The ancient myths and legends are full of tales of rightful kings and queens who lost their thrones and struggled to reclaim them. It was believed, in the ancient times, that the right to rule was given by God, by a higher power, and any pretender to the throne could never be more than that–a pretender. The true king or queen always retained the right to rule and, in the end, was always restored to his or her throne.
This is true for all of us–no one but ourselves has the right to rule our lives. No one else can or should. No matter what situation we find ourselves in, no matter how dark or terrible, no one else can take from us the decision of how to react, of how to face the challenges before us. We all have that right and freedom, and it can not be taken away.
Unfortunately, not many of us realize our power. We think we are besieged by usurpers at every turn. We think that others are trying to controls us–our families, our friends, our partners. Our bosses, co-workers and strangers we meet on the street. We feel like we have no control over our lives, and so we doubt our power and suspect others of stealing it from us. We keep our guard up. We fear others requiring our time and attention; we fear manipulation.
And perhaps sometimes we are right–perhaps some are trying to take our power from us, to prove their own strength by claiming what isn’t theirs. But no matter how much they try, no one can take your power from you. Not ever. Return to the truth. No one rules your life but you. You are the one and only true-born king or queen of your personal kingdom. Even if you’ve forgotten your power for years, it is still yours, and you can always reclaim it.
The choice is yours. Anne Frank chose to find beauty out of the one small window that let in daylight. Victor Frankel chose to bring compassion and sympathy into his experience of the Holocaust. Mary, Queen of Scots, chose to die with the dignity of a queen as she went to her beheading. We may not be able to control life, but we are always able to control what part we play in it.
The equally important part of this understanding, when it comes to relationships, is that every other person on this planet is also sovereign of his or her own life. You cannot usurp the power others have over their lives any more than they can usurp yours. So let them rule their own lives. Even when it’s your child, your spouse, your best friend–trust that they are the only proper sovereign of their world, just as you are the only proper sovereign of yours. You may think you know better than they do, but you don’t. It is not your domain.
Awareness of your own power, and of the equal power of others, is what brings peace to relationships. We no longer try to control others or fear that they will control us. We meet as equals, the rulers of two kingdoms coming together, perhaps sharing stories, perhaps lending advice or aid, but never trying to take what cannot be taken, or defend what cannot be lost.