Our Unique Self

“Every person born into this world represents something new, something that never existed before, something original and unique. It is the duty of every person…to know and consider…that there has never been anyone like him in the world, for if there had been someone like him, there would have been no need for him in the world. Every single person is a new thing in the world and is called upon to fill his particularity in this world. Every person’s foremost task is the actualization of his unique, unprecedented and never recurring potentialities, and not the repetition of something that another, be it even the greatest, has already achieved.

"The same idea was expressed by Rabbi Zusya when he said a short while before his death: “In the world to come I shall not be asked, “Why were you not Moses?’ I shall be asked, “Why were you not Zusya?”

--Tales of the Hasidim by Martin Buber


Notice what situations, circumstances, or people trigger the habit of comparing ourselves to others, which is one of the greatest obstacles to self-value or self-respect. It is the opposite of trusting Buber’s statement of saying yes to the being that you are, an unprecedented reality that is not duplicated anywhere else in the world and has its own unique contribution. Take an action every day to increase your self-trust.

Develop a simple practice of saying yes to yourself everyday. Stop for a moment, pay attention to what is going on inside you, and acknowledge it in a neutral way, without inflating or deflating what is there: “Yes, this is what’s here.” Meet it without judgmental awareness, let it be, and then move forward. John Welwood, psychologist and teacher, calls this practice, “Letting Yourself Have Your Own Experience.” 

What fosters your being yourself? Where do you trust and respect yourself? How are you fulfilling your particularity in this world?

-Author unknown