Autonomy (Ancient Greek: αὐτονομία autonomia from αὐτόνομος autonomos from αὐτο- auto- “self” + νόμος nomos, “law”, hence when combined understood to mean “one who gives oneself their own law“) is a concept found in moral, political, and bioethical philosophy. Within these contexts, it is the capacity of a rational individual to make an informed, un-coerced decision. In moral and political philosophy, autonomy is often used as the basis for determining moral responsibility and accountability for one’s actions. One of the best known philosophical theories of autonomy was developed by Kant. In medicine, respect for the autonomy of patients is an important goal, though it can conflict with a competing ethical principle, namely beneficence. Autonomy is also used to refer to the self-government of the people. – Wikipedia
So today I discovered that I want autonomy in my life, in particular in the context of my relationship with my guy (give me time, I think this will get better and less conceptual, but given the last 3 days, I can’t promise anything!).
I’m doing an NLP practitioner training course (with the delightful Wilbert and Grace from www.dynamiccreation.com.au and 6 of the most beautiful people who live in my world) and we just completed day 9 in block 3, so making these kind of discoveries during the process of the day is pretty normal for the training. It means when I come home I’m fairly reflective and intenssse, which worries my guy because I seem to have lost my words. That, in the context of our relationship, and in general the amount he knows I like to talk, is worrying!
I thought when I discovered that autonomy was the thing I wanted that I knew what that meant. I thought it meant that in the context of our relationship I want to be OK – that I can love him and want him and need him but not need him to be or do anything in particular to make me OK. If that makes sense. It did to me at the time I discovered it.
Did I mean another word? Autonomy didn’t come out straight away, but when it did I was certain it was the right word. So does that mean what I want is something else? When I read the definition I see it’s so much bigger than that, it’s not just about me being OK (as in OK with myself, who I am, how I am, how we are), but about being someone who “gives oneself their own law”. Which is more about being authentic and real and honest and made up of all of you that is light, and all of you that is dark, and knowing what it is you want and where it is all going for you, and how (somehow) it all fits together, and being the ruler of YOU.
When you’re the ruler of YOU, you know how to be, what works best for you, what you believe in, what the purpose is, what the point is, and how you need to be in respect to other people to feel what you want to feel with them. In reflection, it’s not that our relationship hasn’t had this, but too much of what I thought would make me happy depended on how he was being to ME. It didn’t matter whether or not how he was being had anything to do with me, I could just as easily make it to do with me, and then make that mean something (often negative) and then not be how I wanted to be with him. Autonomy is not about us, it’s about me be able to honour my own law within the context of us. So be me, within us. And allow him the freedom to be him. And him the freedom to be who he is, without making that about me.
I know if he reads this he’ll probably be confused. Not because he’s stupid (he’s not, he occasionally beats me at Scrabble) but because this would not make sense to him, as it comes from a place in me, that barely makes sense to me logically, but feels right. Like how the autonomy sounded when it came out today. Not getting any less conceptual here I know, sorry about that.
In the context of love, autonomy means to me that you just be YOU, and rule yourself and master who you need to be to make your world rock, and your love real, and your heart sing. And allow your love everything he/she needs to find his/her tempo in that, even if at first (or always) it’s an entirely different instrument.