With every celebrity meltdown, nasty break-up or cringe-worthy interview, it is not uncommon to watch the lives of many well-known celebrities drop from A-list to no list. Yet, is it our empathy and compassion that keep us tuned in, or is it the idea that we want to see ‘successful’ people fail? How does this translate to us ‘regular’ folk? Do we crave seeing ‘successful’ people in our own lives plummet?

Schadenfreude is translated from the German language and literally means, “harm-joy.” This word represents the idea that pleasure can be derived from the misfortune of others.

The inner voice. The one that narrates and ponders and analyzes and dreams. It’s always there, guiding us through life and moving us along. And – like we’ve all heard before – it has tremendous power to shape our lives, depending on what we feed it.

While we’re aware how negative thoughts breed negative self-image, what about the thoughts that aren’t so easy to categorize as either negative or positive? What happens when our inner voices are littered with questions?

Is this dress flattering? Can I pull off this color? Would I look foolish if I tried something new?

There’s a jar sitting on my desk with dull pencils and writing pens branching different directions like flower stems. I grab one when I want to write, sometimes in the early morning before a long day in the office or late at night when everyone is sleeping. This simple glass holds my growing boldness, proclaiming, “I am a writer.” For many this statement is arrogant because if anyone claims to be an artist in any way, they must hold court in concert halls across the globe, have their work housed in world-famous museums, or make the New York Times bestseller list.

I don’t retract or make apologies though— I am a writer— because of that, I am also an artist. Perhaps you are, too. If you want to declare yourself as one but feel uncertain, then here are three reasons why you should (even if you’ve never sold a painting).

Whether we’re afraid of public speaking, spiders, the death of a loved one, or something more unusual, we all hold on to certain fears that we resist facing. It’s natural to shrink from them, and some fears – like spiders – are just plain hard to be proactive about conquering.

Others, however, stem from half-truths we believe about ourselves or a situation, and they’re something we can work on.

One in four. That’s the number of women who will be victims of domestic violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime. For seven years, I was that one in four. As a result, my ex-husband was sent to prison for 29 years. In the last year, the media has been flooded with domestic violence stories. From a professional athlete attacking his wife in an elevator, to the increase of sexual violence on college campuses, this problem is not one that will go away quickly.

Rather than let my abusive past dictate the rest of my life, I chose to transform a set of extremely traumatic circumstances into a triumphant story. In 2007, I founded H.E.A.L.I.N.G, the first domestic violence ministry in San Diego, which has served nearly 7,000 men, women and children.

One of the most common questions I’m asked is, “How do I avoid entering another abusive relationship?”