I’ve just been trawling the internet for a plush toy of Sadness from ‘Inside Out’. I don’t know if you’ve seen that movie yet, but if you haven’t – get onto it as fast as you can! It’s like a bargain therapy session. I’ve been encouraging some of my clients (and friends, and family, and pets… and some strangers) to watch it, because I think some of the messages in it are so valuable. I’ll try to talk about them without spoiling the movie for you too much.
I love the message of allowing feelings to be, and knowing that each has a role to play. When was the last time you made space for sadness, anger, envy, guilt, boredom…? And I mean really made space – been willing to accept their presence for as long as they’d like to stay? I’ve noticed that we tend to more commonly do something else with these guests – like try to ignore them, avoid them… Sometimes we try to kick them out, or at least check every five minutes to see if they’ve left yet. Ironically, it’s this suppressing and pushing away that tends to cause more suffering than the feelings themselves ever intended.
Next time you notice one of these feelings that you might normally try to evict as quick as possible, I’ve got an experiment for you to do. Try saying hello, and address it by its name – this is polite. Step back – have a look at it. How big is it? Where do you feel it in your body? Does it have a colour, a texture… a certain consistency? Just observe and describe, and give it some room, then notice what happens when you do.
And after you watch ‘Inside Out’, let me know if you find a good plush Sadness that we can buy. She’s my favourite. I think she’d do a great job sitting with clients in our waiting room, and when she’s not at work, I wouldn’t mind having her around at home.