12 signs of personal sovereignty (and how to get more of it in your life)

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Are you in charge of your own life?

Many of us would say yes.

But appearances can be deceiving.

Here are the top signs that you truly are running your own life, and how to increase your personal power.

12 signs of personal sovereignty (and how to get more of it in your life)

1) Escape the 9 to 5 rat race

Many of us lack personal sovereignty because we are stuck in unfulfilling jobs that don’t make us happy.

We grind away at the 9 to 5 rat race and end up each week burnt out and depressed.

Many of us don’t have an option to change our situation and remain stuck in that type of work.

But if possible, there are steps you can take to gain more autonomy at work and begin to escape the 9 to 5 rat race.

2) Assess your sovereignty score

Personal sovereignty means you call the shots. You may be part of organizations, career and personal roles, but you don’t do them out of obligation.

You do them because you choose to do so.

As Barbara Smith writes:

“It means having agency and autonomy over your life; being able to make your own decisions, choose who you are in relationship with and how much space to give them in your life.”

Do a sovereignty score.

On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being maximum sovereignty, how much independence and choice do you have in the following five areas.

  • Beliefs (being free to choose what you believe in religion and spirituality).
  • Career (having a career which fulfills you and offers you personal autonomy to some degree).
  • Relationships (the ability to be in a relationship or single as you wish and not due to social or familiar pressure).
  • Lifestyle (the ability to live how you wish and not how somebody else dictates).
  • Physical freedom (the ability to go where you want and not always be bound by duty and routine).

If you scored under 20, your personal sovereignty is being seriously restricted.

If you scored between 21 to 30, you are not living up to your full sovereign potential.

If you score 31 to 40 you are on your way, but still have some work to do.

If you scored 41 or above, your personal sovereignty is in very good shape.

3) Find your purpose

One of the top signs of personal sovereignty is knowing your purpose in life and going after it hard.

You like to relax now and then, but you’re very committed to your purpose.

If you’re experiencing insufficient personal sovereignty in your life, it can often be because you simply don’t know what to do with your life.

The consequences of not finding your purpose in life include a general sense of frustration, listlessness, dissatisfaction and a sense of not being connected with your inner self.

It’s difficult to find your personal power when you’re not feeling in sync.

I learned a new way to discover my purpose after watching Ideapod co-founder Justin Brown’s video on the hidden trap of improving yourself. He explains that most people misunderstand how to find their purpose, using visualization and other self-help techniques.

However, visualization isn’t the best way to find your purpose.

Getting lost in positive thinking and visualization is actually a good way to completely lose sight of your purpose and get confused about it!

Instead, there’s a new way to do it which Justin Brown learned from spending time with a shaman in Brazil.

After watching the video, I discovered my purpose in life and it dissolved my feelings of frustration and dissatisfaction. This helped me to find much more personal sovereignty and satisfaction in my life.

4) Being willing to stand alone

How willing are you to stand alone, to be disliked even?

Answering this question honestly can tell you a lot about the state of your personal sovereignty.

It’s not just force that fits us into boxes, labels and unsatisfying lives, it’s a fear of being disliked or disagreeing with others.

However the price of living a life that’s true to yourself is often the willingness to be disliked by some people.

You can’t please everyone all the time, and that’s just the way it goes.

Learning to accept this is huge in embracing your own personal sovereignty and increasing it.

5) Take responsibility for yourself

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We’re all interconnected and many of us have been victimized by others and also treated others poorly.

That’s life, unfortunately.

But until you take responsibility for yourself, personal sovereignty will elude you.

Taking responsibility doesn’t mean you say that everything bad in your life is your fault, nor does it mean that you beat yourself up.

It simply means that you stop focusing on who’s to blame for your problems and start laser-focusing on solutions.

This is easier said than done, but it’s vital if we want to seize our personal sovereignty and put it to use building productive and amazing lives.

Writing at Brilliant Medicine, Reya says:

“As islands of Sovereignty unto ourselves, we recognize that each of us, alone, must take responsibility for ourselves.”

6) Holding your own beliefs

The world is a complex and big place, and it’s all too easy to just repeat ideas you hear as if they were your own.

To some extent or other we’re all products of integration or pushback against the families, cultures and belief systems we grew up in.

Holding your own beliefs is a matter of deciding what to keep and what to leave behind.

You follow your path of spirituality, religion or faith systems in the way that makes sense and speaks to you.

And you don’t let anybody else tell you why you need to do it differently.

You hold your own beliefs, and no matter how hard the world pushes, you stick to your own path.

7) Break out of the box

Deciding what you believe and why is hugely important.

It’s like the north star that guides you on your journey.

For many of us, the conditioning and narratives that have been put into our heads are something we never question.

But what if you could change your level of personal sovereignty by digging deep into your user manual and deciding what to keep or not?

The truth is, most of us never realize how much power and potential lies within us.

We become bogged down by continuous conditioning from society, the media, our education system and more.

The result?

The reality we create becomes detached from the reality that lives within our consciousness.

I learned this (and much more) from the world-renowned shaman Rudá Iandé. In this excellent free video, Rudá explains how you can lift the mental chains and get back to the core of your being.

A word of caution – Rudá isn’t your typical shaman.

He doesn’t paint a pretty picture or sprout toxic positivity like so many other gurus do.

Instead, he’s going to force you to look inwards and confront the demons within. It’s a powerful approach, but one that works.

So if you’re ready to take this first step and align your dreams with your reality, there’s no better place to start than with Rudá’s unique technique

Here’s a link to the free video again.

8) Financial independence

Money matters quite a lot in life, since our nations and their goods and services run off it.

Many of us grow up with strong beliefs around money, however it is ultimately just a tool.

It’s all about what you do with it.

Believing money is inherently good or inherently bad can lead us off course in our lives.

When you chase paper at the expense of everything else, you often end up sacrificing your own values and losing sight of your purpose.

If you don’t care enough about money you can lose your personal sovereignty easily by being chained down to an awful job or stuck in relationships you hate.

But if you care too much about money you can end up letting yourself down in order to make bank.

Both extremes should be avoided whenever possible.

Just remember that money is a tool, not a final goal.

9) Being honest even if it hurts

Honesty is a value that many of us talk about. It’s important, we should do it more, and so on.

Actually being honest to others and ourselves on a consistent basis is a lot more difficult, however.

This is especially true when that honesty has the potential to be inconvenient or even upsetting.

For example, admitting to someone that you don’t have romantic feelings for them and letting them down despite the pain.

Or telling an employee that their work quality simply isn’t good enough at this time and must be improved.

On the interior side, it could come down to being honest with yourself that you’re kind of ugly.

Or being honest to yourself that you are very disappointed in your love life and don’t know how to do better.

Be honest, even if it hurts! You’ll make much more progress.

10) Innovating instead of imitating

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There’s nothing wrong with imitation. It’s not like everybody who’s helped build an aircraft went and redid the experiments of Orville and Wilbur Wright.

However many engineers did make improvements and have led us to the kind of incredible aircraft we have today.

Part of that innovation is a mindset of not only following, but also leading.

It’s often about innovation over imitation and building on the best of the past to make something even more amazing.

When Alexander Graham Bell invented telephones he likely didn’t foresee a world where we’d talk to family and friends on a small screen in 2022.

But he took that first step and invented a brilliant new technology. Then bright minds and people with enormous drive and personal sovereignty build on the foundation that he had helped create.

This is what it’s all about: contribution and innovation as we keep moving forward in technology and society with tools that have many potentially helpful uses.

11) Geographic mobility

Personal sovereignty has plenty to do with your internal values, finding your purpose and believing what you choose to believe.

But it also has a physical and literal level.

How free are you on a daily basis to go to different places?

How long has it been since you drove home a totally different way than usual, spoke to someone in a different country or tried eating at a completely unusual restaurant in another area of where you live?

Are you able to travel occasionally or is it out of the question for you?

Some situations simply don’t allow for a lot of travel or geographic mobility, but it can be a very good metric for understanding your level of personal sovereignty.

There are many situations like having a family where we take responsibility for supporting others, and this understandably diminishes personal sovereignty somewhat.

However in many other cases the lack of personal sovereignty can be something we have fallen into without even realizing it, riding the same subway day in and day out, and falling into a hypnotic trance.

Go new places, explore new areas (even if it’s within your own city). Your personal sovereignty will increase greatly.

12) Freely chosen relationships

Relationships can be a blessing or a curse. Many of us end up in relationships that quickly turn toxic or leave us feeling disappointed and empty.

One of the biggest signs of personal sovereignty is that you choose what relationships to be in and you also know when to end them.

You’d rather be single than with the wrong person.

As somebody who lacks much personal sovereignty, you may often find yourself getting entrapped in relationships that seep your energy and proactivity.

As you begin to improve, you will only seek out those who are ready to give the way you are, and you won’t accept manipulative and exploitative behavior.

It’s really that simple.

The new, powerful you

Personal sovereignty is all about making your own choices in life and taking responsibility for them.

If you are already high on the sovereignty score, then your next step may be a matter of deciding what direction you want to head.

If you are low on the sovereignty score, your next step will be to build more personal sovereignty in your life.

I suggest starting with Out of the Box and with Justin’s strange and effective new way of finding your purpose in life.

These will set you well on the road to increasing your personal sovereignty to maximum levels.

Paul Brian

Paul R. Brian is a freelance journalist and writer. His book Cultworld was published last year. Follow him on Twitter @paulrbrian and visit his website at www.paulrbrian.com

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