Authenticity & Relationships

Recently, my good friend and fellow author, Debby Kerr-Henry (Momentous Living: Better Self. Better World.) featured me in her blog. She asked me questions based on my book. I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of digging deeper into some of the points I make in The Attitude Influence.

As I explored my answer to her first question, I realized how powerful authenticity is to my connection with others. As many of us continue to limit our social interactions, we are provided with additional time to reflect in a really meaningful way about our relationships and the people we surround ourselves with. Who do you miss? Why do you miss them? Who does it feel a little lighter to have limited contact with? Why do you think that is?

The “Right” People LeAnn says that it’s important to understand what is and is not acceptable to our well-being, and that a lot of that has to do with surrounding ourselves with the right people. I interpret “right” as those who build up, not tear down, as in collective. As much as I get what she’s saying, surrounding ourselves with those who build up isn’t always so black and white. To add more insight, I asked LeAnn three follow-up questions. Today, I share my first question and LeAnn’s answer.

Debby: You talk about surrounding yourself with the “right” people. What are your determining factors in whether or not you work on a difficult relationship or exit it?

LeAnn: I think everyone has different criteria for defining the “right” people to surround themselves with; and at times it was an emotionally draining process for me to discover my criteria.

In my book, I talk about an interview I heard with Dr. Maya Angelou. In the interview, Dr. Angelou compares toxic people to ducks that peck away at your soul. That was such a powerful visual for me to reflect upon in my relationships. I asked myself, when I am with this person:

· Do I feel as though they peck away at my soul?

· Do I spend a lot of time defending myself?

· Do I have moments where I feel “less than” (less worthy, less happy, etc.)?

If I consistently answer “yes” to these questions, I believe it is a clear indication that it is time to exit the relationship.

When I started paying closer attention to how I felt around others, I knew that for me, the “right” people were those who built me up, and whose intentions I did not question when they told me a painful truth. These are the people whom I instinctively know to create joy, peace of mind, and a connection that matters. I know that my life feels fuller because they are a part of it. These relationships provide the freedom to be authentic. I don’t have to pretend to be something I’m not when I’m with the “right” people.

To learn more about Debby, please check her out at

I hope everyone is doing well during this challenging time.

Choose happy.

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