I Love Who I Am When I’m With You



“There’s only one thing more precious than our time and that’s who we spend it on.” Leo Christopher

 In the past, I chose friends using the strangest set of guidelines:

  • I let the other person decide if we were going to be friends no matter the circumstances, even the woman who liked my husband more than she liked me, a friend who criticized my husband’s politics and my daughter’s parenting, and the couple who argued with each other and then blamed me.
  • I said “yes” to friendships when I knew better because I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.
  • I struck up friendships with people whom I felt uncomfortable around. It was my way of overcompensating for emotions I thought I shouldn’t feel toward them.

bald-eagle-1018717_960_720Stumbling onto the wisdom below helped enlighten every single relationship I had whether professional, family, or friend. I heard a fellow express it during his talk to a group of recovering alcoholics. My friend Betty passed along his tape to me. I fast-forwarded it a hundred times to the story he told about the father-daughter dance at his daughter’s wedding. Just like my daughter and her dad, they danced to “Wind Beneath My Wings.”


At the end of his message, he told his audience, “You are the wind beneath my wings. I love who I am when I’m with you.”

Every time I replayed that part, I cried. I wanted what he had, relationships in which I loved myself. I knew it’d mean setting boundaries, which I wasn’t good at. Twelve step programs called it “detachment with love.” I called it sanity because spending time with the wrong people drove me crazy.

I let go of two friendships that spanned more than two decades each. I detached from everyone I talked about at the beginning of this post. I stepped away from a few family members.

Letting go hurt, but holding on hurt more. The pain of not loving myself around family and friends kept healthy relationships at bay.


When a friend’s dad died in 2005, a group of us reunited who met in elementary school and stayed friends throughout college. We drifted apart because of grown-up responsibilities until we realized (at the funeral home) how much we loved who we were around each other. Out of our dozen friends, five or more of us have been getting together every month for 13 years. I love myself around them and around several other female friends who laugh, cry, and eat sugar together.

It’s transformative to find our people, to love them, and to love ourselves around them. Joel Osteen said, “Who you spend your time with will have a great impact on what kind of life you live. Spend time with the right people.”

Are you hanging out with people you love yourself around? I sure am when I’m with y’all, my readers.


In this together,

20 responses »

  1. Love this Kim! I always take something away after reading one of your articles. Life is too short to spend it with people who don’t reflect who we are.

    • It’s so true, JJ. I don’t know how I got so mixed up early on. I’m grateful that God and the wise speaker helped straighten out my thinking about relationships.

      You and I still need to eat together. ❤

  2. I’m going to be rereading this post, Kim. You’ve written some profound truth here that’s reverberating in my soul. I’ve learned “detachment with love” — a.k.a. sanity — in the past — but it’s time to relearn the lesson.

    • Awe, thanks, Beth! ❤

      I'm always revising and relearning this lesson. Relationships bring out the best and worst in me, which makes them and me a piece of work. 🙂

  3. Thank you Kim for this blog! What an eye opening, thought provoking article. I guess in a way I have found myself doing some of this naturally…but now I understand why I have distanced myself from certain people recently. I guess that is part of getting, as Summer so graciously puts it, “to a certain age”. 🙂 We can begin to step back more and learn that pleasing ourselves for the right reasons is sometimes just as, if not more important, than pleasing others for the wrong reasons.

    • Vicki, I relate and appreciate what you said, especial at the end. I wanted to squeal, “Yes, that’s it. That’s what I was trying to say.” 🙂 I absolutely think pleasing ourselves for the right reason is more important.

      When I was writing this piece, I had to keep deleting parts where I defended our right and our need to detach from others. lol 😀 I needed your comment. Thanks!

      I wish we had more time together. I always feel so calm and cared about afterwards. ❤

  4. Kim Iove this on SO many levels! Sometimes we take what we think is the easier way by just sucking it up and avoiding a confrontation or situation that would make the other person uncomfortable. Al the while, we’re not comfortable or happy! I think that “loving the people in it” means we have to like them too. Thank you for being and sharing who you are! I’m lucky to call you friend!

    • That’s it, Susan. I can love them from afar, but if we’re going to hang out, I have to also like them like you said. And here’s the other thing that took me years to figure out, I can NOT like an unlikable person. I’ve tried … hard. It doesn’t work. I can’t do it. I have friends who don’t like themselves, but I’m supposed to??? That’s pretty funny when I put it that way.

      I love that we’re friends. I’m the lucky one! ❤

  5. From Facebook (Kim Henson) ~

    Alice Mills, Delilah Lewis and 31 others


    Stacy Garceau Love this Kim!

    Kim Henson Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Stacy Garceau! ❤
    Like · Reply · 4d

    Michelle Duncan My circle is small, and this is why. Great article, Kim! 💞

    Kim Henson I understand, Michelle Duncan! Mine got smaller. Thank you. ❤ So happy we're friends and in business together. 😉

    Lisa D Tower-Couture This is sooooo right, Kim! Now….am I one of those people for someone(s) else…..

    Kim Henson Lisa D Tower-Couture, thanks for your comment! ❤ We don't see each other often enough, but I remember how I felt when we visited at Brookgreen. It was really fun to see you. You're one of those people, for sure.

    Maria Franken Really related and loved this one! ❤

    Kim Henson Thanks so much, Maria Franken! I love that we are each other's people. ❤ When are you free? 😀

    Delilah Lewis Kim this is so right

    Kim Henson I loved hearing him talk, Delilah Lewis! ❤ I wish I still had his tape. I'd listen some more. Love you!

    Barbara Hilgeman Once again Kim Henson you are spot on, thank you for your insightful articles.

    Kim Henson I appreciate you and your comment, Barbara Hilgeman! ❤ Thank you.
    Joan Pisani Great article 👍

    Kim Henson Thanks a lot, Joan Pisani! I loved our time together at Curves. ❤ I'm realizing more and more how much I pay attention to and remember how I feel around people.

    Joan Pisani Kim Henson yes I agree 100%. I have had to walk away from people I have known for many years as I was treated very poorly. It took me a long time to get rid of the guilt that they made me feel. Now I want to stay with people who can add joy to my days and hopefully I can spread the love in return. 😌

    Kim Henson Joan Pisani, that's probably what attracted us to each other. You spread Love well. ❤

    Debbie Morris Great article!!

    Kim Henson Thanks for your friendship and encouragement, Debbie Morris … always. ❤

    Angie Mojica This is hard-earned wisdom Kim. I love it (and still learning it) thank you friend ♥️🙏🏼

    Kim Henson Angie Mojica, I remember our conversation when we talked about some of this. I'm always learning when it comes to relationships. FB is right, they're complicated. lol 😀 Thanks for your friendship. ❤

    Angie Mojica Kim Henson and thank you Kim ❤️❤️

    Barbara Suggs Great quote

    Kim Henson I loved it too, Barbara Suggs! Thanks for your comment. ❤ I wish I still had his tape. I'd listen a few more times.

    Lucy Sellers So true… love your article 💗

    Kim Henson Thanks a lot, Lucy Sellers! ❤ I appreciate your comment.

    Tatyanna Vander Here's to us, dear Misty Vander. ♥

    Kim Henson i LOVE this comment, Tatyanna Vander! ❤

    Susan Blanton Roche Love, love, love!! This is so true! Thank you for sharing so much of yourself with us. Glad to call you my friend! ❤

    Kim Henson I love that we're friends and actually get to see each other now, Susan Blanton Roche! lol 😍 I love who I am when I'm with you, so I think we need to make that happen SOON. We're only one and a half chapters away. 🤓 🤪 #writinglikecrazy #writingcrazystuff

    Susan Blanton Roche I can't wait to get together! I know a dock yelling at us with this ole pelican waiting patiently to hear us laughing again! Miss you!

    Kim Henson Susan Blanton Roche, hahahaha. I was there for a second … breeze, pelican, penguins, and laughter. Back to writing now. 🙂 I miss you too! ❤

    Tammy James Quinn This made me think of my dearest Dan. We were friends first and I loved myself with him. We had the best times together. I too, have let go of friendships. One of those was over 30 years! Hard to do but very necessary. I love your posts Kim!♥

    Kim Henson Tammy James Quinn, I can see why from the photo you recently posted of you two. Dan had the gentlest, most welcoming face. Love was so evident in that picture. ❤ It is hard to let go, but I often say the same thing, it's necessary. I love having you as a friend and reader! Thank you.

    Diane Wilson Dale I always love to read your posts…thank you for sharing! Miss seeing you!

    Kim Henson Diane Wilson Dale, I love your comments! ❤ I miss you too, so whenever you're up for a lunch date, I am too. Love you!

    Denise Mangum Grady-Bryant You make everyone so happy around you!! Thanks

    Kim Henson Awe, thanks, Denise Mangum Grady-Bryant! ❤ I missed spending time with you on Wednesday. I think I'm ready to retire. lol 😀

    Summer Turner So true, Kim. And so awkward to drop those unsatisfying relationships.

    Kim Henson Awkward, Summer Turner. That's it. I knew there was a word for how I felt. lol 😀 Thanks. Awkward and free! ❤

    Diane Franczak Have subconsciously used this advice/action and now admit I felt sad at the time, but it does leave you in a better place, feeling relief.

    Kim Henson Diane Franczak, I tried to let go before he gave me "permission," but I always felt so guilty that I'd give in and go for another bad round at the friendship. I love that I can love friends from afar and feel good about it. ❤ It is a huge relief to let go of people who are difficult to deal with. #hugerelief

    Alice Mills So beautiful! Shared!

    Kim Henson Thanks so much, Alice Mills! ❤

  6. From Facebook ~

    Holly Massey shared blog post …
    Thanks Kim Henson! This preaches to me

    Vicki Jacobs shared blog post …
    So much wisdom and insight in this wonderful blog from my friend Kim! Keep blogging & sharing your gifts!

  7. From Facebook (Vicki Jacobs’ page) –

    Nancy Launi, Summer Turner and 3 others

    Kim Henson Thanks so much for sharing and for your kind words, Vicki Jacobs! ❤

    Kristine Jensen Smith Kim I just read this and can't tell you how timely it was to me. Many thanks for giving sharing this message about the permission to have people around us who bring us real joy.

    Kim Henson Kristine Jensen Smith, thanks so much for your comment. ❤ It's taken me a long time to give myself permission and I still slip sometimes, but not nearly as often as I used to. We all deserve joyful relationships.

    Mary McKerihan Wilson Thanks for sharing another excellent post, Kim. I find that the older I get, the less time I have for friends who suck the life out of me. I have had a handful of good friends in my life, friends who have been there through everything. You learn a lot about true friends when your spouse becomes very ill and then dies. Most "friends" disappear, because mortality is contagious, unfortunately. I never did like who I was with them anyway.

    Kim Henson Mary McKerihan Wilson, I'm finding out the same thing. The friends who go away easily, I didn't like myself around either. It's funny how that works out. ❤ Thank for reading and commenting. I always learn something from you like the saying "mortality is contagious." I may have to use that one of these days. I'll give you credit, of course. 😉

  8. Kim, I love this post. It’s s lot like knowing when people are toxic or not. Or resizing which people are givers or takers so you don’t fill you life with too many takers at a time. (We can’t always avoid all of them. )

    • I love how you worded it, Martha. Resizing my life, for sure. I’ve been in the process for a couple of years now. ❤ It's been a blessing to spend more time and energy with my dear friends instead of with ones I fret over because I can't quite get it right with them. I'm not sure why it took me so long, but I'm happy to be here now. ❤ You did a nice job facilitating us on Tuesday evening.

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