The Opportunity to Choose
Lauren Peffley, MSW
Choices overwhelm me – simple choices, difficult choices, light choices and heavy choices. I have had an abundance of choices my whole life and I’ve always found that a little overwhelming, but only recently did I learn how privileged I am to be able to say that. As long as I can remember, I have had a series of great options on the table and a series of supportive people to help me navigate said options. And yet, I still feel overwhelmed by the possibilities and the decision-making processes. Every time a choice stands before me, I stop to ask: What if my choice negatively affects myself or other individuals? What if it takes me several steps backward? What if it would have been better all along for things to simply stay the same? Making new choices often means that things will change, and change is often difficult and filled with uncertainty. Again, the fact that I even had the options, the time, and the support to be able to think through these things is a massive privilege. And that privilege will absolutely affect the way I work with members of Healing Action; therefore, I am learning how important it is for me to be mindful of these things.
I must acknowledge the privileged way I have been able to approach choices throughout my life, and so should any service providers that find themselves in a similarly privileged situation. As Jenn poignantly pointed out last week, the idea of having and making choices felt like a “foreign concept” to her at one point in her life. Many individuals who have survived exploitation and/or addiction may have also felt they did not have any decent choices before them – perhaps they felt they had no choices at all. If I am going to be working with people through case management and service delivery, I must pay special attention to this reality while presenting people with options. If it has been overwhelming for me to make choices my whole life, then I want to remember how difficult it may be for others, and offer extra support throughout that process. Perhaps it will take a lot more time, and it will most definitely require more trust. If so, I am absolutely willing to take that time and build that trust. If it brings individuals even one step closer to feeling empowered in their choices, then it is entirely worth the time, energy, and empathy exerted!
Looking forward to putting this into practice,
“Because you never know where life is going to take you
and you can’t change where you’ve been.
But today, I have the opportunity to choose.”
Recommended Listen: “I choose” by India.Arie https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rKDShRdJ3d4