Emotional autonomy will set you free

Emotional autonomy will set you free

Only those who have achieved emotional autonomy can truly express themselves

Lack of  autonomy  is the basis of many psychological ailments. A person with limited autonomy is a bit like a house that has problems with foundations: very little is needed to disturb it.

The concept of autonomy is closely related to that of self- love and self-esteem .


Self-love can be described as an affective state that pushes us to take care of our person and therefore to “love each other”.  The concept of  care  is very broad and should not be limited to the body sphere. When we talk about self-love and loving ourselves , care also incorporates taking care of ourselves  from a socio-emotional point of view. Self-love is therefore the  ability to love each other , to respect, protect and value oneself, dedicating one’s life to realizing oneself, choosing what makes you feel good and refusing what makes you feel bad, choosing the people with whom to share time and also the places where to spend it. The concept of self-love therefore involves the person in all its aspects: body, mind and living environment. Health is given by the balance that these three components reach.

Self esteem

The ‘ self-esteem is a subjective process that leads the person to evaluate and appreciate themselves through the approval of personal value based on self-perception.

The synthesis is this: “I perceive myself as a person of value, worthy of love and esteem”. 

The sense of self-esteem derives mainly from the relationships that each person internalizes and re-elaborates starting from the relationships with the primary figures (the parents); self-esteem is not something stable and permanent but is sensitive to changes, therefore it must be constantly nourished. Since it is a “subjective perceptual process”, the environment in which we move has a strong impact on self-esteem: the people we decide to attend constantly influence the esteem we have for ourselves and in turn we influence the self-esteem of others.


The ability to be independent, to self-direct and self-determine, recognizing in itself some strengths you can count on to get by yourself. Autonomy gives us the ability to make courageous choices rather than being carried away by external pressures. Self-esteem and autonomy are essential: autonomy is in fact the attitude that allows us to trust and rely on our internal resources rather than external ones, those internal resources that allow us to move in the direction of our needs and values, therefore to maintain the route of coherence with oneself and with one’s nature.

Awareness and self-acceptance

Self-love, self-esteem and autonomy are three pillars that lay the foundations for two other fundamental concepts: self-awareness and self-acceptance.

In summary: I can only esteem myself if I know myself deeply . I can accept myself, only if I know my limits and learn to evaluate them in a compassionate and not hyper-critical perspective.

With acceptance, the courage to know how to forgive oneself for mistakes made but also for defects is expressed. This process allows you to cease a hypercritical judgment and self-addressed reproaches, allows you to give yourself the opportunity to deserve another chance to grow and improve . At the basis of autonomy and self-esteem is the enhancement of one’s strengths at the expense of defects, certainly recognized, but accepted and forgiven. Warning! Acceptance does not mean resignation. For a better understanding, I recommend reading the article dedicated to the concept of acceptance in psychology.

Interpersonal relationships

Personal autonomy is a strongly desired feature. Here is the good news: autonomous people are not born, they become . Attention, there is also a “bad news” or at least, an unexpected notion: the process of acquiring autonomy can take place only partially in “solitary”, we are being social and for this reason we can become autonomous also thanks to others , that is thanks to  interpersonal relationships .

Why did I spell this out? Because autonomy  is not an excuse to  avoid relationships with others . Autonomy is not a  defense mechanism  that keeps you  safe from emotional wounds and betrayals, it is not something that makes you say ” I don’t need anyone “. But autonomy will make you say ” I’m fine with myself ” or ” I’m not afraid of loneliness ” and at the same time it will allow you to forge deep ties with each other. This is extremely important because when we are faced with an abandonment, we should process mourning, the loss of the other, without having to deal with the total loss of one’s identity. personal .

Autonomy is not something to be pursued for the  need to defend yourself from what you believe may hurt you , rather the opposite is true! When you reach the right degree of autonomy and  self-sufficiency , you will be more resilient: not only will you be able to surround yourself with the right people but also when life will put you to the test, you will be able to get up more quickly and the hit will not be so hard. Do you remember the house metaphor mentioned in the introduction? Autonomy gives you strong foundations.

Cultivating your autonomy does not mean isolating yourself or getting by yourself. Someone distorts the meaning of ” independence ” and “autonomy”. Autonomy does not impose distances between oneself and the other, it is the natural consequence of self-esteem and allows closeness . Autonomy allows you to feel good with each other and at the same time gives you the opportunity to  experience solitude in perfect harmony.

Those who isolate themselves or aspire to live without bonds probably have interpersonal difficulties. The human being, as such, needs to forge relationships and can do so in a healthy way and in perfect harmony with his own needs.

Poor autonomy

A poor sense of autonomy pushes the person to doubt their own abilities, to avoid difficult tasks, to withdraw from the first obstacles , it also causes difficulties in making decisions. A poor sense of autonomy leads to lack of motivation , to make little effort to achieve one’s goals, to surround oneself with demotivating people, to feel more stress and have unambitious aspirations. All this causes psychological distress, with a greater probability of establishing pathological relationships , falling into the trap of depression and anxiety .

When poor autonomy is also associated with a sense of emptiness , feeling unfit for life , guilty, wrong … a position of vulnerability is created which can lead to  emotional dependence . In this context, a sense of personal identity may be completely lacking  . The addiction process contains not only the attempt to avoid non-being, but also a request to exist. It exists through the other.

If you consider self-sufficiency as the indispensable remedy for not needing anyone , I recommend you read the article dedicated to emotional counter-dependence.

How to build your own autonomy

Every day we invest a lot of energy to avoid unpleasant situations and fight against painful inner experiences. We invest energy in making judgments about ourselves and in making constant comparisons with others . We strive to make ourselves accepted by our neighbor when in the first place we should work and invest energy on self-acceptance and self-awareness.

Self-acceptance is an act of great flexibility and open-mindedness, it allows us to conquer and cultivate good inner harmony, the perfect basis for being autonomous.

To start the process leading to autonomy it is necessary to understand the origins of one’s lack of autonomy. Understand the fears associated with it , get in touch and then distance ourselves from it with acceptance and awareness. This process leads to re-appropriation of oneself , free from a sort of captivity that activates a full and free manifestation of oneself . This process can take place in the relationship with the therapist, therefore it would be appropriate to evaluate the beginning of a psychotherapeutic path.

To understand what to do to cultivate healthy autonomy , I recommend reading the article dedicated to self-love.