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A Helping Hand: Inside Out

A few weeks ago, I took my daughter (who’s three) to see Inside Out. I knew that some of the concepts would be above her head, but I’ll take any chance I can to take some “us” time, sans screaming-velociraptor-of-a-teething-brother.

I’ve been looking forward to this movie since I saw the preview what feels like ten years ago. I’ll preface this blog by saying that I’m a Disney fanatic, and even more specifically, a Pixar addict. But, to be honest, you don’t need to like, love, or even care about Pixar or the Disney Empire to enjoy this movie.

This movie is striking. Hands down incredible. Life changing. And no, I’m not exaggerating.

If you know anything about me as a person, you know that my family has been through a lot. We’ve struggled with family members who have depression, dealing with the impact of that journey, and struggling with the taboo that is mental illness. But mostly we’ve fought with feelings.

My entire life I’ve struggled with guilt, anger, and shame with how I’ve responded and reacted to life in general. I kept thinking, “I should be happy. I should handle this better. I should be okay”. And because I wasn’t, I would come to the conclusion that I was broken, different, and wrong.

I wish I had this movie.

I’m a believer in the power of words, of common experience and most importantly validation and normalization.

Have you ever wondered why, when you’re going through a hard time, that when someone says “It’ll be okay” the phrase falls completely on its ass? Because they have no idea. They have no knowledge, no ability to predict the future. They don’t know that it’s going to be okay. And it does nothing to address how I’m feeling now. (I realize I’m using a lot of italics, but this is important, okay?)

What several psychologists, therapists, and every other kind of “ist” has discovered when helping a person through a tough situation is that what we really need to hear is that we are normal, that what we are experiencing, what we are feeling, is okay.

Normalization and validation works for all ages, any human. When my daughter comes over to me and says she sad because an older girl ignored her, I don’t tell her “it’s going to be okay”. I tell her that what she is feeling is okay, and that I have those feelings too.

We are humans, we want to share this life with others, and we don’t ever want to feel alone, broken, or abnormal.

And that’s where we come back to Inside Out. This movie explores the feelings of an 11-year old girl, showing how we can feel two feelings at once, and that we don’t always have to be happy. In fact, some of our strongest, most bonding experiences come from the experience of shared sadness.

This is why I love Reno Moms Blog. I love that when we share our deepest, darkest fears and shames, we find that we aren’t so alone after all.



About Lindsey Sanford

Lindsey Sanford
I’m an ultimate Frisbee loving, marketing exec who loves Reno a little too much. I knit, I read, I write, and I love long walks on the beach. I’m trying out this new “standing-desk” thing – and finding that it’s not quite so bad. I’m a recent mom of two, my little one was born on September 21st, and I still can’t sleep. Above all else, I believe in being honest with our struggles, to paint a more accurate picture of what motherhood means – leading to a supportive community of fellow swimmers.


  1. Great post! Can’t wait to see this movie!

  2. I work with families of young children, and I am ALL ABOUT validating feelings and helping families and children learn social-emotional language. If an adult I cared about were to be dismissive of my feelings after a tough day at work by saying, “You’re fine. It’s okay. No big deal.” it would feel awful. And we do it to children all the time. Hopefully we can start these conversations in earnest.

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