"It is uncomfortable to be one's own authority, but it is the only condition which true personal power can develop." ~ Starhawk
I was walking back to my car after running an errand. As I opened the car door I heard a man yell out his window “dammmmmmnnnnn giiiirrrrllll!” Then the following conversation ensued in my mind:
Survival mechanism: What was that and where is it coming from?! (My eyes locate the car to know how close or far away they are from me)
Social conditioning: Oh. Someone thinks I’m hot!
Me: I feel so violated right now. Wait...why do I also strangely feel validated. That outside inside voice stuff is real! No. I definitely feel violated, not validated.
This moment was important to me as it all passed in a matter of seconds. As I sat with the car door closed, holding the steering wheel, breathing, and simply watching my mind, I realized I was able to clearly hear my own truth amidst the sea of the rest...survival mechanism and social conditioning. This distinction was not clear to me for the longest time. Whether it was interactions with strangers like this catcall moment, or partnering in a relationship, I often lost myself and my truth.
This still happens at times. Times where I blur the lines between myself and another too much, where I fall into people pleasing patterns, but now I know what it's like to stand in my own sovereignty. A sacred space, untouched inside of me, that holds my truth, and is accessible every time I remember that it's there and choose to listen. More on sovereignty in a minute.
I call this blurring of the lines emeshing. It brings a physical image to mind of two nets caught together and tangled. It can happen for us with work, children, partners, family, friends, and even strangers.
Have you found yourself saying:
I don’t know what I think any more. I don’t know what I feel. I struggle to make a decision. I don’t know what I want. I don’t know what I need. I don’t know what direction to take. I don’t know if I want to be in this relationship or not. I don’t know if I want us to be friends or not. I don’t know how it could be any other way. I don’t know who I am outside of my work. It feels easier to just keep doing the same thing.
You may be in this blurred state of being where who we are, where we start, and where we end is unclear. It leads to:
- Saying yes when you mean no and no when you mean yes.
- Wrapping most of your self-worth into your job, relationships, and external circumstances.
- Uneven power dynamics in relationships.
- Disconnection from your purpose.
- Creating toxic relationships.
Do you struggling with loosing yourself at times in what you do or who you’re with? Starting in 2018, I’m leading a small circle of women through a powerful process of building a sense of home in ourselves, our relationships, with the Universe, and our every day lives. Learn more by scheduling a free chat with me HERE.
She had been trying to break it off for a while, but she kept cycling. A relationship that she knew was not good for her and yet she got pulled back in. My client picked up the phone calls when he called. She felt mean for ignoring his texts. I know this story well. This story has come up multiple times in my coaching practice in just this last month and it used to be my own.
Strong independent women who end up in toxic and abusive relationships with a slow loss of sovereignty.
The people pleasing, need to be liked, feeling like you’re being mean when standing up for yourself, guilt, and shame, fuel micro decisions that lead to a later realization that who they are has been lost over time. Eroded. And how to get back feels unclear and overwhelming.
You may think, that would never happen to me. I get it. I thought it. Hundreds...maybe thousands of times. And yet it did. More than once. To call back my power, to stand in the strength of myself, to know my truth and live it, I had to learn how to exercise sovereignty. In my relationship and in my work every day.
Sovereignty. According to the dictionary is defined as: Supreme power or authority. A self-governing state.
We must stand inside our sovereignty fully to truly know who we are.
This is where we build healthy relationships from. This is where we birth true self care. This is where we connect with others in the deepest, most authentic way. But first, we need to start knowing when we give our sovereignty away. Because the women I spoke to had no idea they were doing just that. Had no idea how unhealthy the relationships they were in actually were.
Here are some examples of how we neglect our sovereignty:
You share how you feel and your partner shuts the sharing down by: becoming emotionally unavailable and checking out of the conversation, walking out of the room or leaving the house, or verbally asserting themselves and denying your feelings. You buy into it, decide to “just get over it” or backtrack on what you say to appease the situation.
You feel like your current schedule in the lead up to the holidays has a lot of self-sacrifices in it for your kids, partner, relationships, or work rather than compromises that incorporate what you need too.
You are extremely affected by when “things don’t go right” in your work and when you consider who you are outside of your work, you have no idea where to begin.
For this week’s Joy Tip, I want to invite us to get clear on our relationship with our very own sovereignty, the seat of our personal power, the director of healthy boundaries, the seat of where we build a sustainable home base inside of our very own selves. Here’s how to get started:
Notice where you are giving your sovereignty away. Where it's eroding without your acknowledgment. Pay attention to the moments when your mind says one thing and your body feels another. Notice whether you truly believe the story running through your head. Acknowledge when you’ve placed others’ needs on top and thrown your’s out of the equation completely.
Choose differently. Consider baby steps to come back to yourself. Think of them as micro decisions. This can be everything from a thought-decision like my moment in the car where I decided what was true for me was that I felt violated, not validated by catcalling. Or it can come in the form of an action like journaling about how you might feel heard rather than shut down by your partner when you share your feelings.
Start inside first. Tune in, tune in, tune in. I can’t say this enough. Begin with your internal awareness, internal housecleaning, to get clear on where you stand before taking that new understanding out into the world. This is how sovereignty is built. Tuning back inside one moment at a time.
Let go of the need to make others happy. It won’t always happen and it’s likely that people’s feathers will get ruffled when you start standing in your sovereignty more. Be compassionate without dishonoring yourself if someone dislikes your new way of moving in the world.
Allow it to be messy. Because it will be. Everything new is not perfect. This is why we practice. Also it's practice. This means as far as I can tell, we never really figure it all out. We just continue to realize and see more which inspires us to keep practicing honor towards ourselves.
We become so emeshed in our life because it is our superpower to feel what others feel. To care deeply and love big. However, this was never created to turn against us. When we emesh and loose ourselves, in our work, in our connections, we’ve essentially used our gifts against ourselves. Like a spell cast back on itself.
Tough love moment. Despite what we think, when we lose ourselves in external circumstances we start to make everything in life about us. Weird plot twist I know. Because most of this sticky stuff is fueled by selfless intentions. Over time, too much blurring gets ugly and become a slippery slope to victim hood. Most of all...it’s not so selfless after all is it? It is about us. It is about us because we’ve dishonored ourselves. It’s about us because we left ourselves behind.
This is tricky. Think squiggly line versus linear line. And what truly recognizing and living in your sovereignty looks like for you is likely to be different for me. That being said, the only way we find out what the point of balance and alignment looks like for us is to try it on for size. It's likely going to be renegotiated a many times in your lifetime. The journey is starting on a path essentially back to your center. Back to your internal home base. From there we can co-create relationships that feel like home because we are Home in ourselves.