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Many times over the last few days, people have come to me to share pretty much what are different versions of the same basic fear. “I want to say something but I’m too scared of speaking up.”

It tells you just what kind of world we have created for ourselves, doesn’t it? To have all these intelligent, creative people clamping down on themselves because they’re too scared of expressing who they are. To have all the wit and wisdom brewing inside these people voluntarily suppressed because others might not approve.

I’m no stranger to this kind of fear. In fact, I grapple with it every day. Every time an idea for a blog or Facebook post pops up, I struggle with getting it out there and hitting the publish button for so many reasons.

What if people don’t like my post enough?

Will they like this photo with the post?

Or will they think I’m just another attention whore?

What if people won’t get it?

What if they get it but think I’m full of bullshit?

What if they think I’m too intense, too passionate, too much for my own good?

And what if all they think is true and I may have to eat my words in the future?

All of these thoughts confront me EVERY SINGLE TIME I am about to hit the publish button. And yet, I hit the publish button anyway.

You know why?

Because the world needs people who make it a point every day to be more of themselves. The world may not need to read the exact words I’m putting down, but the world needs more of people like us—people who hid in the shadows, sat on the sidelines, watched the world pass us by like we were some nobody on the street but have decided they’ve had enough of that.  

You don’t have to post regularly on Facebook like I’m doing. There are many ways of speaking up. I just chose this medium simply because this is what’s available to me.  

It’s not the easiest thing to do.

To share my often unpopular opinions about things going on in the world. To challenge currently accepted ideas encouraged by the same crop of thought leaders. To be honest about my own feelings and write about them in long and winding Facebook posts despite the shame that surrounds long and winding Facebook posts about feelings.

I long for a time when I no longer get extremely anxious thinking about people’s reactions to my posts. Until then, I will have to power through the anxiety, knowing full well that whatever people think, say, or do, I am worthy just the same.

And this I say to people who, like me, are scared to death of speaking up.

You, too, are worthy.

You, too, have something important to say.

You, too, are needed.

It may not yet be clear to you just how the world needs you, but it does. The world needs your voice, your gift, and your light. It needs you to show up in all your blinding glory—and, yes, that includes all your weird little quirks and flaws—every single day.

Too often, we hear people in their business suits saying the world needs more people to solve the world’s problems. And yet, too seldom do people acknowledge that the world’s biggest problem is not that we’re running out of food or fuel. It’s that too many people are running away from the things that light them up.

What lights you up?

It’s said that whatever scares you the most is what you need to do. And that’s true. I’ve seen it over and over again in my life and in others’. Whatever scares you the most is what actually lights you up.

So you can sit there and do what you and I have done most of our lives—that is, sit on the sidelines and wonder why nobody sees just how worthy we are, all the while confronted every day by the notion that all you really needed to do was to turn up the light.

Or you can get out there and speak your damn mind. Sure, some people will have their opinions. But guess what? None of what they think about who you are, what you do from the heart, and how fabulous you are matters. The only thing that matters is what you think of yourself.

And if you don’t think of yourself highly enough, well, girl, we’ve got a problem because—contrary to what you may think—the whole world, no, the whole fucking universe thinks more than highly of you.

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