It's okay to feel vulnerable: not a sign of weakness, but a sign of growth.

Being vulnerable has always had a negative connotation attached to it. Often times in our society, we deem it a sign of weakness when an individual shows vulnerability towards something. Showing vulnerability is letting you express the most honest version of yourself.

Letting yourself be vulnerable sometimes is the best way to be present in the moment.

"In the beginning, people think vulnerability will make you weak, but it does the opposite. It shows you're strong enough to care." ~ Victoria Pratt

Lately, after recently coming back to college, there have been sometimes when I wasn't sure if I was able to be the most authentic version of myself. I tried my hardest to be, but even then I felt some moments where I would find myself just not being me. Not in a superficial sense, but just more in the fact that around new people, I'd not be comfortable right away to just be comfortable with who I am.

But, after thinking about it for the past few days, I realized that you cannot always please everyone around you.

"One of the most freeing things we learn in life is that we don't have to like everyone, everyone doesn't have to like us, and it's perfectly OK." ~Unknown

After being so comfortable freshman year with the friends that I had made, I had forgotten for a moment that when meeting new people, it can be hard to start from scratch again. I forgot for a moment that friendship takes time and that the best thing I can do for myself and others is to be true to who I am. I don't have to change anything about my personality to please someone who may like different things than me.

Building new friendships can prove difficult, but I know that it's worth it in the end. Once again, it takes time and effort, and even though it may feel slow because you may be used to spending all your time with close friends from past years, it's important to keep expanding and making every effort to get to know new people, who may be similar or different than you.

Everyone has something to offer, and you never know what you may learn from someone else. It may be a small lesson, a lasting friendship, or anything in between. Being scared and vulnerable about going through this process is a sign of growth. It means you are putting yourself out there. It means that you are allowing yourself to feel all of the emotions whether good or bad and not hiding away at the sight of a challenge.

Now, at the same time, we can't mistake vulnerability for lack of confidence. Just because you have the willingness to allow your feelings to show in front of others, does not mean that you are not confident in yourself.

"To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength." ~ Criss Jami