All Relationships have expectations and rules - mostly unspoken and even more often we don’t realize we have them. These rules aren’t malicious - we have habits and patterns in relationships because as humans it makes sense that over time, there are predictable behaviors from one another.

Surrendering your autonomy

Loyalty to someone other than yourself is breeding ground for inauthenticity and for surrendering your autonomy. Loyalty from others as a core value says that no matter what you need, being their support, on their side, in their lane is the priority. This means ignoring your own inner voice, your independent and individual needs. Autonomy is, by definition, the the quality or state of being self-governing especially. It is the ability to make your own decisions about your own person. It’s the freedom to decide what happens to you, with you and around you physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

Autonomy is the antithesis of codependency and a crucial ingredient in interdependence. Interdependence is where two people are autonomous and understand their experiences influence and inspire one another without overriding each person’s right to make their own decisions and govern themselves without intervention. Take a look at where in your relationships perfectionism or loyalty has overpowered autonomy.  Perfectionism - people pleasing - productivity based self worth - are all indicative of some holes in your autonomy practice.

It is not authentic

When you avoid conflict in an effort to keep the peace, you sacrifice the ability to advocate for your own emotional needs. When you overextend yourself by volunteering to help when you are already tired or have a long to do list in your daily life that you never feel satisfied with when checking things off at the end of the day, you are surrendering your own well-being, your true needs and therefor not governing your personal life with your truest self. When your objective is to be productive for the sake of being able to check things off a list, you aren’t operating from the place of authentic experience. Where do you see this surrendering of autonomy in your life, in your relationships? 

When you discover that others have been wanting you to do things their way, according to the needs and goals they have, it can provoke unexpected feelings and emotions.  And the hardest part sometimes is when we realize we have been the one demanding or expecting loyalty rather than autonomy from people we are in relationships with. It was extremely challenging reflecting on times in my life where I inserted myself and what I wanted for people in their decision making. From friends to team members to my kids and my husband….it doesn’t feel great when you realize you have been operating from maladaptive patterns. That you have been bulldozing someone’s autonomy.

It is time to get back to who you are

These choices, that behavior was coming from a place of unhealed trauma as I tried to control the situation and manufacture safety and security for myself. As we know, the behavior patterns of perfectionism were a clever way your mind discovered in an effort to survive and without them, you may not be where you are today. It is time to get back to who you are, truly. Who you are underneath the layers of armor you put on over the years to minimize the anxiety, guilt and shame of not being enough, of not being safe in the world you lived in. I encourage you to have compassion for yourself and even for those who have assaulted your autonomy.

So where in your life is autonomy wilted or suffocating?
Where have you surrendered your autonomy in an effort to please the people you love and care about?
Where do you hide things you are interested in or care about? 
What are you NOT doing because it might offend someone?
Who do you avoid telling things to or do you immediately regret sharing something you are excited about with?
What is it that you wish you could do, say or have but haven’t because of someone else’s understanding of you?

One of the best ways to get back to who you truly are is to get curious - ask more questions more often of yourself.


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