autonomousAn autonomous person is someone who likes who they are and the activities they participate in. 

Here’s a question only you can answer: Do you like and accept yourself for who you are or are you constantly looking for others to tell you what you should like and who you should be?

If you’re like many people, your honest answer might be that you really don’t feel comfortable in your own skin. That’s because autonomy takes work.

In His book, “Why We Do What We Do” Edward L. Deci tells us there are three basic psychological needs, these are competence, relatedness and autonomy. You can find more about Deci’s theory in my book, Convergence, the Secrets of Black Belt Peak Performance (to be published in January 2017).

While all three needs are vital for psychological health, today let’s look at how autonomy, which Deci describes as “acting in accordance to one’s self, in charge of one’s own actions, being authentic” affects how well we accept ourselves.

Self Image and Being Autonomous

Autonomy is about feeling comfortable and accepting yourself as you, right now.  While you will continue to grow throughout your life, believing in yourself at this moment is vital to leading a fulfilling and happy life.

If you don’t like who you are right now, you can achieve these feelings. Here’s how.

First, ask yourself these questions:

1. Who is the person I want to be?

2. What am I passionate about?

3. Are there people or activities that prevent me from becoming this person?

Write your answers out in as much detail as possible. This will give you an exact image of who you want to become and why. It will also give you a list of people and activities you need to get rid of.

As you embark on your path to self-discovery, remember, nobody is perfect. You and everyone else has faults. Learning to love and yourself as you are is the starting point.

If you have habits you feel need to be changed then start working on a plan to change them. On the other hand, if you just have a few quirks, accept them as part of your personality. They  are what makes you unique as a person in this universe. Accept and love your quirks!

Accept yourself, warts and all. You may have parts of you that you are extremely happy with, and then some parts that you hate. Instead of wasting energy hating that portion, use your energy working on improving these things.

Make a list of improvements you want to make and then, every day, do something to improve them. Remember, if you aren’t happy with something about yourself,  you are the only one who can change it.

Keep a journal and each night, before you go to bed, ask yourself if you were the best person that you could possibly be. Did you make courageous choices or did you let fear stop you from being all you could be? Honestly answer the questions and the, if you need to change something, change it!

The more you move toward autonomy, liking who you are and what you are doing, the better you will feel about yourself and the world around you. Take time every day to exam who you are and where you are going. Work on the things that need to be worked on. This is how you can become the person you really want to be.

Only then will you fulfil the challenge we have all been given but few accept , to make the most of your life for the rest of your life.

Wishing you only success.  

Wil Dieck

About the author:


Wil Dieck is a writer, speaker, researcher, college professor and master martial arts instructor. He studies and teaches people from all walks of life how to use simple psychological techniques to develop high performance habits.


Wil’s most recent works includes the highly ranked Amazon Kindle book, Secrets of the Black Belt Mindset, Turing Simple Habits into Extraordinary Success and Modern Mindfulness, A Beginners Guide on How to Find Peace and Happiness in a Busy World and soon to be released, Covergence, Secrets of Black Belt Peak Performance.


In addition to his work as a researcher, writer, and speaker, Wil is a professor of psychology and business at San Diego University of Integrated Studies.


Wil runs a peak performance coaching practice in San Diego, California. Additionally, he regularly works with people who are suffering from stress and anxiety using meditation, hypnotherapy and NLP.