Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You! –– Dr. Seuss
From recent research it seems like we are hardwired for the desire of autonomy. It seems like when we feel our autonomy and freedom is restricted many people experience they are not happy. Here I have to say a few words about what does autonomy means? If we talk about such a crucial topic on how we perceive ourselves without having the same associations and understanding, it is like Laurie Anderson sings in her song: “Language is a virus from outer space”. The way I have learned about being autonomous is as follows: there are two types of autonomy: the ego-autonomy where the focus is on you and how you manage to do things by yourself and for yourself. Be self-reliant and self-sufficient. Be independent. Then there is the real autonomy or, dependent on your beliefs – spiritual or not – the we-autonomy; meaning to act autonomously while acknowledging the fact of belonging, to your group of reference, to society, to human kind. It means that you are in fact always connected, not separate from anyone. You are so to say “doomed” to whatever you do, to be in contact, in some kind of relation, to somebody. At home, at work, travelling, shopping, on a holiday and even when you’re watching TV or reading a book.
While the ego-autonomy is focussing on being self-sufficient as an individual, the we-autonomy allows us to feel the self-sufficiency as an individual and as a collective, being a co-creator. Actually there is no ego-autonomy, it is only a result of a limited awareness to think of an individual independence. To have a healthy and real relationship you also have to have a sense of how you function from the we-perspective. Taping into the future also means to see, we are moving toward a more we-oriented society. The concept of autonomy is of such grate importance and I will cover this in depths later. So when you answer the questions have this in mind.
This word is, as so many others, a buzzword and it is used in many different
contexts like sociology, politics, philosophy, religion and medicine. I will try to define it from the perspective of the individual. The autonomy of the individual generally means one who gives oneself one’s own laws or independence or freedom, as off the will or one’s actions. This sounds almost like anarchy and here in Germany when I start to talk about autonomy, the reaction of most people is disgust. They have the inner belief that autonomy has something to do with an anarchistic revolution, with skipping all established regulations and acting egocentric only. As I have stated earlier, it is language that creates reality. And so it is also with this word. So we have to analyse what is it that makes an individual in today’s society an autonomous citizen? There are two forms of autonomy. First it is the ego autonomy, which in the Diamond Approach means “recognizing and developing this sense of personal involvement”. We have to learn to be separate on our own; financially, make our own decisions, think for yourself, live independently, be self-reliant, be self-sufficient, feel good about ourselves and also be emotionally autonomous. You know how to set your own borders. Be mature and be able to deal with an occurring crisis in a mature way. Not feeling ego autonomous feels like being incomplete and dependent on others.
In addition to the ego autonomy we can grow into real or essential autonomy.
Then there is the essential or real autonomy. From a spiritual perspective, essential autonomy means being one with the God inside yourself. That means being free off any ego reactivity. You might not appreciate the spiritual approach and in that case you can call it the we-autonomy. Because you are not alone in this world, you also have to have a sense of that you are not separate from the world and what happens in the world. You have to have an understanding of how you with your ego autonomy ought to or should operate. How you can use all your skills and competencies to be both of and in the world.
What would it feel like for you to be the autonomous woman you know you are?