It's the time of year where we are reminded of all we have to be thankful for. For many, this time of year can also be very draining as it sometimes brings forth difficult memories and painful feelings of inadequacy as families come together.

Do you ever ask yourself, "Why do I behave that way when I'm around certain members of my family?" Do you ever walk away from an interaction with someone and think, "I don't always like who I am when I am around that person?" Do you question, "What is it about that person that they constantly say things that hurt my feelings?" Or even more important, do you ever wonder, "What is it about me that I allow that person to get under my skin?"

You may also be discouraged by the fact that you have to spend a holiday with a certain person or people that rub you the wrong way, say things that bother you or make choices that offend you.

How would it feel to spend the holidays with each of your family members and still feel good about yourself, during and after the experience? How would it feel to imagine a solid bubble around yourself that protects you from any insult or negative words? How would it feel to believe so strongly in your positive contribution to the world that you simply have no need to react at all to anything anyone says or thinks about you?

When we focus our energy on someone else's choices, whether it be a parent, a sibling or a friend, and we let them affect us in ways that cause us frustration, guilt and defensiveness, that is giving away our power. If we could consider that this person is doing the best they can with the tools they have in their own personal toolbelts and their choices are a reflection on them, their experiences and their values and not on us at all, it would remind us that how we react to others is a choice that only we can make.

As much as we want to believe that controlling the actions of others would make our lives easier, in fact it's really the other way around. Being in control of our own actions and most of all, reactions, is a characteristic of true power.

Being in control does not mean that we bottle up our feelings and keep our mouth shut. It means that we truly realize that the way others act towards us or in general is not our stuff, so to speak. We understand that focusing on drama, builds and creates more drama. We are aware that too often perfection is expected of each of us yet not one of us is able to live up to such expectations.

It should be noted, when interacting with others, it's always necessary to take responsibility for our own behavior. Learning to step away from a situation to ask ourselves, "Is this who I want to be? Is this the message I want to send to others? What purpose does it serve for me to be right or have the last word? Am I acting out of guilt, jealousy or an unnecessary need to be understood by others?" When we step away to observe our own actions, it is never a time to beat ourselves up, but instead a time to own it, fix it and then move on. There's nothing more powerful then saying, "That behavior and way of thinking is not in line with who I want to be. I know I can do better." Life is all about learning from our mistakes. Our growth depends on us seeing our failures not as situations to encourage self loathing but instead as opportunities to make new and more powerful choices.

When we finally do decide that our positive opinion of ourselves is the most important one of all, we learn to become less affected by the opinions, actions and choices of others and to simply ignore such negativity. We learn to access our own inner power and accessing that power is, and always will be, a choice. In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, "Nobody has the right to make you feel inferior without your consent."

Author's Bio: 

For over 6 years, Laurie McAnaugh has been an independent sales representative, sales coach and leader of a large sales organization. Through this work, she has observed so many in their struggles with self esteem, self confidence and self worth. She has developed a passion for helping people change their perspectives towards an understanding of their own inner power. Her added mission is to help guide people to look at the situations and relationships in their lives from a healthier viewpoint, while using this new perspective of power to both personally grow and influence others. She's the founder of Access Your Power and achieves her mission through teaching workshops, consulting privately with clients and presenting to groups nationwide.
She can be contacted at or via her website .