“You Are Awesome” — Notes On Validation (Kuenne, 2007)
Because the past year has been truly awful, I found myself watching this short film at past two in the morning. Could be a message from the universe, I tell myself, as all things can be, I suppose. Or it could just be exactly what it was: a black-and-white musical short that wanted to talk about validation, in relation to both the parking ticket and our seemingly continued search for proof that we have a right to exist in the here and now.
How often have I told the people in my life I am thankful that they exist?
And in a mishmash of clichés, here’s the lesson I keep on teaching myself as I grow older: that it is more important to be kind than to be right. That daily life is already full of encounters that are bound to be painful, so why add my voice to the cruelty? Every time I open my mouth these days, I allow myself a split second to think: will this hurt?
We are living at a time when we are surrounded by so much hate. The fifteen minutes that make up Validation gave me comfort. It doesn’t pretend to be anything other than a short that explores the establishing effect of kindness, as well as the power of words, the psychology of it. If it becomes saccharine at one point, it’s because the fault is mine—I am jaded and broken, and I might need to hear some affirmations about myself more than once before I can even begin to believe them.
Perhaps something to practice daily: to say thank you instead of I’m sorry, to unfold from the protective embrace I’ve given myself, to reach out to people I love, to fill the spaces with words, to test the truth of my gratefulness.