Love letters to Humans (no. 67) — on Sovereignty

We don’t have to choose sovereignty OR relationship. We already have sovereignty IN relationship.

Sovereignty is. Relationship is. Consequences are.

We cannot control others or the consequences available to us -and- we are responsible for the choices we make.

I’m talking about sovereignty as self-governance, not as individualism. I speak of it as a given, not as a value we hold. I am also not talking about sovereignty as power over any other being. Our sovereignty is wholly our own -and- what we do impacts others, just as what they do they impacts us—that is relationship. It isn’t an either/or scenario.

Impacting one another is inevitable. The impact of our choices can be harmful, just as it can be healing or neutral. -And- impact doesn’t mean we have the power to choose anyone else’s thoughts, beliefs, and decisions for them, nor do they have the power to choose ours for us.

We are always making choices in relationship. Attack, defend, avoid, control. Witness, inquire, presence, regard. Assume, consume, relate, create. Wait, remain, participate, oppose. Observe, resist, surrender, bypass, suppress, destroy, confront, grasp, analyze, soften, harden, judge, feel, release, hold. None of these choices is inherently good or bad; they are situationally more or less likely to get us what we want, and are informed by our commitments, our desires, our skills, and our capacities*.

One way we undermine our own sovereignty in relationship is by trying to control or manipulate someone else because we believe we cannot be okay unless they are different. Example: laboring to ‘make’ someone else provide us with validation, love, or a sense of safety, even when they have no desire or ability to do so.

One way we disregard someone else’s sovereignty is by believing they cannot be okay unless we are different. Example: compromising our integrity or ignoring our own NO so that we can ‘make’ someone else feel safe, comfortable, or loved, even when they are committed to the feelings they are having.

‘Sovereignty OR relationship’ is codependency. ‘Sovereignty IN relationship’ is interdependence.

Where could rejecting the false binary of ‘either sovereignty or relationship’ open up more possibilities for joyful connection and interdependence?

*It feels important to acknowledge that trauma can impact our ability to access our will, our sovereignty, and our choices. That is a whole ‘nother conversation for me to listen in on, and I welcome resources for educating myself in this area.