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Ep #115: Understanding Autonomy | Becoming You Again Podcast

Whether we're aware of it or not, most of us are unintentionally causing more suffering and pain in our relationships. In this episode you'll discover how embracing the concept of autonomy can help transform your emotional health and stability. Autonomy, or the capacity to make informed, uncoerced decisions, is a fundamental aspect of our human experience. When we truly understand and respect the autonomy of both ourselves and others, we can create healthier, more balanced relationships.

Listen in as I dive into the importance of recognizing autonomy in your relationships and the positive impact it can have on your emotional well-being. I'll share examples of what this might look like in your every day life, and what it might look like when you use your autonomy around setting boundaries for your ultimate self care.

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Grief and trauma are the two biggest struggles women deal with as they go through their divorce. It's highly likely that you are experiencing both and don't even realize what you're feeling. I'm here to tell you that it's okay for you to grieve your marriage (even if it was shitty) and it's normal to be experiencing some kind of trauma (which is essentially a disconnection from yourself - your mind, body and soul). I can help guide you through the grief in all of the forms it show up so you can heal. I can also teach you how to ground yourself in healing so you can ease through the trauma. Schedule your free consult by clicking here.

Featured on this episode:

  1. Interested in the Divorce Betrayal Transformation? Learn more here.

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Full Episode Transcript:

I'm Karin Nelson and you're listening to Becoming You Again, episode number 115.

Welcome to Becoming You Again the podcast to help with your mental and emotional well being during and after divorce. This is where you learn to overcome the trauma of your divorce by reconnecting with yourself creating lasting emotional resilience and living a truly independent life, so your life will be even better than when you were married. I'm your host, Karin Nelson.

Hello, lovely ladies, thank you so much for coming back to the podcast. Today I'm going to be talking about understanding autonomy and how it plays into our own emotional health and stability. Now, if we look up autonomy on Google, it tells us that autonomy is the ability or capacity to make an informed, uncoerced decision, and so, basically, the way I'll be talking about autonomy today is that we all get to be the way we are. Right, you get to be the way you are, i get to be the way I am, your ex gets to be the way he is, your kids get to be the way they are, and etc. Etc, etc. And this is an amazing thing when we think about it in terms of ourselves and our ability to be us and our ability to think and to feel and to believe and to choose the way we want and to live the way we want. However, autonomy is it's kind of a double edged sword, because it also means that if we get our autonomy, everyone else also gets to be the way they are. Everyone else also gets to think and feel and believe what they want, even if we think they shouldn't, even when we think that they're doing it all wrong, even when we think that it's not okay. And so this is where autonomy plays into our own emotional health and stability, because, when it comes to relationships, we can often cause ourselves extra suffering, extra negative emotion, feeling extra crappy on top of what we're already feeling because of this idea of autonomy, and forgetting that we all have it, because, again, when it comes to our relationships, whether it's with you or significant other, or your kids, or your mom or your neighbor who houses down, every person that is involved in that relationship has autonomy. Another way of thinking about autonomy or talking about it is thinking about it in terms of agency. Now, most of you know that I was raised in the Mormon Church, which is also called the LDS Church, but I was raised in that, and even though it's been years since I stopped being a member of that church, i still have all of the vestiges of what I learned being raised in the Mormon culture, in the Mormon society, in the Mormon Church, and a word that is used very often in Mormon Church is agency. The way the Mormons describe agency is that every human has the right to do basically whatever they want. Right. They have the right to choose one way or another, whether or not those choices go along with the teachings of God. They go along with the teachings of the prophet or not. We as humans have a right to choose, to be, to do And this is not just true for anyone who is a Mormon right. This is true for us as human beings. We all are autonomous. We all have agency. This is a human right that cannot be taken away from us. We always hold on to our autonomy or our agency, no matter what. Now, it may not mean that we have freedom in every way, but we can always choose how we want to think about things. But don't get me wrong here Having agency or having autonomy, it doesn't mean that there aren't consequences to our choices or that others' choices won't infringe upon us at different moments. But again, we always have our agency. We always have our autonomy to choose for ourselves in some way, even if all that means is we get to decide how we want to think about something, or we get to decide the kind of lenses that we want to look at something through, the kind of perspective that we want to see something with. I think an extreme example of this, but also an example that is very impactful and very truthful nonetheless, is in Victor Frankel's book Man's Search for Meaning. If you've read this book, you know exactly what I'm talking about. But basically, frankel was a prisoner in a concentration camp, and so he gives example after example of men who are being held prisoner in a concentration camp, who have been deprived of their very most basic human rights Things like food, things like warmth, things like clean water, things like safety, even right. And yet some of those men used their autonomy to decide how they were going to think about themselves in relation to the situation that was forced upon them. But we can also see this in examples that are in our everyday lives. Right Like, i can use my autonomy to make chicken for dinner and my partner can use his autonomy to say I don't really like chicken, i'm gonna order something from DoorDash. And then my son can use his autonomy to eat two servings of chicken because he has decided it's his favorite, right? These are all autonomous things that we all have the choice to do, because it's who we are. So why am I telling you this? The reason I'm telling you this is I want you to have a better understanding of autonomy, so that when you're in sticky situations in relationships, you can take away an extra layer of the suffering and the pain that you might be causing for yourself. When it comes to negative emotion, you can take away the need to try and control someone else's feelings or the way someone else acts or the way someone else shows up, because you understand that you don't have any control over that. You only have control over yourself, your thoughts, your feelings, your choices, your actions, and the better equipped you are to understand this, the better equipped you are to set boundaries when necessary, the better equipped you are to be responsible for your own emotions And the better equipped you are in being able to let go of being in charge of someone else's emotions as well. When someone uses their autonomy or their agency in a relationship and then we take that as a personal affront, we are creating so much suffering for ourselves, and oftentimes it's because we have this belief that this person should be acting different than they are. They're doing it wrong, and if they would just do it my way, then everything would be good. But what we have to understand is that the other person is also thinking that same thing about us. They're just thinking it from their own perspective. So let me give you a few examples. Let's say that you asked your son to feed the cat before you get home from work And then you get home, there's cat food in the food bowl, but there's also food all over the surrounding floor around the bowl, and you're immediately upset and you're immediately frustrated and you call your son into the room because you need to yell at him and tell him how he did it all wrong. I think we can probably all relate to this in some way, and whether or not it's cat food, but it could be something else, right? The reason you're upset and the reason you're feeling so much pain and suffering and annoyance and frustration and anger isn't because your son didn't feed the cat, because clearly he did. You're feeling pain, you're feeling the negative emotion, you're feeling the anger because you think that he should have fed the cats a different way. He should have used his autonomy in the way that you would use yours A better way, the way you do it, which is clearly the best way, right? Isn't that what we all think? Of course we all think this way because we're human, right? I'm not saying that it's bad or wrong to think this way. I'm just trying to point out to you this is what our human brains do. But guess what? Your son also has autonomy to be him and to do things his way. From your son's perspective. He did exactly what you asked. He fed the cat. He didn't even think that spilling the cat food was a big deal because, as he figured, now the cats are gonna have a little extra food and then you're maybe not gonna have to feed them as often because they have some extra food already there ready for them when they need it. So in his mind, a little extra food around the bottom of the cat bowl on the floor is actually a better way of doing it. It's more efficient because you have to do it less often. Now, i'm not saying that Either way is right or wrong. I'm just trying to help you see through this kind of silly example. Yes, i know it's silly, but I'm just trying to help you see, this is what our brains do and we create so much suffering in feeling the anger and feeling the Frustration over us, thinking that we, the way we're doing it, is right and the way they're doing it is wrong. And if they would just see that and do it our way, everything would be fine and good. But people have autonomy. He gets to do it his way, you get to do it your way. So let's look at it in terms of setting a boundary and remember boundaries Are a way of caring for yourself. Boundaries are not to be used to try and manipulate someone Into giving away their autonomy. That's not what boundaries are for. So, for example, let's say you've told your ex. Let's say you've told your ex not to come over unannounced and He continually comes over unannounced and he's been doing this for the last year and you are so annoyed and frustrated that he continues To cross your boundary. You've told him time and time again Don't come over unannounced. I don't know how many times I have to tell you not to come over unannounced And yet he still does it. And it's so frustrating and you yell at him and you swear at him and behind his back You're talking about it and you're so annoyed and you tell your sister he did it again And you call your lawyer and say what can I do about this and all the things? and yet he still continues to come over unannounced. But here's where understanding autonomy will help ease the suffering that you're creating for yourself in this way. It's not going to take away all of the negative emotion, because you're still human, but it can take away a layer of that suffering. It can take away the layer of anger, it might take away the layer of frustration, it might take away the layer of annoyance. You get to this place where you understand He has the autonomy or the agency to be himself and you get to the place where you stop Expecting him to be different than he is. You get to the place where you understand he's not going to uphold Your boundary. There's been no evidence up to this point that he will keep this boundary and, yes, we all agree with you, he should uphold the boundary. He should be doing it differently. He should be doing what you've asked of him. But our Agreeance with you in this way is not going to change him. It's not going to change his autonomy to do whatever he wants. And our Agreeance and our sympathizing and our understanding that, yes, he should be different Will not take away any of the negative emotion that you are feeling when you think he should be different than he is, when you let go of the expectation that he's going to uphold the boundary that you've set. That immediately dissipates some of that negative emotion that you're feeling, because You no longer expect that he is going to do it, you no longer think that he should be doing it. You let go of needing him To do it differently and you just expect that he's going to continue to show up unannounced. So, again, you let go of the need for him to be different. You let go of the need to for him to uphold that boundary for you. And what do we have left? we have options, because if we go back to the idea of what a boundary is, a Boundary is there to take care of you. It is for your own self care, your own self preservation. And so what would setting a boundary for your own self care in this situation look like? Maybe it means you just don't answer the door and Any time he comes over unannounced, you do not answer the door ever. That is your own self-preservation And you follow through for you. Maybe you live with kids and they're like I'm gonna open the door, okay. So what does that boundary look like for you then? Maybe it means you go in your room and you lock the door and you stay in your room. You don't come out until he leaves. Maybe it means you take a walk around the block until he drives away. Maybe it means you call the police, like I don't know. There's like probably hundreds of options here. But you look at it from a way of if he has autonomy and he's going to show up as him, i also have autonomy and I am going to show up as me. And if I want to create some self-care and self-preservation, what will my boundary look like for me and how will I follow through? We don't leave it to someone else and their autonomy to uphold our boundary. We leave it to ourselves and our own autonomy to uphold our own boundaries. Autonomy is a beautiful thing When we think about it as a freedom that we have to think and to feel and to believe whatever we want. However, if we have that for ourselves, we also have to understand that every other human also has that right, also has autonomy, and so we'll, having a better understanding of autonomy, take away all of your negative emotions and all of the pain and all of the suffering that you might be feeling in relationships in your lives. Of course not. We are human and having a better understanding of how to human will never be able to do that. It will never fully, 100%, take away negative emotion, because negative emotion is part of humanity, it's part of our lives. But having a better understanding of autonomy may actually help you pick and choose more intentionally the moments where you might need to set a boundary and follow through for yourself, or the moments where you may want to feel that negative emotion towards someone or something, or it may help you have a better understanding of the moments where you may just want to let things go All right. My friends, that is what I have for you today. I hope this helps you to have a better understanding of autonomy and what that means for you and what that means for your relationships moving forward. And, as always, i will be back next week.

If you like what you're learning on the podcast and you're ready to create lasting change in results in your life. Then you need to be working one on one with Karin as your divorce coach. This is where we take everything you're learning in the podcast and 10 x it with implementation and weekly coaching where you start to see change in yourself and your life immediately. To find out more about how to work exclusively with Karin go to www dot Karin Nelson That's www dot k a r i n n e l s o n

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