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The poet e. e. cummings wrote:

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.

If e. e. is at least close to being right, it raises a question: How do we get hold of this? How can we fight this battle?

Suppose, for example, there is someone in your life who is just a little too frustrating. You can respond to that person like everybody else would. Or you can get creative: find a way to respond like the one-of-a-kind human being you are.

Or, think of all the things we experience in a day: the routine, the problems at work, problems at home, successes and failures, dreams and frustrations, busyness and loneliness, and more.

We can handle these just like everybody else. Or we can seek to bring a sense of our whole, unique self to these experiences—which makes the day feel more purposeful.

I believe life calls us to that.

Life calls you to take your stand in the world-as-it-is—with your eyes and heart wide open—and affirm your life. It calls you to be alive where you are and be the person only you can be and fill the place that only you can fill in the way only you can fill it.

Really, that may be our only job. And it’s a good question for our quiet times.

Because I don’t think we want our epitaph to be: He/she was just like everybody else.