To those who dare to put themselves out there, to be vulnerable and honest, I applaud your brave hearts. This issue celebrates you.

Let’s be honest, it is hard to open up and share personal things. The concern of being judged or rejected is deep-seated. It is not our initial inclination to divulge our innermost feelings, thoughts, or even life experiences. It is, however, one of the most effective and powerful ways to connect to another human being.  

Through our shared humanity, we see each other, or maybe better put, that we see parts of ourselves in others. This expands our understanding, and ultimately, strengthens our compassion and empathy. We relate to one another in new ways. It is through this connection that we can heal, grow and even thrive. 

It certainly isn’t easy, but it is worth it. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable can promote healing, provide access to support and encouragement, create a sense of belonging, and even deepen the intimacy in our relationships. Allowing ourselves to show up authentically is liberating. 

I encourage you to explore how vulnerability plays out in your life. When and with whom do you open up, and what parts of yourself do you let them see? It is a delicate balance of trust. Trust in the timing, in the relationship, and trust in yourself. Over time, it does become easier, and the rewards become greater. 

This publication has been instrumental in my exploration of vulnerability. I have always been fairly transparent in sharing my struggles with those close to me, and over the years with those I knew I could help with my story. I have felt the power of vulnerability and connection. 

Now, through the magazine, I am experiencing it on another level. I am putting myself out there on a larger scale and in front of people I have never met. At times I feel very exposed, but more often, I feel embraced. This community has been overwhelmingly supportive and embraced my vision. This is a passionate endeavor, and my heart is on my sleeve. 

As with anything, there will always be critics, but I have found that they are few and far between. It’s those that express their appreciation and share how stories within the magazine resonated with them that carry me forward. It’s those that stand in the arena with me, that dare to get vulnerable, to get dust on their face and roll up their sleeves for the betterment of others. It’s those individuals that hold my attention and have my eternal gratitude.

It is not the critic who counts, not the one who points out how the strong man stumbled or how the doer of deeds might have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred with sweat and dust and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, if he wins, knows the triumph of high achievement; and who, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt

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