You matter.

Originally published on The Pastry Box December 1, 2015.

If you forget everything else I’ve written for The Pastry Box, that’s the one thing I hope you’ll remember. You matter.

You are a valuable person no matter your race, the gender you identify with, the country you’re from, who you find attractive, what religion you practice, how well you practice your religion, or what your education level is.

Your value is not dependent on the kind of work you do. It is not dependent on the volume of work you do. It doesn’t even depend on the quality.

Even if you quit your job today and spend the rest of your life on your couch picking your nose and watching Married with Children reruns, you have an intrinsic worth that no one can take away from you.

It is not dependent on how many of your body parts are working “as expected”. It is not dependent on all of the expected ones even being present. You can have a chronic illness, a mental health issue, a disability, or a temporary injury. You are not broken. You are valuable the way you are. You matter.

It doesn’t matter what your emotional state is. You can be stressed, angry, happy, terrified, or in mourning. How you feel, and how you present your feelings, do not determine your worth. You don’t have to smile for a stranger to be a valuable human being.

You matter regardless of what car you drive, what operating system you use, whether you format code with tabs or spaces, what sports you follow, what teams you follow, what your hobbies are, what languages you speak, what cuisine you eat, or whether or not you use the Oxford comma.

No one matters more than you do, because you are the only you we have.