1. "Why are you so afraid of realizing your potential? You're so much better than this." - Ken Cheeseman, a theater professor i had in college
    After a class in which I had been majorly holding back during a scene study, he took me out to lunch and called me out on my BS. The combination of being deeply seen and accepted but still asked to rise to the challenge changed the way I felt about myself at the time.
  2. "When you're kicked by an ass, consider the source." - @Larry, my dad
    We were out to dinner celebrating my first book deal, and we ran into a high school teacher of mine. I excitedly told the teacher my news, and he made no attempt to disguise his disbelief about my success. I tried unsuccessfully to hold my tears back during dinner, but my dad knew exactly what was wrong, and he knew exactly what to say about it.
  3. "You only have so much room in your psyche. You have to get rid of some stuff." - @ReReinSF
    I was trying to convince her (and myself) that I shouldn't have a long-needed confrontation with someone about something that had been bothering me. But when she framed it as being spiritual and psychological clutter it suddenly made sense to me, and I began to see dealing with the issue as a form of housekeeping, which made it so much less scary.
  4. "Stop apologizing. Have some respect for yourself and try taking up a little more space in the world." - a mean but wise girl I went to college with
    Right after I helplessly tried to apologize after she was rude to me in our dorm bathroom. I had a bad habit of trying to absorb the blame of every interaction at the time, and even though she was totally disgusted with me for my lameness, she gave me permission to take up more space in the world.
  5. "You need to be a writer." - @ouizoid (my mom)
    She's been saying it since I could hold a pencil, and the longevity and consistency of her insistence on it keeps me believing her, even when I don't necessarily believe it about myself.
  6. "I want you to know 2 things: you are okay. This is totally run-of-the-mill turbulence, but I totally understand why it feels scary. Also, I have Xanax if you would like one." - the woman sitting in front of me on a very bumpy flight from Burbank to Oakland
    I was having a horrible response to the shaky airplane, holding back tears and gripping my armrests. Hearing from someone outside of my own head that I was okay was perhaps the best antidote to fear I could have asked for. The Xanax helped also.