Battle of Emotions: “Inside Out” Movie Review

Yesterday, we watched the animated film Inside Out and I must say that I really enjoyed it. I actually cried a few times. It promotes a lot of important lessons that are relateable even for adults. Whenever I watch movies catered for children, I always keep my mind open for subliminal messages that they might pick up from the story. I guess it’s because of my profession (as a Speech-Language Pathologist) and my exposure in teaching young kids for more than 10 years. I don’t consider myself an expert, but I always try to understand how children process and learn information. I believe that children as young as 4-5 years old can comprehend the lessons I listed below. I encourage you parents to discuss these insights with your children because kids these days take in everything they hear and see from media. It is wise to make sure that what they pick up and interpret from movies and cartoon shows are safe and morally correct. Here’s some of what I got from the film and I’ll try to keep it short. (spoilers ahead)



  1. It’s okay to be SAD. We should never dismiss and hide legitimate feelings of sadness. The movie showed that it is perfectly alright to express our feelings (in a healthy way) to the people who love us.
  2. SADNESS doesn’t last forever. It is only when we confront the underlying reason and face our emotions do we learn to address the problem, and eventually overcome it. I love the idea of how JOY always comes after SADNESS. It reminds me of how God understands our human tendency to feel low and depressed, but He still promises us that He will be with us as we go through them and emerge victorious. Amidst all the heartaches and trials, we can still experience JOY because of Him.
  3. Be open to express your true feelings to your FAMILY. They love you and they will always (they should) be willing to listen and understand.
  4. Whether we like it or not, our memory will fail us. We won’t be able to recall all the beautiful events that transpired in our lives. This is one of the reasons why I like taking and printing pictures with family and friends. Pictures serve as memories immortalized forever. To be able to capture a memory and keep it with you for the years to come is a powerful gift that we must not take for granted. So to parents and lovers, don’t be ashamed to make scrapbooks and journals where you can store memories and revisit them as if they just happened yesterday. That way, your grand-kids can see them too!

“…be careful that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery…” Deuteronomy 6:12

This is also why I keep a prayer journal online where I can at least TRY to document God’s faithfulness in my life.

5. When Riley’s dad tried to goof around with her but to no avail, I got emotional because I imagined how hard it must be for the parents to feel that their children have already outgrown them. They no longer enjoy the activities they once loved doing together with their moms and dads. It might not mean a lot to the kids, but deep down I know parents would feel hurt and unwanted when their children would brush them off so easily. This is a reminder for myself and to those of us who still have parents: be gentle and considerate to the first two people who loved us and who will always love us more than their own.

6. Lastly, some advocates for children with special needs expressed how this film helps teach Social Thinking. Children who have difficulty regulating their own emotions and comprehending other people’s emotions may benefit from this film as long as they are guided to understand about the different feelings and what situations bring about these feelings.



  1. Riley was controlled by her emotions (the Emotions’ Headquarters). Whichever emotion won defined who she was and shaped her character. She always reacted based on how she felt. It is very true that our emotions direct how we live our lives,but only IF WE LET THEM.

Children might come to learn that all their emotions are VALID, and in effect, they cannot control it if they suddenly feel upset, angry, or the need to throw a tantrum. I don’t find it impossible if they will reason with their parents that, “Mommy, ANGER won!”. So parents, be wary of what your children learn from these adorable characters- Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust, and Anger. Although these emotions are real, they do not and should not control us. I’ve read Og Mandino’s The Greatest Salesman in the World many years ago and his words stuck with me:  Today I will be master of my emotions” . (I included an excerpt from his book below). We are to be the masters of our emotions, and not the other way around. If we live by the Scriptures, God becomes our Master. The Holy Spirit should be the one to control and rule over our desires and emotions.

2. Empathy is something we should model and intentionally teach children at a young age. This was not the focus of the film. Inside Out is all about encouraging children to explore their emotions and understanding where their feelings come from. In a sense, it is saying that all children’s feelings are reasonable and legitimate. They have the right to feel that specific emotion because of the situation they are in. Subtly, this may lead children to grow up thinking they are ENTITLED to feel what they feel. They are entitled to their own opinions, emotions, and decisions. Some will say that’s perfectly fine. But the danger lies when they don’t know how to EMPATHIZE and UNDERSTAND other’s feelings. So, before our children grow up with that mindset that their emotions are always right, let’s teach them to be SENSITIVE–sensitive to what God wants us to feel and sensitive to how others might feel.

I’ll end with this. Just yesterday I was leading Nursery and Kinder students in church to sing praise songs. I started with a familiar song- “I’ve got JOY down in my heart”. I introduced the song by saying something like, “The song says that we have JOY in our hearts. Why do we have joy?”. Suddenly, one kid interrupted me and said, “No, Anger.”. Another kid followed and exclaimed, “Disgust”. Another kid laughed and said, “Sadness”.

Our second song It’s So Good to Know taught us that we are never alone because God’s always with us. I went on to explain, “Now that we know God is always with us, we don’t need to be scared. Right? It’s so good to know this. We should be happy”. Another kid said, “No, sad.”

Maybe they were just hungover from watching Inside Out, but I felt worried that they might have taken the wrong lessons from the film. Emotions are powerful and they CAN control us. If they found Anger funny, Fear cute, and Disgust cool, what would stop them from imitating these characters without full comprehension of what these emotions entail and cause? Let us be involved in what our children are learning. Media is not a safe haven for children…not anymore. So let’s make sure that media takes the back seat when it comes to parenting. We need to put our foot down and fulfill our responsibilities as their true parents.


The Scroll Marked VI: Today I will be master of my emotions 

Each day, when I awake, I will follow this plan of battle before I am captured by the forces of sadness, self-pity and failure –

  • If I feel depressed, I will sing.
  • If I feel sad, I will laugh.
  • If I feel ill, I will double my labor.
  • If I feel fear, I will plunge ahead.
  • If I feel inferior, I will wear new garments.
  • If I feel uncertain, I will raise my voice.
  • If I feel poverty, I will think of wealth to come.
  • If I feel incompetent, I will remember past success.
  • If I feel insignificant, I will remember my goals.

Today I will be master of my emotions. Henceforth, I will know that only those with inferior ability can always be at their best, and I am not inferior. There will always be days when I must constantly struggle against forces which would tear me down. Those such as despair and sadness are simple to recognize, but there are others, which approach with a smile and the hand of friendship, and they can also destroy me. Against them, too, I must never relinquish control –

  • If I become overconfident, I will recall my failures.
  • If I overindulge, I will think of past hungers.
  • If I feel complacency, I will remember my competition.
  • If I enjoy moments of greatness, I will remember moments of shame.
  • If I feel all-powerful, I will try to stop the wind.
  • If I attain great wealth, I will remember one unfed mouth.
  • If I become overly proud, I will remember a moment of weakness.
  • If I feel my skill is unmatched, I will look at the stars.

Today I will master my emotions.

**entry made on FEB.20, 2016

Love Yourself First?

“You need to love yourself first!”

“You’re doing this for you!”

“You deserve more!”

Christina Aguilera and Whitney Houston share this message in the these famous lines from their powerful songs: “You are beautiful no matter what they say. Words can’t bring you down.” and “Learning to love yourself, it is the greatest love of all”.

These are just some of the advice we normally hear from families, friends, articles, and media to help us feel better about ourselves. That’s what they all say: we need to love ourselves first! If we won’t, who else will?

It sounds so comforting and empowering, so soothing to the ears. I have to love ME first because I am special and beautiful! What a daily boost for my self-esteem. I can almost agree, but somehow I can’t help but find this to be misleading. And sometimes, I wonder, am I really worth loving? Or is this self-deception?

Why should I love myself? Why do I deserve more? Why am I worth it? Why am I beautiful? Self-declaring my worth—well, is that enough?

I love myself for WHO I AM. Why? Simply because!

-“I have literally shed blood, toil, tears, and sweat just to earn my education degree. This achievement is mine and mine alone, and I am proud of myself for it. I have set myself apart from others with my education. What I know defines who I am.”

-“I excel in my chosen profession and I have earned the respect and admiration of others. How influential I have become proves how valuable and indispensable I am. What I can offer to this world defines who I am.”

-“I am loved by friends and family. Making others happy is where my life derives meaning. To be loved and appreciated in return validates my existence. Being loved defines who I am.”

-”I am beautiful. I may occasionally struggle with my imperfections, but I love myself because I know I am beautiful. My standards of beauty is not skin-deep. I am beautiful because I am educated, I am successful, I am kind, and I am loved.”

Sounds about right, right?

These reasons may very well be true. But if this is how we view life, no matter how noble, selfless, or innocent it all seemingly appears, we are trapped in a winding and exhausting road. Still don’t see it?

To say that “I love myself for who I am” actually puts us in this position where we have to constantly answer the “why” part by proving to everyone else and most especially to ourselves that we ARE worthy through our education, our successes and achievements, our relationships, our looks (let’s admit it, particularly looks), and our character.

What happens when our knowledge is found to be lacking? We’d either end up feeling less significant or we’d compete to be significant by consistently trying to be ahead of others. What if we’re stuck in a job that doesn’t measure up to what we really know and love? Wouldn’t our life appear dull and meaningless, and wouldn’t our self-esteem decrease? When we see others happy and successful, we tend to look at our own achievements and we try to do more because it’s just not enough. When will “enough” be enough? How can we say we love ourselves when we know we haven’t done enough? “Contentment is the answer!”,as some will say. But to reach the point of contentment, we have to embrace thatwho we are and what we have is already enough, complete, and beautiful. How can we reach that point when the standards of “enough” is…relative.

We may be selfless to the point that we keep giving just because it makes us happy. But what if our presence is no longer wanted and appreciated? Wouldn’t we be crushed? When our love is rejected and unrequited, we will be left to feel undeserving and lacking. Why? Because we derive meaning and value from the people who love us.

If they stop loving you, you stop loving you.

We can never be beautiful/handsome enough because the world’s standard is perfection. To convince ourselves that we’re beautiful because of who we are and what we’ve done may be the quick fix for some. But then again, is our identity and accomplishments the measure of our beauty? What happens if who we are becomes insufficient, and what we’ve done becomes unsatisfactory? What happens to our value?

Some will say, “Those who truly love me (my parents) know my worth and they know I’m beautiful. They’re opinion of me is the only opinion that matters.” But that’s the thing, it only matters to you. To the world, your parents and the people who care about you are nobodies. No matter how hard they convince you that you’re special and beautiful, that’s sadly not enough.

When our goodness falls short in the eyes of others, we either try harder or we dismiss it like we don’t care…until we eventually do, or we reaffirm our value and our good intentions from the people who love us.

Bottom line: Our Value is Extrinsic.

I can end this post right here and most people would say, “That’s just the way it is. Just focus on the people who value you for who you are and love you unconditionally”. But that’s the problem. In this world, there is no such thing as unconditional love. I believe the closest form of perfect and unconditional love comes from parents. Then again, parents and children are flawed. Disappointments are inevitable because we are human. And the painful reality is that not all parents love their children. Relationship between friends and even husband-and-wife require, at the very least, one condition- that love and respect are reciprocated. Otherwise, a choice would have to be made whether one will still commit to and maintain that relationship.

So what’s my point? Unless we have an intrinsic value, I don’t know how we can love ourselves and at the same time find true and lasting joy—the one that we don’t need to keep earning to deserve. Unless our worth is not determined by what we know, what we can do, what we have, who we are, who we love, and what others say, then we are stuck in an endless pursuit of being meaningful, being significant, being worthy, being beautiful.

Forgotten truth: Our Value is Intrinsic.

Warning: For those who believe in evolution—that our entire existence is merely by chance and devoid of meaning and purpose—then you will not agree with what I’m about to say and sadly, your value will always be extrinsic.

When our Creator (yes, that would be God!) made us, He created us with an intrinsic value. No one can add to or subtract from this value because it is the highest value we can ever have. Are you ready? The Maker of heaven and earth has already declared to the whole world since the beginning of time how much we are worth when He put Jesus, His perfect Son, on that cross. Our life cost Him His Son! Did you get that?

Your life is worth that much to Him, and it’s not because you deserve it. You find your true worth not in what you have done, but in what He did for you, because He loved you.

And the thing is, the Creator is the only one who is truly credible to dictate our value. I will not allow others to determine my worth because they are no better than me. Humans. Flawed. And to dust we shall return. Whether we like it or not, only God’s opinion truly matters, and not just to me and you, but to the world. His say is the final say. When our minds are able to fully grasp and embrace this truth, our lives will never be the same again! Knowing that we are loved by our Maker and that we are precious and priceless in His eyes is what defines our true value. Some of you might be thinking, “mm-hmm…then what?”

If we truly believe this, our outlook in life would completely change. Life would no longer be an endless cycle of finding meaning, earning love, and being worthy. Our motivation for education, for career, for accomplishments, and for relationships would no longer be to validate our existence and to determine our significance. God already did that for us. He already did that for YOU.

You are not lacking, rather, you are made complete in Him. Nothing and no one can make you any more special than you already are. Finding your self-worth in this truth liberates you and allows you to truly give—give love, give time, and give yourself to others for the right reasons. And you will never run out! Love in its purest and perfect form—God’s love—fills you to the brim. Everything that you do and give will be an out-pour of that love that you have received from Him. And His love is a source thatnever runs dry.

Now, we can go on pursuing education, excelling in our chosen profession, treasuring our relationships, and doing selfless deeds with a different mindset: we give much because we have received much. We can give because we are complete.

This, my friends, is where we determine our self-worth. This is how we experience true and lasting joy. This is the starting point in discovering our purpose. This is why we can love others. And this is WHY we can love ourselves… and feel beautiful.

Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Of course, this is easier said than done, and too often I find myself caught in this trap of living for others so as to affirm my sense of worth. It is a constant struggle to remind myself to look solely on the Cross, to remember what exactly took place, and to realize how my life has been changed.

So, for you to test and know whether  your self worth is extrinsic or intrinsic, you must ask this question: “What gives my life meaning?”

*entry made on AUGUST 14, 2015