then, Sadness did her magic. She talked to Bing Bong and empathizes with him. Sadness took her time to listen to him and acknowledged how hard it must be for him and how sad he must be. Bing Bong then started crying wrapped candies and Joy became frustrated with the delay in their rescue mission and she felt as if Sadness was making it worse. After the whole crying session, to Joy’s surprise, Bing Bong then wiped his tears and stood up and became determined to save the day! He managed to get the vehicle flying as high as it can and got on the train of thoughts when then brought them to the Headquarters. Joy was mesmerized and began to see Sadness’s value from the whole Bing Bong situation.

Why is it so important to put the core memories back at the Headquarters? Because those memories are the ones that shaped Riley’s personality. When they are not there, Riley became a bit lost and she felt empty. She was too filled with fear, anger, and disgust (because they were the only ones controlling her and the control panel was broken) and was already on her way to run away from home. Just when Riley’s bus was about to depart, Joy and Sadness reached the Headquarters, with the core memories. They saw that the controller was broken. Joy then asked Sadness to take charge of the control panel. Sadness took out the bulb thingy. Riley then came to a realization and got off the bus and ran back home. There, she saw her parents panicking and worrying about her. At that moment, Joy passed all the core memories to Sadness and let her touch them. All the core memories became blue. Sadness then puts all 5 core memories back into where they belong. All of the good and full-of-love memories were flashed in Riley’s mind. Sadness then touched the button on the panel and the whole thing changed to blue. Riley then burst into tears. Her parents hugged her tight and comforted her. She told her parents what she felt the whole time. Sadness and Joy then held the last core memory and touched the panel together. Riley smiled warmly while hugging her parents. Amazingly, another core memory was created with a mixture of both blue and yellow color! And that’s how Sadness saved Riley.

Actually, when Joy, Sadness, and Bing Bong were at the Memory Dump, Joy realized that in one of her core memories – which Riley had lost the hockey game, it was through Sadness that she experienced an amazing feeling called compassion. Riley received compassion from both her parents and friends making her feel comforted, loved, and closer to them. This memory then turned into a very meaningful core memory for Riley. This was one of the reasons why Joy decided to entrust Sadness in taking charge of the control panel when Riley was about to run away.

Now you see why I am thankful to Sadness? Basically, Sadness taught us to acknowledge our pain instead of pushing it away. Sadness is actually a crucial component of happiness. Without sadness, we will not appreciate the joy that comes after that. Sometimes we just need some time to acknowledge the pain, embrace it and share it with someone. Only then we will feel a lot better and slowly recover from the pain. Pushing it away and forcing yourself to be happy at all times is not the best solution. Like what was mentioned in Greater Good Magazine, the 4 main lessons we can get from the movie are that happiness is not just about joy, never try to force happiness. Sadness is also vital to our well-being and to embrace instead of suppressing tough emotions. So if you are feeling sad, remember to take your time and allow yourselves to heal!


Mira Rhyme is a content writer under Headliner by Newswav, a programme where content creators get to tell their unique stories through articles and at the same time monetize their content within the Newswav app.
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Mira Rhyme
Author: Mira Rhyme

27 years old yet still discovering my interests and passion 🙂