We had the good fortune of connecting with Melanie Whitney and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Melanie, what matters most to you?
Authenticity. The reason authenticity is the value that matters most to me is because it means I am showing up for the moment/the event/the person wholeheartedly. I lived a lot of my life inauthentically growing up because I was closeted and didn’t come out as a member of the LGBTQ community until I was an adult. Most of who I presented to the world was a compilation of what society told me I should do so that I could receive validation, praise, and approval. This created a toxic undercurrent in my life because everything I did was heavily dependent on external factors (like the approval of others), which disconnected me from myself and the things I truly wanted. It has taken me most of my adult life to figure out which parts of me are authentic and which parts were fabricated to be accepted by society. Showing up as your most authentic self is not easy, but I believe it’s the only way to truly have healthy relationships with others and yourself.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am an educator and speaker. I have spent over a decade teaching college students and people all over the world how to live more mindfully, communicate more consciously, and create more authentic relationships. I have spoken on platforms around the world: TEDx, leadership conferences, universities, military bases, tech companies, and more.
My career has taken many twists and turns, I wanted to “be” so many things growing up. I spent most of my 20’s chasing all the things I thought I “should” do to be “successful.” After some hard life lessons and hitting rock bottom, I started to look at life a little differently. Instead of chasing things outside myself, I started turning inward for answers. The plan was never to be a teacher, but the job sort of “fell into my lap” at a time where I was unemployed. Teaching interpersonal communication revealed to me how many of us are missing the tools required to have healthy relationships. And when I say healthy relationships, I don’t just mean with others, I mean with ourselves too. After speaking at a TEDx conference in 2016, I started teaching mindfulness and conscious communication practices outside the classroom. My passion is empowering people with the awareness and tools to elevate their abilities to connect authentically with themselves. Because once we are able to connect with ourselves in such a vulnerable way, we open ourselves up to do the same with others (friends, family, strangers, etc).
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Not in any given order or to do in one day, but a few places I enjoy!
Grab coffee in Venice and walk through the canals early in the morning (before it gets crowded).
Lunch at the Grand Central Market and check out the Broad museum
Evening date at the Griffith Observatory (checkout their events and exhibits)
Brunch at Blu Jam Cafe and stroll around the Last Bookstore
Lunch and walk around Olvera Street
Dinner at Gracias Madre in Weho
Getty Villas (first entrance in the morning) and Malibu Farm Pier Cafe
Other: Clubhouse: @melaniewhitney