I have found movies instrumental to my own self-development and personal growth for years. At first it was unknowing and unintentional, just happenstance that a particular movie had a strong emotional cathartic affect that left a lasting impression that motivated me to grow. I then had a therapist that gave me therapy assignments to watch movies that we explored and discussed in detail during our therapy session. We discussed emotional responses and insights learned by analyzing the parts of the movie that create strong emotional responses. When I was in graduate school watching movies was part of my class assignments, we analyzed characters there behaviors and the symbolic meanings drawn from the movies. So, when I got my first job as a counselor and I was assign to facilitate the movie therapy group I had and understanding of the therapeutic value of movies.
In a short space of time a movie can stimulate and elicit many different emotions and if we pay attention to our emotions we can gain insight into our own character and emotional health. If we dare ask ourselves the important questions, what does my emotional response to this movie or character say about me? Becoming aware. Being mindful. Being in touch with our inner self.
If we take the time to listen to our emotions we can learn about ourselves while watching movies. When a character makes me angry, what is it saying about me, that this character made me feel angry. Or what does it say about me that I felt sad. Movies can promote healing, growth, and inspiration. When we dare to ask ourselves important questions about we have the emotional responses to the characters and events we can open ourselves to gaining insight to our hidden character. I found by paying attention to the emotions and feelings towards the characters and events in movies help provided insight into my state of being.
While watching a movie in my mid-twenties I found a particular aspect of the movie having a lasting emotional consciousness. The movie was Terms of Endearment. This movie helped me gain insight to the fact that I was holding resentment and anger towards my parents. When I got in touch with my feelings and gain insight into my negative believes about myself and my family, I was able to make changes in myself that improved my relationship with my parents.
When watching a movie for personal growth and insight take the time to pause the movie and replay scenes that enlist emotional responses. Take notes. If you are watching the movie with a partner or friend, discuss and compare notes on how a character or scene made each of you feel. Write down questions to think about and explore.
When watching movies for personal growth it is as important to pay attention to the characters you dislike as well as you liked. It is as important to ask yourself what does your dislike of this character say about you. Beyond the fact the character was a bad person. When we get to a point in our own personal growth to answer the hard questions we can learn to not only accept others humanity, but our own humanity.