What is vulnerability to you?
To be vulnerable is opening up truly and honestly. To yourself and to others. Letting yourself feel your truest feelings and expressing them in words. It’s saying ‘I feel angry’ instead of smiling and being afraid of coming off as unpleasant. It’s about embracing your emotions and saying I know you are there. I love you for wanting to protect me. Thank you for being there. Getting in touch with your core and not being afraid to let people see it.

What vulnerability feels like to you?
It feels like being in touch with my core. Feeling my feelings, my joy, my sadness, my happiness. Respecting them and saying out loud, I feel sad, I feel mad, I feel happy, I feel anxious.

Why are you practicing vulnerability?
Because I have avoided it all my life. Growing up, a lot happened around me that I didn’t understand, I didn’t know how to process. Hell, I don’t even think I knew what I felt. So I learned to ignore feelings that were unpleasant. I stuffed down those I didn’t understand. Recently I have been deathly scared of my anger (I recently discovered it lol). I don’t want to be afraid of my feelings. That’s why I consciously strive to connect with myself. It helps me connect with others without feeling overwhelmed (and I feel overwhelmed a lot).

What’s your response to a violation of you being vulnerable?
My first instinct is to completely shut down. I’m only learning now how to stay open and feeling and just being present.

Was vulnerability encouraged growing up?
It has. In many ways it has. I have made me more aware of who I am and what I like, want, and most importantly realize the life that I want to live.

Who is supportive of vulnerability in your family?
My family is made up of easy, empathetic listeners. I would say, everyone.

Any mentors along the way?
Rori Raye, a relationship counselor at havetherelationshipyouwant.com

What book(s) that helped with this?
Reconnect your relationship by Rori Raye as well as Leadership and self-deception by the Arbinger Institute.

Any advice to a person struggling to be vulnerable?
Start small by being honest with yourself by saying out loud, I feel mad/sad/happy…. (and letting it out there, don’t apologize or justify), check-in with yourself and make sure that is what you really feel.