Angel Whispers – Self-Determination

Three universal needs motivate self-determination: competence, connection, and autonomy. Edward Deci and Richard Ryan introduced these ideas in their 1985 book, Intrinsic Motivation and Self-Determination in Human Behavior. They were trying to discover what motivated those driven by a need for growth, development, and personal gain.

Self-Determination Theory proposes that needs drive behavior. Gaining mastery over challenges connects to personal experiences and motivation. Developing a greater sense of self relies on those experiences. The drives for money, fame, and recognition are extrinsic (external) motivators. Self-determination theory focuses on intrinsic (internal) sources of motivation. The need to gain knowledge and independence is an intrinsic motivator.

Autonomy fills the need to feel in control of life. Goals, behavior, and being able to take action are major aspects of self-determination. And all this time I just thought of myself as a willful child (tee hee). Competence means mastering a skill, which is usually motivated by the drive for success. Connectedness is a universal need to feel like you belong to a family or tribe. A self-determined person might react to failure by taking action toward a better outcome. Low self-determination might lead to excuses or assigning blame. The lack of a strong need could lead to settling into a situation in life with the sense of helplessness. Let’s ask for help understanding self-determination from an intrinsic source of motivation found in an angel whisper:

One of the external factors to self-determination is conditioning. How independence and growth are supported by social structures is important to the sense of self. De-motivating factors include rewards for behavior that undermine independence. Being motivated by external rewards leads to feeling less control in life. A sense of self becomes distorted by an overt external focus and any lack of mastery in some area of life.

Every interaction and experience form the internal sense of wellbeing that motivates a drive for personal growth. Unsolicited feedback that contains positive reinforcement can enhance motivation toward self-determination. The result is intrinsic energy from feeling more competent. There are several aspects to mastering a skill, feeling accomplished, and sensing connection. Layers of energy form around these varying aspects through each human experience. Every layer holds complex structure around human development.

Pursuit of any interest that satisfies a thirst for enjoyment and fulfillment becomes an intrinsic motivator. Taking action at any level feeds the sense of control and accomplishment. Believing you HAVE to do something is non-self-determined. Behavior can land on either side of the self-determination spectrum. Many are in the middle of this continuum.

Awareness of the difference between self- and non-self-determination leads to more control in life. By doing more from an intrinsic motivation, you build self-determination. Behaviors come into alignment with core self. Alignment means less codependency and more autonomy. Intrinsic motivation supports evolution through self-evaluation. Motivation from clear goals and intentions leads to a greater sense of self and love for life.

Bring joy, ease suffering and create beauty, then dance like you mean it!
Blessings, Russell

“I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.”
Maya Angelou


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 Angel Whispers – Self-Determination