Gamification Expert &

Behavioral Designer

I have not been touched like this for a long time

This is a short clip titled “Validation”. Its about 16 minutes long but I think every minute is worth the watch (I rather you watch it instead of reading this blogpost).

This film touched me because I felt a lot of empathy towards the main character, and it triggered some of my hidden emotional reactions that I didn’t even know was there.

I have always tried to make others in my life happier. When I was in kindergarten, I felt that because people around me (especially my family) were living such sad lives, I had no right to be unhappy and drag them down.

Empathy towards a guy who had no right to be unhappy

I had to be happy, because peoples’ happiness depended on me. When everything is falling apart in life, I at least would be that pillar of happiness that holds everything together. Consequently, whenever I cried during my childhood, I felt ashamed and hid from others.

Today, my friends say that I’m one of the most optimistic people they know. They tell me that talking to me makes them happy, no matter how down is the situation. They also say that I am extremely emotionally stable, and that’s because I do not want to ever be an emotional burden to others.

I needed to be the one who is calm and happy when others are down. If I ever become emotionally unstable and need others to help me feel better, I feel that I not only failed in my responsibilities, I have become a burden to others.

My goal in life is to make others successful, and its like a sharp blade through my heart whenever I know I’m being a burden to people instead.

People who seem happy all the time would still appreciate the right to be upset

But the truth is, sometimes I do become upset.

Sometimes I feel that people take advantage of my constant attempts to put others before me, and I occasionally would express that unhappiness to people.

The sad thing is, whenever I do express such unhappiness, people are not used to it coming from me, and they become very defensive, asking “what in the world is your problem?” When people confirm my sad belief that I have no right to be sad, it depresses me even more.

Why should the child who cries all day get whatever he wants, while the child who also wants to cry but recognizes that her parents already have enough troubles in life for them to worry about her get nothing? And when she finally can’t stand it and starts to cry about something, her parents might not understand her unnoticed pains but just become angry at her for raising more problems (she should know better!), while they appeal to the other child who cries all day.

I hate it when life gets better after I become ANGRY

Whenever I feel upset because of the way people treat me (and that is VERY rare), people seem to get mad at me even more.

It is only until I become ANGRY that people recognize that they have been taking things too far.

For some reason, whenever I become angry, all my relationship problems are solved.

There suddenly is peace and harmony in the world, and these people treat me with basic respect again.

And that’s just a result of saying mean words.

But why do I need to become angry for things to work out? Can’t I just simply point out that, “this is making me upset” and people can answer politely with, “oh, I apologize for making you upset. I’ll try not to do it next time”.

For some reason, it never works out like that. They always need to come up with an excuse to say that it’s actually my fault, and then question why would I need to become so difficult.

A weakness for sorry

Btw, I am a huge sucker for the word “sorry” (note, this is not “OK, I’m sorry!”).

In elementary school, I’ve had older kids bully me for an entire year (including practicing jump kicks on me and spit a whole mouthful of water all over my face), and when they frighteningly apologized after that day I became angry, I was no longer upset about them.

How easy.

In high school, there was a girl who for some reason hated me and always took initiative to hurt my feelings whenever she could (including saying things like “some people [me] don’t deserve to have a Chinese name,” purposely opened another door and slammed it when I opened the door for the entire class, and told others not to talk to me), and when I confronted angrily with her after trying to be a gentleman for an entire year, she apologized so many times and said it’s just because she had a lot of stress in school and unjustifiably dumped it all on me.

I was happy again afterwards. Yea, that easy.

Sometimes it makes me angry how easy it is for me to become happy again just because they used a simple word to wipe out an entire year of abuse, but its not really something I can control. I just become happy.

It amazes me how some people still manage to continuously make me upset when I am so easy to handle in that sense.

The main character in the film reminds me of how people often value what you offer but not who you are

Anyway, in the film (spoiler alert), this is a person who constantly strives to make others happier. Everyone enjoys what he brings them, but they don’t really appreciate him as a person.

After he becomes sad (he has full right to become so), people seem to not only be disappointed, but MAD at him!

No one even tried to comfort him and ask him why is he upset. They just blamed him for not making their lives better anymore.

His boss even fired him even though he was still doing his job right.

Yea, now he owes the world everything because he stopped being happy and is just functioning like everyone else.

All he needs is someone to reciprocate what he has always been doing!

At the end of the clip, when the girl finally says the same positive things back to him, he says in such wonder, “No one has ever said that about me before…”

When he said that, it touched my heart and almost made me choke.

He’s been trying to make other peoples’ lives better without asking for anything in return, as seeing them being happy is enough for him. But all it takes for someone to make the best day of his life is to simply reciprocate what he has been doing his entire life!

Hypercrisy as a new word and a way of living

This is like the opposite of being a hypocrite. I looked up the root word of hypocrisy, and saw its a combination of “hypo” (under) and “krinein” (to sift or decide”).

If holding a lower standard for oneself compared to others is hypocrisy, then I will call holding a higher standard for oneself compared to others “hypercrisy”.

So yea, I won’t say I’m noble and extreme as the guy in the clip, but it is true that I somehow involuntarily put everyone else’s happiness before mine.

I hope to be content in my practice of hypercrisy, where it is normal for people to treat me worse than how I treat them, and when people treat me in the same manner, that’s like flowers from heaven.

I know some people would admire the guy in the film a lot. I actually don’t.

I just felt all his happiness and his pains, and I felt a true connection with him. Sometimes watching other people can allow you to understand what makes yourself happy in life.

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7 responses to “I have not been touched like this for a long time”

  1. Thanks so much autom for the encouragement! I feel like people should be able to articulate how they feel in an intelligent process no matter what age they are in. It is a right that no one should take away. True, some people don’t know how they feel, that’s why learning about yourself is a life long journey!

  2. great vid..the cop looks a lot like a buddy of mine and thought maybe this was shot in T.O. but nah. you have the benefit of youth to be able to freely express yourself frankly and emotionally. your attempt to articulate how you feel is an intelligent process and in time you will benefit from recognizing what is not only consensually valued but (and more importantly) what also matter to you most. keep on truckin dude! you’re doin a great job – a

  3. WOW amazing video… That was one of the most inspirational and moving things I have ever seen in a long time..

    I’ve had a lot of the same experiences as you did growing up and even now I find myself constantly putting other people’s happiness first before mine. It’s great take a step back at times and look though the actions and thoughts of someone else to find out more about your own individual self.

    Thanks for sharing this.

  4. @Jun: You are such a wuss.

    @Scotty: Hey! Thanks for commenting. I agree with what you said regarding tormenting. However, I don’t think its from guilt as much as it is from lacking amiable social abilities. The kids who tormented other kids are used to dealing with people in dysfunctional ways, and since in the “real world” its all about building relationships and helping each other out, they feel more and more isolated.

    Haha, I think holding yourself to a higher standard than others is a great concept to stay happy and bring value to this world. Afterall, you cannot change other people in this world. All you can change is how you feel about things and how you deal with them.

    I checked out your site. Look forward to having more intriguing conversations with you in the future!

  5. Wow, what a great film with a great message. Thanks for sharing your own powerful story in the accompanying post. Growing up, I found the kids who tormented other kids were the ones most tormented themselves.

    I am intrigued by the concept of reciprocal being the opposite of hypocritical. That seems to be an idea worthy exploring further. @scottyhendo

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