Emotion of JoyOnce a week, our family has a movie night where we order pizza, puppy-pile on the couch and watch a movie. Since this movie’s main character is a 11 year old girl that mostly deal with feelings, I was worried my young boys couldn’t relate.

Boy was I wrong!

The movie I we watch is called Inside out and focuses on the emotions of a young girl who moves from the east coast to San Francisco. Each emotion is personified in some unique characters:

  • Joy
  • Sadness
  • Fear
  • Anger
  • Disgust

see url Since first watching this movie, my boys have seen it about 20 times watching it over and over again. This movie has some great depth to it with each watching, I discover something deeper on these emotions and how they interact.

source site Also, this movie is the first time my boys can personify their own emotions and how they work to form their views and understandings.

I came to a great realization about my emotions from this movie a few days ago. Just as in the movie, we are also moving from one house to another. As in this movie, we found that moving is stressful and requires a lot of work.

Jump for JoyDuring our move, my middle boy said to me, “You seem to have too much anger at your controls.” I responded with, “Okay, let’s have Joy run the show.” At that point, I changed my voice into a high pitch, happy-go-lucky voice and just shower out the joy. I mean, I’m rolling out all the joy I can gather. I’m really laying it on thick just like Joy from the movie. Especially when things get really hard, I just dig deeper to spread the joy.

At first, the other boys didn’t know what happened to me and were concerned I was having another seizure (see my Helplessness post). My oldest boy looked at me in all seriousness and said, “Who are you and what did you do with my dad?” After the shock wore off, everyone started popping with the same joy I was using. The mode of the whole move and work change from drudgery into fun and joy.

Later in the day after our joyful fun, I started feeling really down and depressed. I was feeling extra sensitive and ready to snap at anything. I didn’t understand what was going on, but I was self aware to know something was wrong with my emotional state.

I said my standard, “I have to take care of something,” to my wife and locked myself in our room and lay down with the covers over my head. Once I started to get into bed, I was already starting to tear up.

“What’s wrong!” I said to myself (with the attitude of “What the hell?”). I clearly had the thought of, “Nobody ever acted like that for me when I was a kid.” “My father didn’t do anything like that for me.” “If I was a kid and I said anything like that, I’d be in trouble and get punished!”

Then, all the emotions I had came bursting out of me.

  • Jealousy
  • Anger
  • Fear

At this point, I had to feel and deal with my feelings of jealousy and anger. I was jealous that my father would have never done anything like that for me. Angry that my children have a father who would dig down really deep to become a joyous and fun leader to help them through their work. I was see afraid that I was a horrible father who would have jealous feeling over his children.

Once I felt those emotions, I was able to reassure myself that I was okay. That I was going to be the father that I never had. I was able to be silly and joyful even in tough times. I was able to enjoy the fun I had with my children.

Now, I still need to exercise my “joy” muscles so it comes more natural.

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