I’m the Ruler in my Heart - from the Moment I Wake Until I go to Sleep
Your heart shouldn’t have an owner, neither leased lands nor borrowed corners. Your heart belongs to you. It only has one ruler and that is you. Thanks to the heart your autonomy will grow. It will pump enough self-love and oxygen for your self-esteem, in order to love fully. And that’s what allows you to be able to desire with no restrictions, to be the master of your paths and the architect of a dignified life.
Reaching this personal autonomy is not an easy task. Especially when you’re also trying to integrate a feeling of intimacy into your significant relationships. In fact, if you look at the most classic and traditional scheme of romantic relationships, you’ll realize that autonomy and privacy have been declared as incompatible.
“No ingratitude can close a big heart, and no indifference can tire it.”
You can influence your own destiny
Nobody is completely free of influences when it comes to deciding our destiny and charting a path. We are all under the influence of certain social, cultural and even ideological norms. To try and understand these influences t’s always a good idea to remember what the studies about individual psychology tell us.
You have to make an effort to incorporate into your cornerstones an authentic commitment to yourself. Both personal autonomy and the capacity to decide what you want and don’t want are basic principles of psychological well-being. Your well-being deserves part of your daily effort. Your heart, understood as that metaphorical dimension where your emotions and even your identity are contained, is a universe in constant growth.
Let’s allow it to expand, then, so it is its own master. But at the same time, your heart must remain humble and sensitive enough to know how to connect with the people who surround it in an authentic way. Because magic can be found within this balance.
You lose your autonomy in small everyday decisions
Leaving aside a professional project because your significant other asked you to do so. Breaking up with the love of your life because your parents don’t approve of your relationship. Changing your hobbies because your friends always have different plans. Giving up too soon because nobody supports your goals…
These are generic examples of what it means to threaten your own dignity, your self-esteem and identity. It’s important to take this into consideration. This type of sabotage doesn’t come exclusively from the people around you. In most cases, it often comes from yourself.
Don´t blame others
We shouldn’t only blame those who place their reins and palisades on us in an attempt to control us. We must assume responsibility by understanding that we’re the ones who give in and surrender to such imprisonment and violation.
On the other hand, let’s remember that those who hand over the steering wheel of their own lives to others don’t do so in a punctual or spontaneous form. The truth is that it’s an everyday practice that they voluntarily neglect. Like someone who decides to stop bathing, grooming, brushing their hair or cutting their nails. It is part of our psychological hygiene and a principle of the emotional health we postpone and give away to others. And it is wrong.
Our own dignity should not be touched by someone else’s hands. Nobody can (or should) sow the seeds of their selfish desires into our hearts or sell us goals which don’t match our values. Moreover, it won’t matter if those hands which are so used to boycotting our identity are the hands of our romantic partner, our parents or our supposed best friend.
There are some territories which are private and which nobody can trespass. Taking care of the properties related to our being is something which concerns us. This is a daily hygiene task which cannot be neglected at any time.
Breathe, count to 10 and recover your autonomy within your heart
Dr. Carol D. Ryff, from the University of Pennsylvania, is one of the greatest exponents of positive psychology. Between 1989 and 1998, she developed an interesting model of “Psychological Well-being”. That model, to this day, continues to be one of the most enriching contributions to personal growth. It has a lot to do with the principle of health that we mentioned earlier.
“It is only with the heart that one can see correctly. What is essential is invisible to the naked eye.”
– Antoine de Saint-Exupery-
We propose that you start thinking about its main points in order to start working on your own emotional and psychological autonomy.
The model of psychological well-being we should all put into practice
One of the most interesting points in Dr. Ryff’s approach is the one which has to do with neuroscience. When something which goes against our values occurs or when someone imposes their opinion or forces us to do something we do not like, our limbic system reacts instantly.
That cerebral structure related to emotions is like our voice of alarm. It is that inner siren which whispers to us “be careful, something is wrong.” Instantly, stress and cortisol emerge, coursing through our bloodstream. What would be ideal in these cases would be for us to able to recognize that feeling and simply count to 10. And after that, for us to act in accord to our real needs.
We know it’s not easy. But we can achieve this if little by little we learn how to integrate these principles of psychological well-being into our lives:
- Practice self-acceptance every day.
- Make it a priority to establish positive and enriching relationships with other people. If a specific relationship, whether it is a friendship or a romantic relationship, does not harmonize with these principles, you must consider making a change.
- Have a clear and objective purpose for your life. Also, undoubtedly, you should fight for it.
- Invest in your personal growth. Every moment is the right one to carry it out.
- Maintain appropriate control over your reality. You are the one who directs, guides, decides, initiates, ends, delimits and who should be responsible for your own decisions.
In conclusion, we are aware these strategies can’t be achieved overnight. It takes willpower, courage and perseverance. However, let’s remember if at any time we feel blocked or notice we’re losing our autonomy, we must apply the most classic remedy of all. Take a deep breath, count to 10 and REACT. Because in our hearts, WE are the ones who make the rules.