We don’t mean to give away our autonomy. It just seems to happen. After all, we’ve been doing it for years, since we were about eight.
You see, society taught us to give away our autonomy.
This started to happen during the Industrial era, when the primary concern for government and industry was having a compliant workforce. Even our education systems were designed that way, to create people who were obedient.*
So, how are you giving away your autonomy?
- By not questioning what you’re told/asked to do
- By following the masses, instead of considering what your own values are
- By allowing others to control you, or put you down
- By feeling as though you have to behave in or be a certain way
- By believing that government and industry have your best interests at heart, that they wouldn’t knowingly do or make anything that would harm you
- By believing in perfection
Things like that.
Individually, you may not feel they’re a big deal. But we rarely do just one or two. And the effect of doing most or all of these things is devastating. You start to feel lost, hollow inside, as if you’re impotent, and don’t matter.
But you do matter. A lot. And you need your autonomy back.
How do you go about getting your power back? You start small, that’s how. You pick one thing, and start looking at it another way. When you’ve mastered that, choose another. And so on.
Here are some ways of reframing these long-held habits.
- Not questioning what you’re told/asked to do:
==> Ask yourself what you truly think of what you’re doing. Do you agree with it? Do you understand it? Does it fit with your values/what’s important to you?
- Following the masses, instead of considering what your own values are:
==> Do you actually think like the masses? Do you really care what [insert celebrity here] says, does, thinks, wears? Do you need all of that stuff? Does stuff matter more to you than anything else?
- Allowing others to control you, or put you down:
==> How you react to things other people do or say is YOUR choice. You can choose to let someone control you, or you can exercise your free will. You can choose not to feel belittled by something said to you. See these things for what they truly are – failings of the other person, not you. And feel compassion for them, not anger.
- Feeling as though you have to behave in or be a certain way:
==> See above. This is about control. Control by society (e.g. dress like this if you want to be successful). Control by your family (e.g. don’t show us up by doing that).
- Believing that government and industry have your best interests at heart, that they wouldn’t knowingly do or make anything that would harm you:
==> Question everything. Inform yourself as thoroughly as you can. Most motivations are not honourable and have FAR more to do with power and money than anything else. If you do not agree with what government or industry is doing, vote them out – literally, in the case of government, and with your wallets, in the case of industry. People power is stronger than anything else… if we use it.
- Believing in perfection:
==> Perfection is either something imposed on us by others, or is a form of self-torture. Either way, you need to drop this notion if you’re going to regain your power. Doing your best is what matters. Always. Just remember that your best will vary from moment to moment, and day-to-day. And that doing your best is never competitive.
You were born autonomous, it’s how you’re meant to be. And it’s how you can be if you make some changes in your life.
* “In our dreams, people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hands. The present education conventions of intellectual and character education fade from their minds and unhampered by tradition we work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive folk. We shall not try to make these people or any of their children into men of learning or philosophers, or men of science. We have not to raise up from them authors, educators, poets or men of letters, great artists, painters, musicians, nor lawyers, doctors, statesmen, politicians, creatures of whom we have ample supply. The task is simple. We will organize children and teach them in a perfect way the things their fathers and mothers are doing in an imperfect way.” First mission statement of the J.D. Rockefeller-endowed General Education Board in 1906