Throughout my life, a particular question has plagued me. Whether I was…

🧍12 years old, at a birthday party, or

🧍17 years old, walking in the halls of my high school, or

🧍26 years old, in a new town for graduate school, or

🧍30 years old, in front of a classroom, or

🧍40 years old, wrangling my young children, or

🧍50 years old, working to build a book coaching business…

this question popped into my head without invitation.

Would anyone notice if I wasn’t here?

I have been conditioned over my life, whether by family, school, or society, that external validation is the only thing that matters.

But guess what? The other 12-year-olds at that birthday party weren’t offering that up. 🙈 They were way too interested in prank-calling boys from our class and blowing up marshmallows in the microwave.

It’s taken me 51 years to realize where that question comes from. It’s human nature to want to belong; in fact, it’s biologically hardwired into our brains. Where I’ve gone wrong is assuming that I need other people to tell me that I’m good enough or wanted there in order to know for sure that I belong.

Guess what?

Writers do the same thing. 🙏We hand our pages to our writer friends or loved ones, hoping that they will tell us we are good enough.

🙏We submit our pages to agents and publishers, hoping that they will tell us we are worth

🙏 We breathlessly wait for comments or reviews, hoping that they will tell us that we have done the right thing.

Instead, let’s give that validation to ourselves. 

💗Tell ourselves we are good enough, worthy, and doing the right thing.

💗Tell ourselves that just because we have a story to tell, that story is worth telling.

💗Tell ourselves that we – and our stories – belong.

The truth is I will still walk into a room on occasion and wonder if I am, in fact, invisible. That is lifelong work for me. But what I no longer question is the worthiness of my voice, my ideas or my stories.

Because here is what I know for sure:

Our stories matter.

Why? Because stories shape the world. Stories are how we see bits of ourselves in other people and begin to develop acceptance, empathy, and even love for them. Stories are how people bring what’s hidden into the light and start a conversation. ALL STORIES do this.

Your story matters. You deserve to write it and there is a reader out there who needs it.

You and your story both belong here. Never forget that.

And one more time for good measure:

Your story matters. You deserve to write it and there is a reader out there who needs it. 

Need me to say this out loud to you? 😉