“Almost anybody can learn to think or believe or know, but not a single human being can be taught to feel. Why? Because whenever you think or you believe or you know, you’re a lot of other people; but the moment you feel, you’re nobody-but-yourself.

To be nobody-but-yourself — in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else — means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.”

E. E. Cummings

What does it mean to feel?

What does it mean to experience something as yourself and not as per the influence of others on “how” you should feel?

We feel when we let ourselves be. When we truly allow our mind and body to react as they do, not as we think they ought to. Our thoughts and perceptions are molded by our environment — by the people we grow up watching, the people we interact with, the people that raise us, directly or indirectly. Not everyone is cognizant of this influence, but there are those of us who can pinpoint exactly where certain phrases, hand movements, facial expressions, style of laugh, style of smile, or body language have been picked up from. Thus, most of those are learned behaviors, unlike that of feelings.

Although many people are unfortunate enough to be told how they should feel in certain scenarios or society tries to dictate how one “should” feel to be considered as having an “appropriate” reaction to an occurrence, this is not how feelings operate. How you feel about something comes from within you in the form of an involuntary reaction to the situation. How you truly feel about something is your first reaction to it. Not the reaction afterwards where you recalibrate what is expected of you in that moment, but rather the reaction you naturally respond with.

To accept who you are and how you respond to the world, without the influence of perceptions and thoughts, is your acknowledgement of nobody-but-yourself. Society would like nothing more than for you to forego this acknowledgement and bend to the “norms” it or the infamous they have defined as appropriate. But to live and to breathe as nobody-but-yourself is the greatest feat of them all. It’s not an easy one, anyone who’s done so or is doing so can vouch for this, but to live as oneself, for oneself, and in spite of the world’s assault against it, is one of the most admirable achievements in life.

Thank you, Sushant, for showing the world how beautiful a soul can be when it is nobody-but-itself.

Sushant Singh Rajput (1986 – 2020)
In honor of Sushant Singh Rajput, the late Bollywood actor and brilliant mind, on the anniversary of his passing, and for the loss of such a beautiful soul.

To be oneself
And no one else
Is a feat itself
Among all else

The world attempts
Day in and out
To make you change
What you’re about

Oh what strength
If in all that
You remain you
One can respect that

– Akiti –

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