It has been said that a person can be one’s worst critic. What happens when one becomes their most hurtful enemy? How does one tolerate the inner dialogues that are presented as verbal assaults that loom within and finds the exact moment when one feels at their worst to attack; suggesting that one is not good enough and may never be? Shaqualah Gooden, filmmaker of Introspection, depicts a female protagonist’s raw stream of consciousness, offering the audience an intimate exposure of the attempt to tame an unyielding harsh inner voice articulating the unwelcomed feelings of disappointment, pain, hurt and shame.

Introspection, “a reflective looking inward: an examination of one’s own thoughts and feelings” according to Merriam Webster’s Dictionary, (2019) presents as an invitation to explore one’s personal inner self. When presented with disappointments, overwhelming fear regarding one’s abilities and how one is received by others can flood rational thought. The pain of loosing an opportunity that has the ability to make life better can provide a fertile ground for self-doubt and self-deprecating thoughts. Further, additional logistical layers of adult responsibilities, such as finances and caring for children and family, can compound emotional distress; multiplying the impact of the disappointment exponentially.

Gooden creates a character faced with an experience that leaves her questioning her capabilities, her importance in the world and her self-worth. She is challenged regarding whether she is equipped to provide and care for herself and her children. The pain in the character’s tenor makes for a powerful view of the quality negative self talk can have in what seems for the audience will be an endless voyeuristic observation of abuse; where the perpetrator and victim are one in the same; the self of this character. Gooden’s ability to guide the audience upon a journey of pain, fear and anger to regrouping and recovery leaves one feeling emotionally bruised, yet hopeful that the protagonist will be able to abandon the assaultive self-doubt and gain a sense of hope, confidence and compassion.

Arriving at self-compassion can serve as an act of recovery, one that takes some mere minutes and others a lifetime. Introspection illustrates that the process of looking inward can be a painful, revealing aspects of oneself that would feel best to be unseen. Though self-compassion may be unsuccessful at abolishing self-doubt in its entirety, it can quell its volume and provide opportunities to regroup from negative experiences and feelings, whilst ushering one to a place of forgiveness and ultimately self-love.

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“Introspection.” (2019). Merriam-Webster, n.d.,