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 bioethicalphilosophy. 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 byKant. 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 one day when I was mid studying to be an NLP Practitioner I discovered that I want autonomy in my life, in particular in the context of my relationship. My intimate relationship mostly. But I think, if you like, you can extend this outwards.
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 my 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 saw it was so much bigger than that – 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 my past relationships hadn’t had this at all, but too much of what I thought would make me happy depended on how HE (the person I was having a relationship with) 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. But what I see now that autonomy is not about us, it’s about me being 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.
In the context of love then, 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.