Personal sovereignty is an issue which affects each of us as individuals and as a society, whether we realize it or not. Understanding it can help us to interpret what is going on within us and around us. Increasing it can radically transform our existence.
The word "sovereign" means to be in supreme authority over someone or something, and to be extremely effective and powerful. Therefore, it is usually applied to gods, royalty and governments. We speak of kings and queens as sovereigns (even when they are figureheads), and of the sovereign rights of nations and States.
Personal sovereignty, then, would imply the intrinsic authority and power of an individual to determine his or her own direction and destiny. If that sounds suspiciously like free will, it's because personal sovereignty and free will are the same thing.
Just as being a sovereign nation means having the right and power to make decisions and take actions in the national interest without being forced to by another nation, so being a sovereign person means being able to choose oneÌs actions and reactions without being forced to by another person. To the degree there is free will in all such choices, national or personal, there is sovereignty.
Although sovereignty also means to be powerful and effective, it doesn't necessarily follow that once you have it you can do anything you want. Whether you are a nation or a person, you also have to consider the sovereignty of others. Of course, you could try to diminish or destroy the sovereignty of others to get what you want, the way nations and people sometimes do, but human experience shows that you can usually accomplish more by cooperating than by conquering.
Ultimately, however, we each have only as much sovereignty as we can demonstrate. Having sovereign rights and being sovereign are not the same thing.
The way to increase your personal sovereignty is to increase your use of free will. The way to do that is to decide for yourself what actions to take and reactions to have in any situation, and to decide for yourself how to interpret your actions and reactions whether they are freely chosen or not.
For instance, if you work for someone and are ordered to do an unpleasant task, it can feel like you have lost some of your free will. But in addition to remembering that you can always quit, you can also decide for yourself that you are not working for the boss; you are providing a compensated service, and you can decide to do the task because you choose to, not because you are ordered to. The point is, you can always choose your actions and reactions.
Beware, though. Personal sovereignty has a high price. It's called personal responsibility. As you increase your use of free will, you also increase your responsibility for your own actions and reactions. Increase it enough and you won't be able to blame your parents, your enemies, your friends, your lovers or spouse, society, fate, Satan or God for anything having to do with your experience.
If a lot of people were to greatly increase their personal responsibility our society would undergo tremendous change. Co-dependent and manipulative relationships would all but disappear; untold numbers of trial lawyers would have to find new professions; politicians would be held accountable for their decisions; insurance companies would have to change a lot of policies; people of different faiths would be more tolerant of each other, humanity would act more from love than fear... Now what kind of world would that be?