You are the only person that should have the power to change yourself. So why is it that we let others influence us? Why do we hang around people that try and change who we are? Are we afraid that if we don't let them influence us, that we are going to lose them as a friend or a part of our lives forever? You are asking all of the wrong questions. Instead, you should be asking yourself why you are trying to please someone or win over someone's friendship that is probably not looking out for your best interest in the first place.

In life we need to be responsible for the person that we are whether that is a good person or a bad person. Anyone has the power to improve themselves at any time in their life, but only if they make a choice to do so. If our lives are going down the wrong path, then we need to take responsibility and own up to the fact that it was the decisions that we made that led us up to this point in our lives. On the other hand, if our life is going down the right path then we need to acknowledge that we are responsible for that based on the good decisions we made.

If we ever let anyone influence how we live our lives, it should only be our higher power or only people that are positive influences in our life. It should be the type of person that will give us advice on what's best for us and not what they want us to do for their own personal gain. Positive people we should have in our life also include people that look out for our safety, our health and our overall well being. They should encourage us to go after our goals and dreams, to do the right thing at all times, every time, to have manners and respect for others, be examples of how others should show kindness to others themselves, practice what they preach and to make us want to be a better person.

These positive people won't spend all of their time trying to change who you are as a person, but instead provide you with the knowledge that you realize you have a choice as to whether or not you want to improve yourself for the better. Everyone can improve in areas in their life in a positive way, so these positive people are great and even healthy to have in your life.

Don't ever let anyone ever try to change who you are. If you made the responsible choice a long time ago to not drink, smoke or do drugs, for example, why would you want to have people in your life that try and tell you on a constant daily basis that there is something wrong with you for your choice? Instead, you have to realize that if they were really your true friend, they would be taking after your example and would be proud to be your friend because they would admire your decision, strength and resistance to peer pressure.

Negative people in your life are just always going to hold you back from living up to your greatest potential. Keep positive and optimistic people around in your life and never let anyone change who you are as a person. You are a unique person that has a lot of goodness to offer the world. Don't let someone distort your way of how you see yourself just because they are trying to get what they want. You have a greater destiny than that and you just need to stay focused on your path and eventually you will fulfill your destiny one day if you stay true to yourself. You are you for a reason and your higher power had big plans for you. Don't let negative people influence or rub off their bad ways on you. Instead influence or rub some of your goodness on them. You may not know what your higher purpose or destiny is yet, but I know it's going to be great and it's going to make a difference in this world. Just wait.

Ahwatukee Foothills resident Michelle "Mikey" Arana is a 2003 graduate of Mountain Pointe High School. She offers free peer advice; however, Mikey is not licensed or trained, just a fellow friend to the community. All inquiries made to Mikey will remain anonymous unless legal issues occur. She can be reached at or


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