THE BLOG
07/13/2015 02:46 pm ET | Updated Jul 11, 2016

Everyone Should Be Required to See "Inside Out"

I want to take this opportunity to thank all those involved in the production and development of Disney•Pixar's film "Inside Out." The film is named "Inside Out" because it is about the inner workings of the mind, which controls how people behave. In the film, each person has five emotions living inside their head - Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust, and Anger. Joy is responsible for our happiness. Disgust protects us from being poisoned or embarrassed. Fear keeps us out of harm's way. Anger safeguards us from unfairness and injustice. Sadness' purpose is not understood and fully appreciated until the very end of the film.

In the beginning of the film, the various emotions don't recognize the importance that each of them holds. However, as the film progresses, they come to appreciate one another and learn the appropriateness of one over another for any given situation. For example, Joy slowly recognized the power of empathy and Sadness' role in that regard.

Empathy involves understanding another person's situation from their perspective. As such, you must be able to place yourself in someone else's shoes and feel what they are feeling and without judging them. According to Dr. Brene Brown, Ph.D., LMSW, "empathy moves us to a place of courage and compassion. Through it, we come to realize that our perspective is not the perspective."

"Empathy is what makes us human" and yet it is in such limited supply these days, as are other aspects of emotional intelligence (EQ). Social and emotional skills such as empathy are also essential to conflict resolution. According to Daniel Goleman, emotional intelligence consists of self-awareness, managing emotions, empathy and social skills. The good news is that "emotional intelligence competencies are learned - and can be improved at any point in life."

"Inside Out" touched upon the fact that people are constantly judging us for everything we do and say and how we react to being judged. It should be noted that empathy is incompatible with shame and judgment.

The film also describes how our core memories impact our personalities and how our "islands of personalities" make up who we are as people.

"Our childhood experiences with attachment figures are where our scripts are written. These experiences develop into core beliefs; the mindsets, attitudes, and expectations that define who we are, how to relate to others, and what roles we play. From before birth and well into childhood, our subconscious receives a tremendous amount of input from which we formulate our beliefs about self, others, and the world.

Without self-awareness, we will be controlled by these outdated beliefs. Awareness of why we make certain choices frees us to make healthier choices."

Our unique backgrounds and life experiences shape our personal values, beliefs, assumptions and biases. Our personal backgrounds have very much to do with our parents and how they raise us. Our life experiences have to do with everything we experience in our lifetime, including people we befriend, schools we attend, courses we take, books we read, our sources of news, etc. This is true for each and every one of us. The question is how much our lack of self-awareness is skewing our perception of things. Ultimately, our life experiences have very much to do with our personal choices in terms of what we do, if anything, to try and broaden our worldview.

On a related note, the following quote from the film holds so true and leads to a great deal of conflict in the world: "Facts and opinion look so similar. They get mixed up all the time." It also mentioned "critical thinking," which is how people are able to distinguish fact from opinion. Of course, critical thinking also requires self-awareness, which most people tend to lack.

All those involved in the production and development of Disney•Pixar's film "Inside Out" deserve every ounce of critical acclaim they are receiving for this film. I cannot thank you enough for bringing these issues to the public's consciousness and doing so in a manner that is captivating, entertaining and educational.