When I look for the definition of Autonomy I find several. ‘Self-directing freedom and especially moral independence ‘ (Merriam Webster). Or ‘The ability to make your own decisions without being controlled by someone else ‘ (Cambridge Dictionary).
When I look for the definition of an Autonomous Person I find: ‘An autonomous person strives for what matters or is valuable to him or her and walks his or her own path in life’ (Encyclo).
Autonomy is something I strive for, more and more, and it doesn’t come easy. How do I follow my own path, according to what I value and find important? It starts already with the question “What is important to me?” which is not always an easy question to answer. As what you think is important might not even be yours. It might be something which comes from your parents, family or peers.
It is useful to check this for yourself. To go within and feel what is important to you. I found that financial security for example is important to me. But when I looked deeper I could also feel that this was partly fear driven. The fear of not having enough, the fear of having to be dependent on someone else.
By exploring what this meant for me I could get to the essence of it. Financial security is still important to me but I want it to be less dominant, as it otherwise drives too many decisions in which I should let my heart do the talking, not my fear.
“What do I really want in life?” is an important question. To become more aware of your own needs and desires. Your own longing. Once you connect to this, the following step is to walk the talk and to live your life. That is where I believe, true freedom can be found.
You will face challenges when you walk your own path. Some people feel they are being egoists if they do so. Others experience that people will no longer connect with you and face rejection. You will be challenged on your values as others want you to change or do something else. To some extent we all want to belong right?
I do at least. But I also found that if I deviate too much from my own path, go with the flow of others, I abandon myself, and that has consequences as well. I have also experienced that being closer to who I truly am attracts new people and I create deeper and more meaningful connections with the people that I hold dear in life.
There is always a risk. The risk of being rejected, that is life. But that doesn’t mean you should compromise on what you hold dear and who you truly are. Choosing your own path means that you might lose as well, that is something you will have to deal with. But I have seen time and time again that in the pursue of being loved, of being accepted, in seeking recognition, in compromising who you are, you will lose a lot more. YOU
So? What do you truly want? Do you know what is important for you? And are you willing to take a first step towards a more autonomous life? One where you start accepting who you truly are and live life accordingly.
It takes courage and faith in yourself, in your own strength to do so. But the reward will be sweet.
You will live YOUR LIFE, not someone else’s.