EllenIllustration Communication Expert and Kimochis Education Director, Ellen Pritchard Dodge, M.Ed., CCC-SLP connects with Pixar’s Inside Out

“Pixar’s Inside Out is a communication game changer for our planet! This box office hit takes our world beyond happy, sad, and mad to get people fluent with talking about a wide range of feelings (not just the feelings we enjoy having). In my opinion, the character Sad stole the show even though Joy was the lead. Joy kept trying to “joy-up” Sad. After all, it is hard to be around sadness. Sad teaches Joy and our world the importance of sadness and other challenging feelings and how to express them alongside our happy and other easy to have feelings. A huge Kimochis thank you to Pixar for putting feelings on the map!

And, the other day, I personally experienced the ramifications of the feeling footprint Inside Out is making. I was having a really, really hard day. Anyone who had even an ounce of ability to read facial expressions would have known I was feeling sad. I was Pixar’s Sad that day. My words, my voice, and my body language were dragging just like the character Sad in the movie.

On that day, I ran into a mother and her young daughter who both knew my work with Kimochis. The mom compassionately asked, “Ellen Dodge, are you okay.” Instead of hiding my feelings (to spare her my pain and to help me not have to feel), I used my Kimochis tool and put my brave in front of my fear. I answered honestly rather than giving the conventionally expected, “fine.” I said, “No, I am having a really hard day.” The mother’s face lit up with compassion and she asked in the softest voice, “Can I give you a hug?” I wished I didn’t need a hug, but in that moment, I did.

The most important part of the experience was watching the little girl’s face show how she felt so, so bad to see me in my sadness. She was also experiencing her mommy’s compassion. Pixar gave me the language to let this girl know what was happening and that it was actually a really good thing that I was feeling sad. I said, “Did you see the movie Inside Out?” She nodded. I shared, “Right now I am feeling sad and your mommy is noticing and bringing me some of her joy. And, guess what? She made my sad a little smaller.” The little girl beamed with understanding and pride that her mommy was making things better for me. That entire feeling experience was brought to the three of us by Pixar. That little girl knew exactly what was happening and felt comfortable in the midst of my sadness. Pixar has magic!”

The Kimochis Characters on Pixar’s Inside Out

From Clover … “Sadness was so funny when she was being dragged around the floor. Sometimes I feel like I’m dragging my feelings around even though I’m hiding them from my friends. Like Riley, I’ve learned that when you share what you’re REALLY feeling, it’s easier to BOUNCE and get the spring back in your step!”

From Bella Rose … “I just love Riley. I’m just like her. I felt SO SAD and cried when she was missing Minneapolis. I would have closed up, just like she did. Hey…when I’m feeling insecure and alone, maybe it’s just my Joy that is ‘lost’??”

From Cloud … “Anger was my guy. He was great. And Joy. Loved her, too. But, mostly Anger. Do you think Anger (or Lewis Black) could learn the calm-down breath like I have?”

From Lovey Dove … “What a wonderful way to teach children (and adults!) that we have so many emotions that can even be in conflict with one another. I was a little worried about the youngest audience members, but I bet there were a lot of great family conversations on the trip home from the theater!”

From Bug … “Maybe I’m too young for this movie? It was a little scary for me … especially the clown (but I closed my eyes, so it was okay). I really was glad to see Fear. It made me feel like I wasn’t the only one feeling scared. I’d like to show Fear how I’ve learned to put my brave in front of my scared feelings. I think it would really help him, too.”

From Huggtopus … “I loved Bing Bong! I love Bing Bong! Bing Bong, Bing Bong, Bing Bong … it’s so fun to say! And everything was so colorful and beautiful and creative! And … memory. WOW. I love imagining my memories like THAT. It was SO GREAT!”

From Cat … “I was proud of Disgust for taking charge when Joy and Sadness were missing. Disgust was funny and, uh … a little bossy … kind of like me. I’ve been working on my tone of voice with the Kimochis Keys. Did you notice how Riley’s tone of voice changed when Disgust was in charge? It got her into a little bit of trouble with her parents. I get into that kind of trouble sometimes, too. But there’s always a chance for a redo … just like in the movie!”

From Hero … “Sadness was the true hero in the end, but seeing all the feelings—Anger, Fear, Disgust, Joy, Sadness—and Riley’s parents work so hard to protect the girl they love really warmed my heart.”