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Self-Ownership: Your Sense of Personal Sovereignty

Do you own yourself? No, this isn’t some type of trick question. It’s actually an important one that everyone should ask themselves from time to time. While it’s admirable to own your home, car, or business, these things are all superficial. There are deeper aspects of existence that we must take ownership of in order to succeed, both as individuals and as members of society. These form the basis of what’s commonly referred to as individual ownership, or personal sovereignty.

What is Sovereignty?

The term “sovereignty” means supreme power or authority. In most cases, it’s applied to a self-governing state. A “sovereign” is an individual with ultimate authority over someone or something. This is normally applied to gods or monarchs. Thus, the term “personal sovereignty” implies the authority of an individual over their own life and destiny. In other words, it describes free will.

Rights and Responsibility

A sovereign country makes decisions in their own national interest, without coercion by a foreign government. In the same way, a sovereign individual makes decisions for themselves, free of the control of others. This is to the extent that free will is possible, of course. In civilized society, sovereignty does not mean you can do anything you want without repercussions. In enjoying your sovereignty, you must also remember to respect the sovereignty of others.

As important as personal sovereignty is, it comes at a price and sometimes that price can be quite high. Personal responsibility is the price you pay for exercising your free will, since society expects you to do so in a way that brings no harm to others. The more you use your free will, the less you’ll be able to blame others, or even your circumstances (past or present), for the results of your actions.

Careless exercise of your free will can lead to regrettable consequences. If you use it to hurt or manipulate others, you can expect society to step in and put a stop to it. We see this all the time in situations where simply exercising one’s freedom of speech can get large numbers of people worked up into a violent frenzy. This phenomenon is often used by tyrannical governments as a justification for the limits they place on personal freedom.

Sovereignty and Personal Power

A person who is willing to take charge of themselves and their decisions stands a better chance of succeeding in life. This is in contrast to those who always have some excuse for why they can’t do certain things. If you think carefully about some of the people you know, you can probably think of at least one person who has untapped potential, but always blames their circumstances on external factors.

I’m not saying that anyone’s got it easy. To be clear, we all have challenges – some more than others. But regardless of what struggles you might face, someone out there has had it worse and still taken charge of their situation. In other words, they chose to own it! And in doing so, they tapped into a type of personal power that eludes countless others. Remember that it’s your decision to either make the best of what you’ve got or sit back and settle for less.

Think about some of your own accomplishments. Would you even remember them if they had come easily? Nothing in life is easy and it’s probably better that way. If it were, you might never experience the joy that comes with victory, after a lengthy battle with adversity. Your power to reach higher and accomplish more is largely the result of your willingness to take chances and own the consequences, when things don’t go as smoothly as you would have liked.

When something seems hard, you need only ask yourself how badly you want it. If you can own the effort required, you’ll eventually own the fruits of your labor.

Sovereignty and Freedom

When it comes to freedom, you’re always free to think as you please. That’s the one thing no one can take from you, since they can’t get inside your mind to control it. In a sense, that’s the ultimate freedom, because it’s where you’ll find the freedom to choose your response to any situation. Even children are taught from an early age that the more responsibility they demonstrate, the more privileges they will earn. By teaching them the relationship between freedom and responsibility early, a seed is planted in their minds about the importance of making good choices and owning the results.

Even in a place where your right to speak isn’t recognized, your freedom to think is what helps you decide whether you’re willing to accept the consequences of speaking out or not. That is still your choice and you own it. Countless freedom fighters and martyrs have decided that calling attention to their plight was preferable to living under extreme oppression, even while knowing that it could cost them their lives. That seems like a difficult choice to make, but for them, it was the one with the greatest impact and the one that would most define them.

If it feels like there’s a war going on for your mind, that’s because there is. Ultimately, your body and mind belong to you. However, it’s UP TO YOU to take full charge of it. There’s nothing worthwhile to be gained from instant gratification. If your attention is focused on cheap distractions with no real value, you’ll have a harder time improving yourself. Only by creating the strongest and smartest version of yourself will you be able to shoulder the full weight of self-ownership.

Mark Abbott

14 Comments

  1. Yes, I am my own Lord. I need to get back on the land. Stop paying rent.

  2. Hey Mark:

    I thoroughly enjoyed your post on personal sovereignty. It resonates with my own thoughts, I think.

    I like that you emphasize that taking responsibility for your own behavior is the prerequisite for getting to your own sovereignty. It is a matter of self-governance, after all.

    I think people often confuse freedom and sovereignty. Freedom is the end-result of developing personal sovereignty, I am thinking.

    • Very true, Netta. I like the way you phrased that. Thanks for stopping by!

      Mark

  3. This was a very inspiring post. I like the way you break things down. Sometimes we just need to go back to the basics and remind ourselves why we’re here and what we’re working for. It’s too easy to get distracted by the nothingness of life, but if we stop and take charge, then we’ll gain success.

    • So true, Whitney. That’s a very good point. Thanks for stopping by!

      Mark

  4. They can get inside your mind to control it. My advice: check if it’s still yours from time to time. You’re on to something, keep analysing. Add some Schopenhauer. Cheers!

    • They certainly can, if one lets them. Cheers! And thanks for stopping by.

      Mark

  5. This is some powerful piece!

    In some sense, I’d like to believe that this speaks directly to me. For some time, I’ve been in a constant state of struggle to take purposeful control of the contents of my conscious mind (the most difficult task I ever set out to accomplish). I already know deep down that it is worth it, It just seems so difficult to override the programming from my younger days.

    Great post 

    • I can certainly relate to that, my friend. It can be very difficult to get past those old thinking patterns. In fact, the older you are, the harder it is. But of course, many of the worthiest pursuits in life are easier said than done. If we choose the easy path, we’ll probably still survive, but it’s fair to say that we won’t grow. Thanks for stopping by and best of luck in your efforts to reinvent yourself!

      Mark

  6. Thank you very much first for giving us such a beautiful article and I fully agree with you that every human being needs to have his own freedom so that he can do everything at his will freely. The sovereignty of a country is needed so that the government of this country can make whatever decision it wishes, just as every human being needs sovereignty so that he can make any decision on his own free will. Because if one does not have his own independence, that is, if he does not have sovereignty, he can make a decision on his own freely and it will be very difficult for him to survive.

    • Very true, Arzu. Everyone thinks about sovereignty in terms of national sovereignty, but it’s just as important in an individual sense. It’s an essential component of free will. Thanks for stopping by!

      Mark

  7. Personal Sovereignty is every important especially in the generation we are in , where we try to outdo each other on social media while slowly dying in the inside. We need to take responsibility of our own lives, understand who we are and work out our own lives without comparing with others. Everyone is unique and should embrace their uniquness, work on it the bring the best out of themselves.
    I love this articles and I can proudly share it till everyone absords the message, it is what needs to be taught to this generation we are in.

    • Thanks, Anita! Glad you found value in it. And yes, feel free to share and spread the word. Thanks for stopping by!

      Mark

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