Codependency externalizes our sense of authority, personhood, worth, and experience. It outsources these factors to people we feel connected to and dependent on for our sense of being real, being worthy, being lovable, and being “allowed”.
In other words, the fawn response that drives codependent behaviors has us believing that others have an inherent authority to define our worth, who we are, and what we’re permitted to be, do, or have in our personal lives.
This kind of enmeshment can show up in on specific areas for a person (like being lovable as a romantic partner), or it can be pervasive across the entire person’s world (like it was for me – I thought others and their feelings and perspectives defined me, especially so if they were in a position of power or authority over me).
Personally, I was not raised to taught that I had any kind of sovereignty or innate autonomy over my life. Instead, I was taught to please authorities over me in order to garner worthiness, power, and permission to receive things that mattered to me.
I lived in terror, believing that my worth as a person was conditional, controlled by the pleasure of others, and that what I could have in my life was either allowed or denied by external authority.
My healing journey brought me to know that I have what I called, “Innate Sovereignty” or “Natural Authority” over myself, including my body, my time, my energy, my resources.
When a person has this kind of sovereignty, it means they’re the supreme, or top, authority over their personal life and resources.
It means that their worth as a person is self-evident and requires no justification.
It means that they can use their personal power however they deem fit (although it doesn’t give them any escape from the consequences that come from the use of that personal power).
It means that their needs and wants have inherent validity and they can pursue the means to fulfill those needs and wants.
It means their feelings and perspectives carry weight and validity.
It means they can take up space, use resources, and build life.
Sovereignty brings a person back to their natural personal power, helps them see what they’re naturally powerless in, and guides them in building cooperative relationships with others.
So, how do we start this process of connecting back to Sovereignty?
I start my students in the Codependency Healing System with a practice that teaches them to trust their inherently legitimacy to take up space. It starts as a What-Shift’s Question: What shifts if you trust, just for a moment, that you have the right to take up space?
This gentle practice helps you start to experience what it means to you to take up space and begin experimenting with taking up space in how you use your energy, your time, your body, your money, your life.
Then we build from there into Innate Value, Personal Power, and more.
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