I Like You, But I Don’t ‘Like Like’ You

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This all started when my girlfriend told me to check out a new show this season called Empire. She isn’t really too into most TV dramas so the fact that she was really into this one grabbed my attention.  I gave it a few episodes. I could see why people like it. It’s basically King Lear told via the modern day music industry. A very cool choice for Fox I would say.  But at the end of the day, it just didn’t grab me.  I’m already at my ‘TV time’ max for new shows to watch this season so I decided to let this one go.
She still loves it, and the unprecedented ratings growth shows that many others do as well. Am I missing out here? Not getting into a solid show that is getting more popular each week. On paper I can see this is a good show but it just didn’t pull me in like it did for her.  All the while though I have been super happy for her enjoyment of it and all it’s success. It is great to see something a little fresher on network tv.
This got me thinking. “Am I enjoying the enjoyment others are having for this show?” Yes, it seems like I was. Which lead me to ask, “Is this really even a thing?” I was so unsure of this idea at first I didn’t even know how to properly search for more info.
Google search WTF
This lead me to looking into possible words used to describe this phenomenon. At one point I was looking for antonyms of ‘Schadenfreude’. Schadenfreude as some of you might be aware is German for, “The joy or pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others.” With a little digging I found something that I thought would work. The Buddhist word for the concept of unselfish joy: ‘Mudita’.
Mudita means, “Especially sympathetic or vicarious joy. The pleasure that comes from delighting in other people’s well-being rather than begrudging it.” Wow, that’s just perfect!
I also think this being a Buddhist word adds strength to it being the right choice here. The way we come to enjoy the specific things that others enjoy can sometimes feel like we are on a path to some form of entertainment enlightenment that could end up leading us somewhere else all together.

Take Parks & Recreation for example.  I gave this show many, many tries but just couldn’t find its spark. I know, I’m a monster.  But what started out as a journey to find enjoyment lead me to a path of respect and understanding. Not as much of the show but of why people enjoy it. Its great writing, wonderful cast, etc.

 Broad City, Girls, Love Live: School Idol Project. These also fit into this category for me.
Another way of looking at this is when finding something you had an excitement for before fully diving into the content but after doing so being left feeling a little empty. Sure, this can happen when something is overhyped but I’m talking about situations with confirmed quality content.
For example, I’ve never been able to feel the euphoria others have from listening to David Bowie’s early work. He is hands down an amazing artist and I enjoy his music at times but nothing every gave me the ‘wow factor’ feeling outside of playing Ziggy Stardust on Rock Band 3.
Prince, Patlabor 2, Charles Dickens. All great, but are in the same boat as Bowie for me in this situation.
Have you ever experienced the feeling of mudita?
If so I would love to hear about it in the comments below or feel free to hit me up on Twitter at @neumaverick.