62 Inside Out: on Emotions & Holiness

inside out christian

Emotions are barely discussed within the faith context, and if they are, often negatively. Pixar’s Inside Out opens up much needed discussion about how emotions are misunderstood / misused, while also providing us a map for Christian holiness.

Excerpt from episode

“… The second reason why suppressing our emotions is a bad idea is because emotions are complex, and the presenting emotion is often masking another emotion underneath. This really, is the great lesson and revelation of Inside Out … where Riley learns that embracing sadness actually unlocks joy. While her childhood emotions were all simple and one coloured per se, her maturing adult emotions are in fact multicoloured and complex. This truth has great resonance with us. Take for example, two of the most suppressed and misunderstood emotions for Christians – anger and guilt. Have you considered that anger is only ever the presenting emotion and that anger is always masking another emotion underneath like… hurt, or loneliness… or fear, or helplessness? Hence if we were to squash anger out of consciousness, we would also lose all the other emotional data underneath it, emotions that in fact deserve our attention, if we are to remain sane! See we never get away with ignoring anything in our psyche, it will manifest in our lives one way or another… depression, weight gain, sleeplessness, destructive thoughts, passive aggression, physical sickness, pimples, just to name a few. Same goes with guilt. We ignore exploring guilt at our own peril… for true guilt always arises out of the conscience, that still small voice of God, compelling us to repent… “

Recommended reading

Owning Your Own Shadow – Robert A. Johnson (Robert is a Catholic author who is also well versed in Jungian psychology)

Atlas of the Heart – Dr Brene Brown (Brene is a bestselling TED speaker and author The Gifts of Imperfection which is also worth reading if you want to explore vulnerability and shame)

Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self – Fr Richard Rohr (Franciscan priest and author of many books such as Falling Upward)

Sanctuary (video series) – Catholicism and Mental Health (It’s a free sign up! Includes 8 well presented and researched videos, for private use, or for parish)