A Poet’s Advice ~ e. e. cummings

A real human is somebody who feels and who expresses his or her feelings. This may sound easy. It isn’t.

A lot of people think or believe or know what they feel—but that’s thinking or believing or knowing: not feeling. And being real is feeling—not just knowing or believing or thinking.

Almost anybody can learn to think or believe or know, but it’s very difficult to learn 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.

As for communicating nobody-but-yourself to others, that means working just a little harder than anybody who isn’t real can possibly imagine. Why?

Because nothing is quite as easy as just being just like somebody else. We all of us do exactly this nearly all of the time–and whenever we do it, we are not real.

If, at the end of your first ten or fifteen years of fighting and working and feeling, you find you’ve loved just once with a nobody-but-yourself heart, you”ll be very lucky indeed.

And so my advice to all young people who wish to become real is: do something easy, like dreaming of freedom–unless you’re ready to commit yourself to feel and work and fight till you die.

“Self-absorption in all its forms….”

Self-absorption in all its forms kills empathy, let alone compassion. When we focus on ourselves, our world contracts as our problems and preoccupations loom large. But when we focus on others, our world expands. Our own problems drift to the periphery of the mind and so seem smaller, and we increase our capacity for connection – or compassionate action.
Daniel Goleman