This is Important: You are Important

We live in such a funny world.  Have you noticed how “success” is heralded as pretty much the main goal (sometimes it seems the only goal).  One where, especially today, promoting, promoting, promoting is all the rage, and it seems like all anyone does!

Yes, you do matter. Because you are uniquely you.  You have a purpose.  A reason to be here. You have a reason to be here.  You matter. You can make a difference.

Social-media outlets are filled with marketing and promotion.  You know the score. And yep, I do this too.  Writers (like every other career and business) don’t have a lot of choice these days, as with 15 million e-books out there alone, well, somehow, some way you have to be seen.  Otherwise all that lovely work you’ve produced drowns a lonely death in the enormous sea.

The real funny part of this is our hero worship of celebrities, of all makes and models, and how because they have achieved great success, they must be somehow better than everyone else.

We’ve all been there, no?  We seek to learn from them how they did it.  But more, we emulate their lifestyles, their politics, their spiritual paths.

Now, I’m not saying that some of these people aren’t great folks.  I’m sure they are.  I’m sure some of them are wise and wonderful in real life.

But honestly, taking political or lifestyle advice from actors or sports stars is kinda goofy.

Just that a vast majority of citizens have made a person famous isn’t a litmus test for that person being a guru.

As an author, I mingle with other authors and writers a lot.  And of course, much of the conversation always centers around selling.  In fact, many writers’ conferences these days are focusing far more on marketing and selling than on the writing itself.

And it shows.  But that’s another topic!

Writers, again, like so many other professions, hone their craft in solitude.  Folks on the outside often comment that it must be a lonely way of life—all that time spent alone in your writing space.

But the essence of it is, just as with anything pursued with heart and passion, if you truly love what you do, the world opens wide rather than closes in.

If you truly love your work, then boom!  The world you create is beautiful and powerful and filled with such passion that you cannot imagine another way.  Any time you’re in the thick of it, your life soars.

That’s when you’re following your bliss.  No matter if ultimately you sell a million copies, or ten.

Okay, so maybe the ten would hurt.

But the point is, it’s in the doing of the thing where you meet true success.

Finding this passion, being in your bliss, is the one thing that answers the question of, “Do I matter?”  Even when “outer” success is not so apparent.

As our culture more and more seems driven by “what about me?” and “am I important?” with people scampering about to become a celebrity so they’ll be important, what actually makes one valuable gets more and more out of reach.

Because quite simply, you are uniquely you.  You have a purpose.  A reason to be here.  And if that’s not popular in the culture in which you live, so be it.  That doesn’t change the fact of what is.

Of course the converse is true as well.  You can become the most famous person on the planet, and if you expect fame to fill you up, well, that’s barking at Mars when you thought it was the moon.  Our world is rife with such examples.  And many of those are tragic indeed.

If you don’t find it within, you won’t find it anywhere.

We all have parts to play in this crazy thing we call life.  You have a reason to be here.  You matter.  What you can give to this world is important.

No matter what the masses say.

And if you live following your bliss, outer accouterments lose their power over you.

As mythologist Joseph Campbell said, “The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.”  A Joseph Campbell Companion: Reflections on the Art of Living

About the Author Susan Malone

Award-winning writer and editor Susan Mary Malone is the author of the novels, "I Just Came Here to Dance" and "By the Book," as well as four co-authored nonfiction books, including "What’s Wrong with My Family?" and many published short stories. Forty-plus Malone-edited books have now sold to traditional publishers.

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38 comments
Roslyn Tanner Evans says March 23, 2016

So glad I learned this a long time ago & I didn’t know Campbell said it: “The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.”

I could never get excited about celebrities, etc, even when a teenager- no heart throbs for me. And success is my being the best I can be as a human being. In my business- doing best I can, learning & growing & yes, I’d like more sales. I believe it will happen as I follow the marketing & sm guides.

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    Susan Malone says March 23, 2016

    You are such a light, Roz. It took me a while to learn this, but not surprised you did long ago! And yep, being the best humans we can be is the greatest form of success 🙂

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Colleen M. Story says March 23, 2016

So true, Susan. I heard an interview with Bryan Cranston–around awards season, not long ago, talking about his role on Trumbo and his success as an actor. He said something to the effect of once you find something you love to do, it really doesn’t matter what comes of it—if you “succeed” or become famous or whatever–because “you’re in love.” Great reminder to enjoy the process!

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    Susan Malone says March 23, 2016

    So true, Colleen! We find that in writing, no? Although I do dearly love when someone loves my book 🙂

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Beverley Golden says March 23, 2016

Great read Susan. I must say I have been feeling the sadness and disappointment in a world where everything is measured by some arbitrary external measure of what success looks like. Being someone who always believed I would be “rich and famous, I have my own challenges just experiencing and accepting the “privilege of being who I am”. There always seems to be another mountain to climb and another challenge to conquer, if only for myself. Having just finished organizing an amazing 100th birthday celebration for my dear mother, Lil, that should be enough of an accomplishment for me and yet I find I’m faced with the “what’s next” syndrome, which I am very aware is a dead end road. Thanks for the food for thought, as it came at a perfect time for me as I reassess what the online world is and will be in my own life as I move forward.

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    Susan Malone says March 23, 2016

    Well you know, Beverley, as authors, we still have time to be rich and famous 🙂 But isn’t it wonderful to fall in love with the journey as we go! And with that privilege of being who we are. And you are such a bright and shining light!

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Renee Groskreutz says March 23, 2016

Thank you for this reminder. It is so easy to forget. Sometimes the idea of having a purpose is overwhelming. What if I am missing the mark? What if I don’t live up to it?

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    Susan Malone says March 24, 2016

    We all have those fears at times, Renee. They’re honest, and stuffing them (denying) isn’t a workable option! What I always do when those questions arise is to sit down, remember where I’m going, look back and where I’ve come, and then realize that even if where I am isn’t where I want to be, I’ve made lots of progress. And can still hit that mark 🙂

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Joan M Harrington says March 23, 2016

Hi Susan 🙂

Totally LOVED this post! Especially when you said and I quote “If you don’t find it within, you won’t find it anywhere.” Absolutely true! We are all here for a purpose and we have to live our bliss and our passion no matter what anyone else is doing 🙂

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts! Excellent post!!

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    Susan Malone says March 24, 2016

    So true, Joan–we ARE all here for a purpose. And isn’t passion and bliss just heaven? The key to life 🙂

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Sabrina Quairoli says March 23, 2016

I love this, Susan. I really needed this today. I think it is so easy to get caught up in the “I wish I did…” statement that reminding me that “I have a reason to be here” really needs to be said. Thank you.

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    Susan Malone says March 24, 2016

    I know that feeling, Sabrina. I was just counseling a dear friend yesterday, who’s having to put one of her dogs down and blaming herself for an incident that happened. Those, “I wish I did . . .” thoughts can sure keep you locked in the problem. When all that matters is really what you do now. And if action is taken based on that reason we’re here, it’s always the right one!

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Kim Iverson says March 23, 2016

I wrote about something similar today. Great post. It’s hard not to get caught up in that phase of promotion and focus on being THE BEST. Whatever that is. I often remind myself that right now while I’m still a nobody though, I can work and mess up, and get better. I focus more on learning to write good stories, and less on trying to be everywhere at once promoting. Such a different feeling. I am more at peace being myself, now that I quit running from who I was meant to be.

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    Susan Malone says March 24, 2016

    Wow, Kim–I love that! ” I am more at peace being myself, now that I quit running from who I was meant to be.” Beautiful! And isn’t it so incredibly freeing as a writer to know that you can mess up, can get better, and nobody has to know the score but you! Writing is a process of inspiration, work, tossing half of it out (and thank God nobody saw it! LOL) and writing again. You just write!

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Christy says March 23, 2016

Susan, you are so right. It is so easy to compare ourselves to others and look in all the wrong places for happiness. It doesn’t come from likes on Facebook or retweets or even blogpost shares (but they are nice 🙂 ) When we compare our back story to the front story (nicely edited I might add) of others it sets us up for failure. Thanks for the awesome reminder that each of us is unique and totally amazing.

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    Susan Malone says March 24, 2016

    So well put, Christy! And isn’t it funny if we do compare ourselves to others, and actually then see what’s going on with them, our lives don’t look so bad after all 🙂 We all have challenges!

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Judy says March 24, 2016

Susan, you are SO right! Our lives, if not lived to give ourselves whatever we need to be happy, is precious. Each day we have a choice. If we choose to spend our day doing things that enrich us, empower us, make us feel good about ourselves, we have had a good day. Passion we have for what we think is important, becomes paramount in our feeling of goodness and purpose. So, Susan, you are absolutely correct!

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    Susan Malone says March 24, 2016

    I love that, Judy–“If we choose to spend our day doing things that enrich us, empower us, make us feel good about ourselves, we have had a good day.” Perfectly put!

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Jackie Harder says March 24, 2016

Good stuff here. I firmly believe that each person has his or her own definition of “success,” and it isn’t always about finances or big houses on the ocean or fancy, fast cars. Personally, I think the most successful people are happy, fulfilled by what they do and kind.

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    Susan Malone says March 24, 2016

    Agree 100%, Jackie! The most successful people truly are happy and fulfilled by what they do!

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Rachel Lavern says March 24, 2016

Hi Susan,

I don’t think much of the people who act as though only people who are “visibly” successful are worth attention. As you stated, we all have worth…immense worth.

My favorite definition of success is the realization of a worthy goal–and I get to define what a worthy goal is.

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    Susan Malone says March 25, 2016

    What a great definition of success, Rachel! And absolutely–we get to define what a worthy goal is for ourselves. Love that!

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Kathy @ SMART Living 365.com says March 24, 2016

Hi Susan! As I think you know I LOVE Joseph Campbell and always appreciate his words of wisdom so thank you for that. But this post also reminded me a bit of Abraham-Hicks when they/she says something like, “remember you never get it perfect and you never get it done.” It is indeed the JOURNEY! And although we know that, remembering that each and every day is the challenge. Thanks once again for reminding me. ~Kathy

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    Susan Malone says March 25, 2016

    Campbell is a mentor for both of us, Kathy! And oh, I love that sentiment from Abraham as well. It’s so freeing! Thank you for that reminder 🙂

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Kristen Wilson says March 24, 2016

I firmly believe if you love what you do, and do it well, with passion, it will shine.. folks will see it and they will flock to you. Great read and omg, love the graphic!

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    Susan Malone says March 25, 2016

    If you build it with passion and love, they will come, right, Kristen? Love that!

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Carol Rundle says March 24, 2016

It’s always good to be reminded of who I am. My mission in life is to connect people with God’s healing love and, although the world tries to drown that out, I know who I am.

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    Susan Malone says March 25, 2016

    And it’s in that knowing that we reconnect with God as well. Love that, Carol!

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GiGi Eats says March 24, 2016

THIS IS such a necessary READ FOR EVERYONE!!!!!! All too often people compare themselves to others, decide their self worth is based on NUMBERS on social media accounts, etc… When really, everyone is so unique in their own right and need to see that for themselves! You have to love yourself and who you are, before anyone else can!

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    Susan Malone says March 25, 2016

    Spot on, Gigi! It’s so easy to fall into the trap of comparing ourselves to others. I only fall into that these days when I’ve pushed too far, and succumb to weariness. But at least now, that’s my trigger to know I’ve pushed too far, and fix that. My mother always said, “You can’t compare lives.” Took me a while to understand all the nuances of it, but her wisdom resonates more clearly with each passing year . . .

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Joyce Hansen says March 24, 2016

When we are young we look at the world around us and try to imitate others thinking that it the way we are suppose to be. Then if we’re lucky, we spend the rest of our life discovering who we really are and looking to fulfill our potential.

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    Susan Malone says March 25, 2016

    Ah, yes, Joyce–the key to life: Spending “the rest of our lives discovering who we really are and looking to fulfill our potential.” Beautifully said.

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Lisa Swanson says March 25, 2016

When I owned a couple of franchises, I thought it was humorous when all the owners would try to do exactly what the “top owner” was doing in order to be successful. They never took into account what aligned with them, and their studio. Do what you love, create what you love and the money will come; more importantly the joy will come too.

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Joan Potter says March 25, 2016

Susan – I used to watch professional ice-skating quite a bit. One thing I noticed is that the skaters at the far, far end of the bell curve are the ones who learned – really internalized – that they should only compete with themselves. When the mantra became “be nice, be humble, work hard,” then “it” happened. They found their bliss, their true passion, and their worlds opened up. We should all be so lucky, no?

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Katarina Andersson says March 29, 2016

Very true, if you are not content or happy with yourseld it is difficult to find contentment elsewhere or from others.

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Psychic Nest says April 5, 2016

We live in a contradictory world. People say everywhere to embrace our uniqueness and stop being comparing ourselves to other people. Then marketing shows up and if we want to succeed, we need to be ahead of our “competitors”. Do you see how this is confusing? It is hard to find the balance between those two. Though I will agree with you Susan. No matter what, we should never stop fighting for what we believe in!

Zaria

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    Susan Malone says April 6, 2016

    We are bombarded with marketing pressure to succeed, to be “better than” our competitors, on a daily basis, no? But you hit the key, Zaria–we can’t stop fighting for what we believe in! It’s our race to run–nobody else’s!

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