Autonomy In Psychology: The Importance Of Becoming Autonomous In Life

Last Update on May 22, 2023 : Published on May 23, 2023
The Importance Of Becoming Autonomous In Life

“Autonomy is different from independence. It means acting with choice.” – Daniel Pink

Everyone enjoys an autonomous life… isn’t it? When we get to choose what we have always wished for increases the sense of power within.

When we start making independent choices or decisions, we adopt the fundamental human need which is important for motivation, psychological health, and overall well-being. This essential human need is known as autonomy in psychology. In a nutshell, autonomy in psychology is…

“Autonomy…is the freedom to develop one’s self-to increase one’s knowledge, improve one’s skills, and achieve responsibility for one’s conduct. And it is the freedom to lead one’s own life, to choose among alternative courses of action so long as no injury to others results.” – Thomas Szasz

In psychology, autonomy is studied under the self-determination theory. According to this theory, autonomy, relatedness, and competence are the psychological needs which increase intrinsic motivation, self-confidence, and personal well-being.

In this blog, let us explore what is autonomy in psychology, its importance, and how to become autonomous in life. So, let’s get started!

What is Autonomy in Psychology?

Autonomy in psychology is the capability of making choices for yourself rather than depending on other people. Autonomy is a skill that is adapted slowly and gradually. Remember, when we were infants, we were totally dependent on our parents, slowly with experience and peer pressure, we started becoming independent is one of the great examples of autonomy. Even as adults, we have to deal with expectations and societal pressure.

Autonomy is a great deal of freedom of making choices. For example, when we make good decisions, we reward ourselves for doing great things and this drives our motivation to do more wonders.

The Importance of Autonomy in Psychology: Why Autonomy Matters?

Autonomy is important to become independent, increase motivation, and improve overall-well being which indirectly increases the sense of satisfaction. When we start becoming autonomous in life, we start experiencing:


People who excel in the skill of autonomy live life authentically, they become who they want to become truly. Instead of societal pressure and others’ choices, they stand on their decisions and put their interests and values above everything else.


When you put your interests and values above everything else, you start fueling up creativity and innovation. It’s a fact that when people provide comfort and a safe space to perform, they feel less pressure, and create “out-of-the-box” strategies with ownership and pride.

Improved Well-being

Research shows that when we get control over life, we start working on improvements. Such improvements are not only seen professionally but personally as well.

Sense of Self

When we start making our choices independently, we feel a sense of ownership, predictability, and satisfaction which influences peace and calm within.


When we take a stand in our choices and decisions, we feel intrinsically motivated to achieve great things in life. This helps in achieving a great sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. For example, increased autonomy can also help you fight major illnesses.

Personal development

Autonomy allows us to learn and grow, exercise our judgment, and expand our beliefs. Overall, such expansion has a great influence on our personality development.

What Makes a Person Autonomous?

Autonomy can be developed through various factors like parenting styles, upbringing, childhood experiences, and more. However, feelings of autonomy develop after infancy and before the adolescence phase.

During this time, you may see a toddler make choices between toys, time to play, food preferences, and more. Autonomy can be influenced by the following factors:

  • Self-awareness related to emotions, needs, wants, and thoughts
  • Lack of control or power over things can make a person lead the change and progress
  • The motivation and need to succeed in a particular area drive self-efficacy
  • The urge to act, move, and make choices or decisions freely drives the level of freedom required to become autonomous in life

What Does Lack of Autonomy Look Like?

A lack of autonomy can have serious consequences on the professional and personal life, such as

How to Become More Autonomous In Life?

If you want to become more autonomous in life, you can try the below-mentioned strategies to improve autonomy:

1. Increase your authenticity

The first ever step to building or improving autonomy is to be authentic and learn about your strengths and weaknesses so that you can work towards improvement and achieve your goals.

2. Recognize your worth

Recognizing worth not only increases your value but also makes you a creative thinker when it comes to giving an opinion in a particular situation.

3. Build supportive relationships

It’s always a better idea to learn from your mistakes and the people who support you. Start investing in relationships that guide you and encourage you to become a better version of yourself.

4. Build self-efficacy

In order to become more autonomous in your life, you will need to pay attention to your abilities. In order to fight your weaknesses, learn to build strategies that will challenge your core beliefs and improve your self-efficacy.

5. Learn new skills

Learning new things or skills to challenge obstacles in your life, improve your motivation, and achieve your goals.

6. Engage in problem-solving skills

When we engage in problem-solving skills, we allow our thinking and knowledge to expand, and we creatively innovate solutions to problems by understanding the pros and cons of each situation.

I hope this blog helps you understand autonomy in psychology. Comment down and share your views on autonomy. Always remember,

“Control leads to compliance; autonomy leads to engagement.” – Daniel H. Pink

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Thanks for reading!

About The Author

Aayushi Kapoor
Aayushi Kapoor

Aayushi is a Content Creator at Calm Sage. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Food Technology and a Master's Degree in Clinical Nutrition. Her constant interest in the improvement of mental health, nutrition, and overall wellness embarked upon her career as a “full-time educational writer.” She likes to make an asynchronous connection with her readers. Her mantra for living life is "What you seek is seeking you".

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