Welcome to Format Free Fridays at, the one day a week when I break the format of answering your questions and I dispense that which we rarely welcome in life: Unsolicited advice.

I recently heard Oprah say, “You are responsible for the energy you bring into this room.” This immediately resonated with me because it simplifies a concept that is often made unnecessarily complex.   She’s essentially saying You Are Responsible For Everything That Happens To You.

You attract everyone in your life with your energy and you repel the people in your life who aren’t attracted to your energy.  If you find yourself surrounded by people who love you, who support you and who lift you up, rest assured that you bring that energy to their lives as well.  If you find yourself with toxic people in your life, people who suck the air out of the room that they walk into, it’s because you bring that same energy into the rooms that you enter.  It’s that simple and yes, it’s that universal.  But what about family? We can’t choose who we’re related to.  Should we cut off every family member who fails to bring anything positive to the table?

If that were the case, I certainly wouldn’t have many family members in my life.  I have found that if my goal is truly to have peaceful relationships with my family, as opposed to seeking validation or apology from them, I can at least maintain a ceasefire, if not full-blown peace, with most of them.  And as long as there is a ceasefire, I feel peaceful, so I’ve achieved my goal.  I do this by accepting who they are – flaws and all.  Some of them are angry people, and so I no longer expect them to be consistently pleasant.   When they become angry (either overtly or passively), I end conversations and I call them back a few days later without harping on the incident, since harping on it would imply that I expect them to act differently.  It’s all about managing My Own expectations of them and then managing My Own energy in response to them.

Our inclination, by and large, is to blame others for the negativity in our lives.  Doing that turns us into victims.  There is power in taking responsibility for everything and everyone in our lives.  There is power in searching for ways to behave differently and to think differently.  If you are waiting to be rescued, helped, or for others to change, you are wasting the most precious resource you have:  Time.   As long as you look outside yourself for a solution to your problems, you volunteer for more disappointment in life.

Today, I invite you to own your power, which is the power of your energy.