In the “home of the free and the brave,” sovereignty isn’t something we often think about. It’s something we take for granted. We go about our day knowing that it’s okay for us to wear what we want to wear, work for whomever wants to hire us, and marry whomever we want.
But sovereignty is a great deal more than that. It’s about exercising the right to self determination, self containment, and respecting the same in others. This requires a sense of responsibility and healthy boundaries. When sovereignty is exercised and respected, a lot of the problems we encounter in day to day life simply disappears.
Your belongings, energetic space, possessions, and physical space belong to you. Other people have this same right. Intruding upon it without permission is an invasion of sovereignty. There are many justifications for why it’s okay to violate someone’s privacy, but they are all still violations. Here are some examples:
- reading someone else’s mail, texts, or journal entries
- occupying someone’s living space or property without their knowledge
- asking other people who know someone you know about what that person is up to
- pushing or manipulating people to open up to you when they aren’t ready or willing
- reading tabloid publications that make a business of spying on celebrities
Respect Free Will
Unless we’re talking about a minor or someone who is legally mentally incapacitated, everyone has free will. This free will can be exercised in ways that are self harming or self nurturing. While you may know that injurious or unwise behavior can have awful consequences, it’s not up to you to forbid it.
People have the right to make their own mistakes. They have the right to have their own experiences. It’s okay for you, and others, to believe and do things that aren’t popular. When you’re forced into the status quo, you lose yourself.
Free will always comes with consequences. Sovereignty is not a “Wild Out” card where you just get to run amok. No. There are consequences. You grow when you take responsibility for your choices and allow others to take responsibility for theirs.
If you have plenty of resources, it may be tempting to bail people out because it’s the nice thing to do. Before you do that, ask yourself if it will be genuinely helpful or hurtful to do so. Whichever you choose, commit to the choice.
Responsibility also means that there is no entitlement. You don’t get respect, resources, love, or anything just for showing up as everyone has the same sovereignty as you do. No one owes you anything. They have free will about whether to share, give, or hoard. So, it pays to practice reciprocity so that what you send out keeps circulating around. Sovereignty is not about becoming an island, but becoming a self aware, self determined member of society.
Assuming Your Sovereignty
This may seem like a very self indulgent path, but it’s really not. It’s one of mindfulness. If you really walk the path of sovereignty, you have to consciously choose your life path. You give up doing what seems to be the logical next step or doing what others have done.
It’s one of integrity. When you choose based upon your values and desires, your light shines. If your false self shows up, you will know that sooner or later and can self correct until your true self emerges. So, this really honors your path.
This path honors others. So much of what is wrong with the world is that we’re all projecting stuff onto other people. When you’re simply concerned with yourself, that ends.
This may seem like a lonely path, but it doesn’t have to be that either. Practicing healthy boundaries, waiting to be asked in before coming into someone space, and refraining from gossiping makes your relationships better. It forces you to have intimacy and truth rather than superficial, forced interactions. Not to mention that it completely reduces expectations that your friends or loved ones have to be anything other than themselves. How freeing is that?
Some suggestions on How to Start Practicing Your Sovereignty:
- If you’re a yes, say yes. If you’re a no, say no.
- Speak your truth politely.
- Clearly ask for what you want. Respect the answer.
- Don’t give advice unless it’s asked for.
- Don’t judge.
- Don’t engage in gossip either as a speaker or a listener.
- Mind your own business.
- Protect your privacy.
- Think about what you are committing to. Once you commit, surrender and see it through.
- If you break it, fix it.
- Give others the same rights you take for yourself.